Tuesday, September 21, 2021
Tuesday, September 21, 2021

She’s on the hunt to find an RV to fit her 11 cats. Can you help her decide?

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!

##RVT1016

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John best
16 days ago

I have a 38 ft Gulfstream Innsbruck it has a front four bunk bedroom. Living room dining kitchen with slide out walk through bathroom with a stacked washer and dryer unit and main bedroom in the back with another slide out. It only weighs about 10,000 pounds loaded I pull it with a 1 ton cargo van.

Barbie
16 days ago

I highly do NOT recommend putting your cats in a travel trailer! Riding in a trailer is equivalent to a 5.5 earthquake. Besides all the sounds of squeaking, creaking, banging going on inside the trailer, the swaying and bumping would be terrifying to a cat! There is also the fact that you can’t see what is going on in there while you are driving. If one of your cats was sick or injured, you would not know about it until you eventually stopped to check on them. Even if their crates are secure (they would have to each be in one), they can be tossed around inside of it, causing injury. You say you have special needs cats, so that is something else to consider. Many states do not allow people to ride in a trailer for these same reasons. If you are in an accident, the trailer will be demolished. If you really want to irresponsibly consider putting your cats in danger, try riding in someone’s trailer yourself, first, and see how that goes. Please reconsider this and get a class A or C.

Kamwick
16 days ago
Reply to  Barbie

She didn’t actually say that she was going to have them ride in the trailer, but you are making very good points that need to be repeated regularly. I can’t tell you how many times, when I describe our travels with cats, that people ask, “well, can’t they ride in the trailer?”

Sumcon9
16 days ago

I would think of a different option. I think a towable tiny home. You could have loft space dedicated to the cats. I saw one on YouTube with a catio.

Goldie
16 days ago

If you are going to be in anything other than perfect temps, then it will not be safe to transport your babies in a towable. Not many have decent insulation and even those that do will easily reach high temps on a sunny day. Think of a pet left in a parked car. If you have any question, go to an RV dealership and ask to see a towable that has not been hooked up to power on a nice summer afternoon. It will be an oven. It will also be like traveling inside an earthquake. They sway from side to side and bounce around. A fiver is bad, a towable is worse. They are not built with a suspension to ensure reasonable ride quality. Please rethink your plan and look for a Class A, B, or C that would work with your budget. Older units with carpet can be converted to vinyl flooring. Bunks could be refitted to accommodate litter boxes. And a small, older Jeep Wrangler or similar would make a economical tow vehicle.

Bill
16 days ago

Buying a used Class A makes them much more affordable, you save the initial depreciation and hopefully the initial defect list has been addressed. We always buy used, and the primary problems we see is in things that have not been used enough to exercise them properly. There are lots of cars that can be towed on all four wheels behind a motorhome, and I think hooking them up is easier than hooking up a trailer, so if you can drive a big tow truck and bigger trailer, driving a big motorhome and a little towed car is a snap.

Kamwick
16 days ago

Class A for sure. PLEASE do not travel with them in the trailer.

Dawn H
16 days ago

Consider a floorplan that has bunks. The bunk space can be repurposed in so many ways. Your cats will have plenty of extra space to climb and lounge, with extra storage below. We rarely use our bunks as sleeping space, but with a smaller TT they give us loads of “loft” storage up top and a reading nook/ work space below. Our bottom bunk flips up for travel, so large items are stashed in the space until we get to our destination. Happy travels!

Darlene Kolinski
16 days ago

My only experience is traveling for 2 years with my two cats full-time in my 30 ft fifth wheel with two slides. Paradoxically, I found out they hated the truck and loved to travel in the rv. One slept on the bed and the other slept in the closet, both over the truck. My unit actually had an opening to the under storage in a cabinet under the sink which I did use as a home for their litter box. I kept the door open, put the litter box level with the opening and gradually lowered it. They had no trouble getting up and down. I used storage bins like you do. I carried portable fencing that was 3 ft high that I could set up in a small area so they could be outside with me. They learned to stay in it . My Ford 250 diesel pulls it easily. Good luck! 😊

DPHooper
16 days ago

We traveled with our two cats in the fifth wheel one. Secured in there soft crates inside the bathroom. Temps were cool, so ventilation with ceiling fan good. Arrived with vomit and puke slung everywhere. Never again. They rode in their soft crates in the back seat of our truck just fine, no incidents.
Another time, I rode in trailer while we moved from site to dump station, a very short distance. I now know why they were so distressed. Not good.

patti panuccio
16 days ago

Go to an animal show, either cat or dog, and see how the handlers and breeders outfit their rv. I at one time had 9 cages instead of a couch in a class c.

Last edited 16 days ago by RV Staff
Sink Jaxon
16 days ago

The only way I can help you is to advise to stay the heck away from Keystone products!! By far the worst purchase in my entire life.

Sink Jaxon
15 days ago

Window operators stripping, valances disconnecting from walls, Kitchen faucet leaked and swelled up the countertop under the laminate surface, plastic shelf bracket in pantry broke and all the shelves fell, slide out broke and stuck in the out position (had to cut the underbelly material open to access the manual closing mechanism a whole other horror story), and the biggest problem the roofing material bubbled up. When having it looked at I was told the bubbles would “lie down” after a couple of months in the sun. Ha! Well it just got worse and worse and eventually ripped up from the wind while driving. Can you imagine trying to get home with the roof flapping and being ripped up driving down the highway? Had to get up there with gorilla tape and tape it down so it would’ve tear off completely. Had to have it replaced, and of course, out of warranty. The design of the sewer pipe from the toilet to the black tank was such that it clogged constantly (never happened on any rv we’ve owned). Totally ignored by Keystone when reaching out for help.

Crowman
16 days ago

A herd of cats is called a Clowder and a lady with 11 cats is call A Crazy Cat-lady.

Darlene Kolinski
16 days ago

Yes, they are called that. so what’s your point?

Darlene Kolinski
16 days ago

That was meant for Crowman

Admin
RV Staff (@rvstaff)
16 days ago
Reply to  Crowman

As a veterinarian, Crowman, I’ll bet Dr. Karel rescued most, of not all, of those cats. She says she has several “special needs kitties” and thus has to do a lot of laundry. How many people do you know of who would rescue so many cats, especially with special needs? Maybe they were given up by their previous owners, who just didn’t want to deal with them anymore. The alternative may have been euthanasia. I applaud Dr. Karel for her compassion for those cats and for giving them a home and taking such good care of them. Bravo and thank you, Dr. Karel! 🙂 –Diane

Lindalee
16 days ago

You may be a “crazy cat lady” Dr. Carnohan but, so am I! I only have three (all rescues) and I still get called that and, like you, am proud of it!!

I’m with the rest of the commenters here, though, I wouldn’t want my cats in a travel trailer! Just my humble opinion as one crazy cat lady to another!

Leslie Berg
17 days ago

I don’t have a recommendation, but waited to point out that new rigs inevitably have bugs that sideline them for months at a time for servicing. Where will kitties live while repairs are occurring? If this happens on the road, it may be difficult to talk a motel into 11 kitties.

Skip
17 days ago

Can’t think of any real safe way for this. We travel with 2 dogs now and one giant cat. Animals in the truck never in the 5er. The stress of any animal traveling in a TT or 5er could propose serious or deadly consequences. My vet also didn’t recommended such travel with such a large herd unless chickens. And the frequent stops say every 3 hours or so for a potty break and stretch. I would think less cats or dogs for those with dogs is the responsible answer to the question.

Rob
17 days ago

Initially I’d eliminate a towable unit unless you want to wrangle the Clowder every time you move, as it’s not recommended that your pets travel inside a moving earthquake whether or not you have it climate controlled. Budget matters as you’ve said in the remark about the Prevost bus. That said, that option is certainly obtainable to do as I’ve seen trap door etc cut into floors into bus cargo before. If that’s not something you’d want to consider, then maybe a Class A or C with a side bunk area that you can pull out the bunks and build in a purpose build cat box/lounge central. Making the litter area accessible and easy to clean every day was key for us traveling with our two cats. In addition, ensuring that you have a constant cleaning regimen for the hair and the A/C filters. I’d opt for an older class A with ample cargo space that I could work that escape hatch into the floor with the tray system. Best of luck!

Kris
17 days ago

Look into an Outlaw by Jayco, I think. It’s a class C plus, so you would have to tow a car.

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