I have been shopping for a suitable RV to travel with my horde of cats. (FYI, a horde of cats is referred to as a “clowder”.) I have 11 of them.
At the start of my search, I initially focused on toy haulers because the garage space was so useful for litter boxes, storage, washer/dryer and even a trash compactor.
These are the key features I deemed important for me and my pets:
- No carpet. For obvious reasons, carpet is a big negative. In my opinion, manufacturers throw cheap carpet in (always an ugly tan) to cover up construction and flawed design. I particularly groaned when I saw carpet covering a duct (?) along the base of the wall of a bathroom. Huh? Technology has allowed slides that are flush with no need for carpet. There are still many RVs that are marketed as pet- and kid-friendly with loads of carpet.
- The ability to do laundry. I do a lot of laundry. I have several special needs kitties and… well, I do a lot of laundry. Many units now come with washer/dryer hookups. However, the RV laundry dryers and the combined washer/dryer units run on 110W. These typically are small volume when compared to residential units and take longer to dry. My 240W dryer at home is 7.0 cubic feet. The biggest 110W dryer I could find is 4.0 cubic feet with long cycle times. I consulted expert Mike Sokol and he said you can install a 240W circuit in a 50-amp unit with the proper circuit breakers, fuses and adapters. Of course, you can only use it while plugged in. It was something I considered when looking at toy haulers.
The more litter boxes, the better
- With my 11 cats, the biggest feature I needed was a dedicated space for litter boxes – the more litter boxes, the better. The rule of thumb is to have one litter box for each cat plus one extra. Can you imagine 12 litter boxes in an RV? No way!I have plans to use several large storage bins as litter boxes and commit to cleaning them 2 to 3 times daily. I bought several of these bins to test at home and the cats love them. With high sides, the litter scatter is reduced to a minimum and my male cats, who pee vertically, can’t overshoot the wall. Years ago, I heard of a custom Prevost that had converted the lower storage space into a litter box room. The cats would climb down a ramp below the floor to do their business. The boxes could be accessed from outside. They would be on the storage slide for easy cleaning. I have dreamed about something like this and even played with designing my own. I’d need to win the lottery for that though.
- For people who travel with dogs, these features may not be important. However, carpet is a fur-magnet and people with large dogs, or a pack of dogs, may appreciate the garage space and laundry capabilities. The nice thing about toy haulers is the option of a patio deck with a railing. When I traveled with dogs, this would have been a wonderful feature.
Keystone Carbon 348 Toy Hauler
After evaluating all these things, I ordered a 38-foot 2021 Keystone Carbon 348 toy hauler with a 13-foot garage, an 8Kw generator, all vinyl flooring (no carpet), washer/dryer hook-ups and plenty of storage. It was perfect, except I needed a very large tow truck to pull the darn thing: a Ford F-350 6.7L diesel dual rear tire monster. This was going to have to be my everyday vehicle so, in the end, I decided this was not going to work for me.
Looking for a pet-friendly travel trailer
So, I am in search of a pet-friendly, carpet-free travel trailer with space for multiple litter boxes. I have resigned myself to using laundromats on the road but, who knows, maybe I’ll figure out a way to install a combo washer/dryer in what I eventually buy. The search is ongoing and I am focusing on trailers with double bunk beds, preferably with a storage door to the outside. I won’t need to use the bunks as beds, but the floor space may be great for litter boxes. I will keep you updated on my progress.
RV industry is slowly catching on
I am noticing that the manufacturers are slowly recognizing that marketing to pet parents is a brilliant strategy. However, they have been pretty slow to incorporate design changes to address pet needs. Putting a leash hook on the outside of a trailer does not, in my opinion, make it “pet-friendly.” Several companies have incorporated pet kennels and pet feeding stations in their plans. Thankfully, more and more designs are carpet-free.
Forest River markets their No-Boundaries trailers as pet-friendly and touts the waterproof coverings of sofas as a plus. Keystone is marketing a new unit with a mudroom with a washer/dryer and a large bathtub perfect for washing dogs. You can learn more about that here.
Can you help me?
I would appreciate your ideas about what is a “pet-friendly” RV. What do you appreciate about your home on wheels? Do you have any tips on how to travel with pets? Have you seen any units with special customization for pets? What would you look for if buying a new unit?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. Thanks!