We like to think that our Yoda is proof that cats are intrepid adventurers. Over the years he’s enjoyed hikes, backpack strolls and even lived with us in a campervan! But a question we often get asked is can cats travel in a motorhome? Do cats travel well in an RV? Will my cat totally freak out on the road?
We get you – the idea of traveling in an RV with your cat can feel daunting at first. But there’s nothing quite like the feeling of experiencing those special sunrises, sunsets, sights, smells, and sounds with your furry best friend by your side.
So we are here to tell you it’s totally possible to bring your feline pal along for an incredible ride in your RV.
And you can do this through:
The main reason Yoda enjoys his wanderlust-filled life is probably due to the fact that we always put him at the forefront of our travel plans, using these 3 factors. Throughout the years, we’ve learned the importance of not only planning and prepping but being perceptive and diligent of Yoda’s ongoing experience.
So we’ve had a brainstorm and whipped together this ultimate guide to RV travel with cats.
Get ready to pack your bags, fire up that engine and begin the wonderful journey of traveling with your cat in a motorhome!
Ultimate Guide for RV Travel with Cats
1. Planning Your Trip
Can my cat travel in an RV?
The short answer? Yes, most cats can!
The longer answer?
Having previously traveled with Yoda by car, we began to experiment with introducing him to #vanlife in 2019. After some successful long weekends and 4-day stints, we took the plunge and spent months living and traveling with him in our 1990 Roadtrek Van.
But now you might be wondering…
What’s the difference between a van (or campervan) and an RV (or motorhome)?
Usually, it’s the space.
A campervan is typically one small space, whereas more classic RVs and motorhomes will have higher ceilings (great for your back!) and differentiated living spaces (great for your cat!)
So, having successfully conquered van life with a cat, we’re sure that with the right preparation your cat will enjoy RV travel as much as you. With the potential for more space to roam, climb and explore, it has the potential to be a cat’s paradise.
However, it’s important to note that every kitty is different (that’s why we love them after all, right?). This means that not all cats will adapt in the same way, and some may not be good candidates for a life on wheels.
But how are you supposed to know whether they’ll enjoy RV travel or not?
Is Your Cat Ready to Travel in an RV?
Here are 2 key ways to determine if your cat is ready for travel in an RV.
The ASPCA has three color categories to describe cat personality types – purple, orange, and green.
They reflect playfulness, adapting to new people and situations, and how much the cat enjoys cuddles and handling. You can use their handbook to get an idea of which color your cat fits into.
- Green cats = most adventurous and outgoing & more adept at traveling
- Orange cats = affectionate and enjoy company & also good travelers
- Purple cats = enjoy a quiet and cozy life & may find traveling stressful
2. Previous Experiences
How much has your cat seen of the world? What’s their background? Some cats favor adventure and outdoor pursuits, whilst others might not enjoy the transition from ruling a static space to being infrequent movement.
Remember to build experience slowly, so starting with small car journeys and building up to longer stints of vanlife is the way to go.
But, if you’ve already got a harness-happy leash-trained kitty who isn’t phased by car rides, you guys are ready to take the next step!
Now you’re clear on those two elements, the next step is to decide on the best wheels for your ride and discover…
How to Choose a Pet-Friendly Motorhome
If you haven’t already purchased a motorhome, then this is a great time to think about the best RV for traveling with cats.
Here are some top tips on what to look for with a pet-friendly motorhome:
How many cats are you taking with you? How many humans are sharing their space? Unlike most dogs, cats really need space of their own to relax and decompress, so you need to factor this into your search.
For example, we ripped the door off an old wardrobe in our van and made a three-tier safe space for Yoda to enjoy when he needed it. You’ll also need a storage room for all the litter, food, toys, and other kitty supplies, so look for nooks or overhead areas where you can keep these safe.
A big RV also means your cat can get more exercise without having to go out for extra walks, if there’s lots of climbing and exploring they can do inside.
Bigger isn’t always better, as one of the most important factors is how confident you are in driving. I, for example, probably wouldn’t feel confident being able to pull over and park some huge tank of an RV!
Don’t forget that a leash-trained kitty can enjoy extra hikes and walks if they only have a small space to explore inside, like Yoda with our van.
one of the biggest considerations we had in the van was keeping Yoda either cool or warm enough at all times.
Cats are susceptible to heatstroke, and sadly it can happen a lot faster than we think (you can read about the symptoms here.) But the cold can also really get intense in a motorhome.
So do you have the budget to invest in a temperature-controlled motorhome? Or are you happy to put in some extra effort into ensuring your cat is comfortable?
This brings us to…
2. Prepping Your RV
Below are our tips to make your RV more pet-friendly!
If you’ve got your wheels already, or you’ve finally got your hands on those keys (congrats!) then it’s time for the all-important preparation.
Making your RV as cat-friendly as possible will ensure that your furry family’s travel experience is the best it can possibly be.
Here are our top tips for ideas to turn your RV into the purrr-fect place for your kitty.
- Litter Area – This is probably your biggest concern about traveling, and for good reason. But it’s easy to overcome! To keep your litter area clean and safely stationary, we recommend finding or building out a three-walled space for it. This helps to keep the majority of the mess contained. You can also use a litter mat!
- Vantage Points – For those adventurous climbers, shelves at various heights throughout the van (maybe with scratching posts also) make a great addition.
- Window Seats – For some mental stimulation on long journeys, a window perch wide enough for your cat is a must. They’ll love looking at the world whizzing by!
- Hiding Spots – As well as adventure, our cats also like a secure den to retreat to. So providing a secluded bed area is always a good idea.
- Secure Objects – This is probably already a key consideration for any home on wheels, but especially important for making RVs pet-friendly. You need to make sure that items are secure. Otherwise, falling objects could hurt you or your kitty. For kitchen items, we use anti-slip mats (that you normally put under rugs).
- Pet Cameras – If you are worried about leaving your cat behind on occasion, then these handy bits of kit are relatively affordable and provide some peace of mind.
- Temperature Control – This one’s worth mentioning again, as we think it’s super important. Consider installing a temperature monitoring system in your RV, or alternatively, make sure windows can open for a cooling breeze and that you have shades for blocking any intense sun.
More Ideas for Cat RV Travel Preparation
Before you hit the road, here are some additional ways to prepare your cat for success:
- Get Acquainted – Allow your cat to explore and adjust to the new environment in a stationary setting first, to gauge their comfort level or if anything needs adjusting before your big trip. This process could take a few days or longer depending on how your cat adapts to change.
- Add Familiarity – It’s always nice to include toys, bedding and other accessories with familiar scents into your cat’s new home. This can better help them to adjust.
- Leash Train – Follow our guide to leash training your cat, so they can enjoy the great outdoors with you.
- Emergency Prep – Nobody has ever regretted preparing for a medical emergency, even if an accident or injury never occurs. It’s a good idea to pack a feline first aid kit and any medications your cat might need, as well as emergency contact details and a hard copy of your cat’s veterinary and vaccine records.
The Essential Cat RV Travel Packing List
Here are all the supplies you’ll need to make your adventure kitty right at home. We’ve included links to our other blog posts that provide more oversight into these RV cat traveling essentials:
- Litter box – a high-sided model will work well, sturdy enough to stay dry and stationary while traveling.
- Eco-friendly cat litter – to reduce your footprint (or pawprint) as you travel. Our top picks are these ones.
- An airtight container – for keeping your food and other supplies in.
- Food – enough for the duration of your travels.
- First aid kit – for cleaning cat wounds
- Water and food bowls – consider non-slip, plus some collapsable options if you’re thinking of hiking with your kitty.
- Travel cat carrier – the best cat carrier for RV travel is one that fits your space and requirements. We have some personal favorites here.
- A leash and harness
- Cat backpack – ideal for days out
- Grooming supplies – depending on the length of your trip, you may want some bathing supplies and a brush
- Flea collar – always!
This brings us to our last and final element of traveling with your cat in an RV…
Now comes the most exciting part…actually exploring the world with your fluffy sidekick!
But it’s vital that you keep a close eye on your cat whilst out on the road, to ensure you’re giving them the time of their life while staying safe.
So here are our final tips for cat RV travel on the road!
1. Routine – Establish a travel day routine, so that your cat begins to understand when they’ll be on the move. This can help them prepare and settle in for the journeys.
2. Travel Arrangements – Work out how your cat likes to travel. Are they happy wandering around? Are they better off and safer in a travel crate? Do they like a view or a hiding spot?
⚠️ Note: It’s best to avoid letting your cat wiggle their way under a brake pedal or provide any driving distractions by being super cute (it happens!) You may want to consider crating or leashing if you’ve got an active cat on your hands. Other cats, however, are much happier hiding out until the driving portion of the day is over.
3. Cover All Bases – Be sure to never leave your cat for really long periods of time. Especially when the weather is extremely hot or super cold. As they are in a fairly confined space, they’ll need at least 15 minutes of playtime and 15-20 minutes of walking outside a day.
4. Take Breaks – Regularly check in on long drives to see how your fur buddy is doing, offer water and check their overall wellbeing. Sometimes they might need a quick fresh air break.
There you have it! We hope this guide helps you and your adventure cat to have the time of your lives.
Let us know how you get on, what you see and how your fur baby is adjusting to life on the road!
Got any of your own cat RV travel tips? Share them below!
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