Tuesday, October 3, 2023


Couple disagree on full-timing with cats

RV Shrink

Dear RV Shrink:
My husband and I want to travel full time for a few years and are thinking about buying a large Class A motorhome. We have been planning this for some time. We read a lot about RVs and the RVing lifestyle online, and I see that many full-timers have pets. My husband doesn’t think that is a good idea.

We have two cats and they are my babies. I don’t plan to travel without them and he doesn’t plan to travel with them. We are at a roadblock before we even get on the road. Can you offer any constructive advice to convince him that I am right? They are indoor cats and would never have to leave the motorhome. The units we have looked at so far have huge storage bays that are accessible from inside the coach. One would be perfect for food litter and bedding. Please help me. —Catastrophe in Canton

Dear Canton:
There is no sense in having a catfight before you even take the brake off. Traveling pets are as common as a cold. I would estimate that at least 50 percent of the people I meet on the road have a pet traveling with them. This rig is going to be your “home” on the road, and there is no place like home for a cat or dog that gives you company.

I can vouch for the no-hassle addition of having two cats travel with you. My wife and I have done it for years. One likes to help navigate from the front window and the other makes a beeline for the storage bay (cat cave) if I so much as look at the driver’s seat.

But I have to admit that they will escape on occasion. We have always found them and persuaded them to rejoin us. Actually, you will meet a lot of wonderful people while looking for a missing cat in a campground.

I would suggest you have your husband read some of the articles you have found pertaining to traveling cats. It is truly not like trying to give a cat a bath. You will find them to have an adventuresome spirit. You don’t have to walk them at o-dark-thirty, they bury their own land mines and you can leave them “home alone” for a couple days.

Cats are very responsible and know how to take care of themselves. All cats, big and small, sleep, on average, 18 hours a day. They don’t bark, and best of all you can take them into any park because you don’t even have to declare them. —Keep Smilin’, Richard Mallery a.k.a. Dr. R.V. Shrink

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3 years ago

I don’t leave home without them. We travel with a Doberman, 3 cats and an African Gray parrot. All that in a 23′ TT. I have the litter box in the bathroom, anytime I have to do my business I will clean up theirs. We installed a cat door on the bathroom door and it was the best mod to date. Cats and birds are indoor and of course the dog goes out. If we are not in a rattle snake prone area we will keep her chained up to the trailer. She likes to let the other campers know that cutting across our camping spot is not cool, but yet if they stick with the path she is cool with it.

Our big adventure was with only 2 cats and when we left last summer we were pulled in at a picnic area for the night in the middle of nowhere Texas. I heard mewing outside and saw something flash by. The little guy would weave in and out through the diamond of a cyclone fence. That is how small he was. I got some cat food, he came out to get with us sitting there and my husband snatched him. DH is now his hero and follows him everywhere. Life would not be the same without him.

Gloria Sluder
4 years ago

We had 5 cats we traveled with 3 travel in cat house under the bed,the other 2 were just kittens and sleep on the dash. Kept litter box clean using Fresh Step low dust litter. Have traveled with them for 3 years now. Our oldest cat just went to kitty heaven this week, kidney issues.

4 years ago

I travel with one tuxedo cat, but he has enough attitude for two. Also, there is a whole website devoted to traveling felines.

Patti Lounsbury
4 years ago

We travel with 2 cats and 1 dog and would not go without them. All 3 enjoy traveling and our English bulldog is not a yapper. He is usually with me as we do volunteer work at a railroad and the cats enjoy a safe day in a screened in tent we call the Cat House. It’s all in how you look at it, they aren’t a burden, they are family. Take the cats.

4 years ago

We travel with 2 in-door cats in our 30’ TT. The litter box is under one bench of the dining table and we clean it morning and night. We just had a friend overnight and she asked how we could have a litter box and no cat smell at all. Good litter and daily attention.

We are lucky because the RV park we snowbird in will call pet owners if it gets warm and the electricity goes out. They don’t want to see pets die due to extreme heat.

Now for what we don’t like. One gets car sick even in a carrier, so we are always dealing with this the first day or two on the road. They find every little opening and get in it; we have had to stuff foam in the slots where our slide is because they got caught under the slide. We had to build a drop-in for in back of our jack-knife sofa because they would get under the sofa and then claw under the sofa. They are on the table since the biggest window is there — at home this isn’t allowed, but with limited space it’s more difficult to control. Cat hair seems to be everywhere, even if I vacuum daily.

But, we wouldn’t travel any other way. ?

Vanessa Simmons
4 years ago

I travel with two dogs and one cat. At the FMCA rally there was a class B parked next to me that had 4 cats. The Class A behind them had a dog and cat. I rarely see an RV without at least one animal.

Bette Fraser
4 years ago

We full timed for 2 years and traveled with our African Grey parrot and 2 labs. I never had problems traveling with our pets. In fact, they added to our adventure. We met many people with dogs, cats, parrots, pot belly pig (it was huge), as well as reptiles. Pets are a lifetime commitment, not something that can be tossed aside when inconvenient. Be a responsible pet owner and take your cats!

Lee Morgan
4 years ago
Reply to  Bette Fraser

We travel with 2 AG parrots and a mynah – they are the entertainment with their comments about everything. It adds a bit more work, true – diets, care, etc, but well worth the effort. Pets are family members and leaving them home seems unthinkable to us. Just be sure your cats don’t get carsick… and using a harness or carrier is sometimes important. Plan for the good times, but also think through what to do in an emergency… just as if you were home. Good luck! 🙂

chris p hemstead
4 years ago

I travel with one, and we regularly go for walks. Unleashed. She does fine. She has changed my camping style quite a bit.. no more barren parking lots like casinos and Wal mart. She needs bushes and trees.

ALaska Traveler
4 years ago

When Hubbs and I set off in 2008 full-timing, we agreed……no pets. Years ago when we RVed weekends and during the summer we brought along the cats. They travel well…. they do root under the dash and occasionally escape. The reason we decided against pets is we are fairly active and although a cat can be left alone longer than a dog….. weather is a factor. Something happens to the electricity while you are away, you could come back to cooked cats. We may decide to take a cruise at the spur of the moment…. etc. No pets…. we are both happy. Guess you could agree to travel with the pets until they are gone…… dunno. Tough decision.

Vanessa Simmons
4 years ago

If you have pets and are in a S&B you find a pet sitter or board them if you decide to go on a cruise. Plus you have to find a place to store the RV while you are gone so no big deal.

4 years ago

As full timers, we’ve been in several rigs where cats live. I don’t care how great a kitty liter box you have, it still stinks in your rig!

4 years ago

Keep the cats, get a new husband who understands pets are a lifetime responsibility. We full time with 3 cats.

4 years ago

Can’t vouch for your comment about not declaring a cat at an RV park. Some RV parks require that you pick a spot in the “pet” section even if yours is an inside kitty. Happened to us in Yuma. Instead of a pad on Marilyn Monroe Street, we were directed to Lassie Blvd. Aside from the cement pad, we were surrounded by sand full of dessicated doggie deposits. We also got dirty looks from pooch owner passerby because we had taken over their doggie park. Our advice? If asked, don’t acknowledge owning cats; after all, they’re your babies. If someone complains after seeing a kitty snoozing on the dashboard, remember that it is better to ask forgiveness than permission. NEVER accept a transient RV spot in any park that segregates pet owners from other campers.

4 years ago

Ey am a cat person. Ey don’t have one now simply because a cat has not found me yet. Ey am also a dog person. Ey mean real dogs, not one of those little white barking rats thet so many RVers let yap, yap, yap, all day and night in the campground.

Storm M
4 years ago

For heavens sake, crate or somehow confine them when moving! Animals become a projectile in the case of an emergency stop or accident. Bad for them, bad for you. Other than that, take the kitties.

4 years ago

You left out one important factor. Cats will go EVERYWHERE in an RV. We have a Class A and had to block off under the dash area because our kitty liked to hide among the wiring, cables, hoses etc. He is a chewer too so precautions have been taken to keep him from damaging other things in the coach. As an example, he chewed the antenna and power cord for our tire pressure monitoring system!
He’s our boy and we love him, but traveling with pets isn’t necessarily hassle free.

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