Have you ever thought about taking your cat on your next camping trip with you? This is our cat named “Cat” (what can we say, picking names isn't our forte). Cat has been our travel buddy in our RV for over 200 nights. She's even been across Canada from BC to Newfoundland and back with us. We don't think there are many cats out there that are as well travelled as her!
Cat is 5 years old now, and for 3 of her years of life she was a strictly indoor only kitty. When we were contemplating purchasing our motorhome to essentially live in full time when there is no snow on the ground, we had to decide if that lifestyle would fit with Cat too. This is when we started the slow process of leash training our cat, as well as introducing her to the outside world for essentially the first time.
The transition started with purchasing a body harness and leash. While we were still living in our home, we put the harness on her and let her get used to the idea of having it on. We would also take it on and off every once and awhile so that she would get used to that process as well. This step of her transition adventure didn't take very long. In under a week, she was very comfortable wearing her new harness.
The next step to getting our cat ready for the RV lifestyle was to introduce her to the great outdoors. We started very slow, because she has quite a shy, and timid personality. First, we held her in our arms while we took her outside onto our balcony. Even this was sensory overload for our kitty! There were so many new smells to take in, and we also lived on a busy city street, so many new and loud noises as well. At first, she would only want to be outside for a couple of minutes before getting a little spooked, but eventually she warmed up to the idea of the outdoors and would sit on the balcony with us in the evening. Being a confident city balcony cat, it was time to introduce her to what would be her new favourite thing – grass! When we took Cat to the lawn, we made sure to bring her cat carrier so she would have a familiar space to hide in if she got scared – which she did quite a bit.
With Cat now accustomed to the outdoors along with her leash and harness, we knew that the RV life was going to be the life for her. We spent our first night in our motorhome just in the driveway, that way if for any reason Cat was unhappy, we could bring her inside. We set up her litter box in the shower, and put out her food and water dish. We also made sure to have her favourite treats on hand to help her settle in. When we first let her go in the RV, she spent a good amount of time just going back and forth throughout the RV investigating every detail of her new home. She eventually got very comfortable, and had a great first night in the RV.
Our cat has loved every single minute of travelling and camping with us in our Vacation Certified RV. Campgrounds have become her new favourite playground, and grass has become her new favourite treat. Not only does Cat enjoy the RV lifestyle, but we love having her join us on all of our adventures. We couldn't imagine it any other way!
Are you thinking about bringing your feline friend with you on your next RV adventure? We have 3 tips to make your outing a success.
- Let your cat take the lead. Yes, it is a blast having your cat camping with you, but let them decide when they are ready to take certain steps. Maybe your cat is nervous to take the leap out the RV door for the first time into the unknown. Rather than carrying or forcing them outside when they aren't ready, let them take the first step. Situations where your cat is scared or uncomfortable can actually reverse any progress that they have made, and they will now associate that scary moment with that activity for a long time.
- Make sure your cat is up to date with all vaccinations. There are different vaccinations required for outdoor cats compared to strictly indoor cats. Be sure to visit your veterinarian to ensure that your kitty cat has had their rabies shot, and any other vaccinations that an outdoor cat should have.
- Start slow. The last thing you want to do is suddenly throw your cat in the RV, take off, and traumatize your cat. Every cat is different, and has had different experiences in their life. For our cat, being outdoors in the beginning was sensory overload. Although she slowly learned to love rolling in the dirt, chewing on grass, and watching the birds, we had to introduce her to these things slowly as she was easily overwhelmed. We think a lot of our success with training Cat for RV life and the outdoors comes down to letting her adjust slowly, and at her own pace.
Luke and Alysha
About Luke and Alysha
Hi there! We're Luke and Alysha, and we travel and camp in our Adventurer 23DS Class C motorhome with our cat named “Cat". We have taken our RV across Canada from BC to Newfoundland and back, and made so many fun memories along the way. We are continuing to explore more of Canada (when there is no snow on the ground at least) and share all of our adventures along the way on our YouTube channel. You can also follow us on Instagram.