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Old 12-19-2010
Suska's Avatar
Suska Suska is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Cape Cod, MA
Posts: 805
Default Traveling with cats!

Good morning
I am looking for advise on traveling with two older
cats that have NEVER traveled.
My 'boys' are 12 and 14 year old indoor/outdoor independent cats.
Any helpful ideas are greatly appreciated!

1973 31FC
Cape Cod MA
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Old 12-19-2010
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gcyeaw gcyeaw is offline
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Ridgewood
Posts: 8,943

I would think they should live in the coach part time to get accustomed to it. Park it in the driveway and move in. At 12 years old they are pretty set in their ways and just jumping in and treveling would probably freak them out. But if the bus becomes a "food" place, they might adjust a little better.

I'll ask my sister the Vet. She works in 'cat' prictice and may have some words of wisdom.
Gardner Yeaw
86 PT-36 Golden Memories
78 FC 33 Happinest (Sold)
Ridgewood, New Jersey
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Old 12-19-2010
Who Moved my Stuff ? Who Moved my Stuff ? is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Red Deer
Posts: 91

I'd invest in harnesses and leashs. We had one cat who was a runner.
Ian and Tammy Gatenby
2001 LXI slide
Red Deer, AB, Summer / Surprise AZ, Winter
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Old 12-19-2010
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Rick Rick is offline
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Bellefonte
Posts: 13,226

So did LondanJack but a Hawk got it west of Oklahoma City, OK.
Rick Shawver
1SG Ret
2000 LX
Vise Grips
Bellefonte, AR
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Old 12-19-2010
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iamflagman iamflagman is offline
(1943-2018) Forum Co-founder/Administrator
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Hopkins
Posts: 11,506

I agree with moving into your 'Bird for a while and also when they travel with you it is a good idea to put a harness on them, I'm going to add a decal note next to the door at human eye level that reads "CAUTION - Escape Cat Onboard", she has gotten loose from the coach a few times since I have had her and some folks inadvertently just open the door without knowing about the cat being in there. I started off by putting her in a carrying crate, but I don't use that anymore but carry it with me in case she has to make a visit to the vet, or if she gets a little unruly and here at the homebase she is also an indoor outdoor cat, but she now travels very well and has her favorite spots to view what is going on.


1982 FC35RB
I'm NO EXPERT, but I did stay in the FINN'S INN EXPRESS last night
Visit the WILD HARE RACING website
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Old 12-19-2010
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Randy Dupree Randy Dupree is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Port St Joe,Fl
Posts: 37,003

lets see,the bird is at my place,the cats are on the cape...
email me at randy@randydupree.com only.

Randy Dupree
2000 LXI 43
Port St Joe Fl.

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Old 12-19-2010
fxdwg fxdwg is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: okc
Posts: 3,843


Being 12 & 14, they've certainly traveled in a car, right? Take their favorite blanket/pillow/whatever and put it in the bus with their food and water. Go for a ride around the block. They'll either do great or you're gonna need a lot of duct tape!!
96 WTOS 42'

don't waste your time with a usa-spec ipod adapter- poor products with poor support
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Old 12-19-2010
Bravo Bravo is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: West Point
Posts: 127

If you have the time, do the following in small steps.

Introduce cats to MH and have food there (or treats)-0.5 hours now and then. Make it a fun place to be! Then increase duration over time. Start motor when they seem OK with everything.

If the above goes well, take them for a 15 minute ride (that will involve a lot of new noises and sights!). Gradually make rides longer.

Taking all this in steps (and adjusting the technique according to how they respond) is important. Small successful steps are way better than big steps that may backfire.
Rod (aka Bravo)
97 WB41 (Helga)
Series 60 DD
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Old 12-19-2010
AC7880 AC7880 is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Left the Forums
Posts: 1,346

This will be formatted a bit strange as I am going to cut and past a PM series we had with another person to save retyping it:

Where do you keep the litter box(s)?

Bigger one under bathroom sink. Under the sink cabinet has double side doors and double front doors. Removed one side door, used metal screening stapled and siliconed in place to prevent crawling up into plumbing runs/wall. Smaller litter box under drivers feet area when parked for more than one night - otherwise that one goes next to shower in bath for travel. Scoop both morning and night - in between if needed.

Do they use special litter boxes/ litter sand?

Smaller boxes than in sticks and bricks, one under drivers seat is a tupperware tub that is the best size for the space.
Litter is tidy cats multiple cat clumping sccopable. Tried wheat litter - our cats don't like it.

How do you keep the coach cool when you are away from the bus?

Normally we are plugged into power when warm enough for air con.

If we'll be gone even with a/c on, we crack kitchen window (high and small to prevent break in), open the coolmatic vent in kitchen, and usually run bath exhaust vent on low - all in case power goes out - still have airflow. If no ac and hot, we open coolmatic in kitchen, crack kitchen window, and run bath vent exhaust on high. If too hot we can run gen w A/C on.

How long did it take for them to get used to traveling?
One was following us around the world when we were military - born in Germany, to Turkey, and 3 moves in states.

All vacation rv'd with us as vacation birders. Some are ok and some not. The ones not liking it used to cry for about 30 minutes, then hide and sleep. 2 stay out in open and move around. Two go under living room chairs, one under pillow on bed.

Cats kept adopting us when we were in sticks and bricks - we had 4 when we started fulltiiming.

Any special considerations we should take when preparing them, the coach, and us to full-time?

Collars with metal tag on it with cell phone number, or black idelible marker write cell number on collar.

Look for dedicated space for litter boxes.

Invest in a good vacum - I can recommend 2 cheaper ones (one handheld, one stick with beater) that work good for a while then die, or one expensive one that will last a very long time. All 3 of these pick up litter and hair well - the pricier one best.

Find small scratch posts the cats like - catnip helps train them to scratch there. We use one carpeted upright post, and 2 cheap disposable cardboard ones. One cardboard one is on the floor,one velcroed upright to wall. Cats differ on scratch placement preference.

Hope these are not too far off the BB topic. We love our furry space heaters and are sad when we have to leave them at Grandma's house for vacation. Although, they seem to like it, and gain a pound each to show their appreciation.

Try them on a rv vacation - invest in harnesses for them and get them used to that in sticks and bricks (a little bit at a time). We take 3 of our cats for walks in their harnesses with leashes on. If we think they may go out the door when we are doing something - they wear thier harnesses - just in case.

We spent a great deal of time picking vaccums that work well on animal hair, but are small enough for the rv.

We HAD 2.
Stick vac upright, with beater bar that can be on or off: Hoover Flair Bagless, less than $50. Handheld powerfull vac with beater that can be on or off:

Eureka Quick-Up, don't reacall pricing. We've had the Eureka for over 4 years and used it in sticks and brick and rv - now fulltiming with it. Great vac. We've had the Hoover Flair for 4 months - working out great.

We went through 2 flairs in 18 months - the beater bars are cheap and die. Vac still works - but beater bar is critical for cat hair. Eureka is still going strong.

Big Bucks:
Miele S 168, plus extra $$ for beater bar. Uses bags. HEPA filtered. Worth the money IF you can budget for it. Great vac.

Fulltiming with cats:
Sold the BMC, left the forums.
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Old 12-19-2010
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peteaeonix peteaeonix is offline
Former Bird Owner
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Ridgefield
Posts: 2,010

Originally Posted by AC7880 View Post
This will be formatted a bit strange as I am going to cut and past a PM series we had with another person to save retyping it:

Where do you keep the litter box(s)?

Do they use special litter boxes/ litter sand?

How do you keep the coach cool when you are away from the bus?

Normally we are plugged into power when warm enough for air con.

Any special considerations we should take when preparing them, the coach, and us to full-time?

Collars with metal tag on it with cell phone number, or black idelible marker write cell number on collar.

Invest in a good vacuum -

Find small scratch posts the cats like -

Fulltiming with cats:
We weren't quite full timers, but we travled 3-4 months at a time with our cat. He was 5 or 6 when we started travel -- but he was fairly decent in the car (trips to vet, etc.) already -- not a howler. All in all, he adjusted to the style and life rhythm of the coach quite well.

Lots of good advice from the others -- you'll have to do what works best for you. This is how I handled matters.

Cat box: I use a pine-based litter (Feline Pine from Petsmart). Technically, it's "flushable" (but take that with a large grain of salt). What the stuff does is breakdown into sawdust when it gets wet. It does a great job keeping urine odors controlled and usually does well with poop, too.

I rigged up a thing with a bungee cord and a short length of plastic pipe to hold the shower door open about 8" or so. (Drilled a small hole in the edge of the door for the bungee cord hook.) Then I kept the cat box in the shower (setting it on the toilet while using the shower). I found a smaller size (about 2/3 normal) box (that might have come from Camping World). I'd put a very thin layer of litter (1/4" or so) in the bottom and changed it every morning. (With two cats, you might need to use a bit more litter.)

Since the litter was "plumbing safe", when there were a few bits tossed around in the shower, it just washed down the drain -- and never caused any issues with the tank draining or operation of the valves (although I could see a bit of sawdust in the hose when packing up).

The other ideas (under sink or by driver's feet when parked) are OK, too, though I preferred to keep the odors in the bathroom where it was easy to open the vent/fan, if necessary.

Feeding. My cat is spoiled by my wife's very early rising habit -- so he's used to feedings at 4 AM, 8 AM, 4 PM and 10 PM. We found that feeding less than 2 hours before departure was not a good idea. Therefore, on travel days, we'd skip the 8 AM feeding -- the cat became quite accustomed to understanding that no food meant travel.

Water. I always kept the water bowl on the bathroom floor. While on the road, I made sure to keep the bowl less than 1/2 full. There are deeper bowls (that might slop over less) and special bowls made to 'catch' splashes (on sale at Camping World). The special bowls were all too large (for dogs) and it turned out that our regular cat water bowl worked fine if not over filled. It would spill only if there were significant vehicle movements -- that don't occur often. (e.g. extra heavy brake application, curve or turn made at a faster speed than advisable.)

On the road. The cat did fairly well with the travel. The first year, he'd get under the covers in the bed and "hide" there while on the road. If he was feeling a little car sick (happened sometimes) then he'd come out and sit on my wife's lap. (Sometimes he try to sit on me -- but that wasn't a good idea while I was driving.) After the first year, he'd come out and sit on the sofa, or on a (custom) computer desk we had. From the sofa, he didn't see much, but when he sat on the desk, he would watch out the side window.

Cats like to hide -- so be sure to examine your coach for "not good' places -- and figure out ways to block them off -- but do leave an "approved" place or two for hiding.

When parked, the cat really enjoyed sitting in the front window, watching the world go by (and baking in the sun). He quickly learned to slip between the glass and the curtain used in the front, so he felt a controlled privacy there.

Keeping the coach cool is important, so in hot climates, we made sure to stay places with shore power. The thermostat controlled Kool-o-matic did a pretty good job in moderate/cool situations. Cold weather, we'd leave heater thermostats to come on at about 55-60 degrees. (Needed to protect the pipes in freezing temperatures anyway.) The cat would get under the blankets in the bed, if it was cold enough (and/or if a sunny spot wasn't available).

Indoor/outdoor: This is tricky. My cat is 100% inside -- and he's not the least bit interested in going outside. A somewhat timid kitty, he runs to hide whenever doors are opened and/or strange voices are heard. I've seen other campers let cats 'hang out' near their RV -- but with many people, dogs, and possibly wildlife, there's some risk to that approach. Leash and harness are advised (get a cat-harness of the "figure 8" type, do not use a small dog harness, as a determined cat can easily escape from those). Identity tags are also helpful. You can also have a chip implanted with identity information. (Cat can't be separated from a chip.)

Vacuum: Originally, I planned to use a corded "handy vac" that had excellent suction. It was fine for short trips, but the small size dust compartment was inadequate over time. I got a modest priced vacuum from Walmart (an off-brand) that was similar to this one: http://www.walmart.com/ip/Panasonic-...-Blue/10779287 -- but it was only $39 and bagless. It was basically a "giant sized" handy vac. My cat is a shorthair that doesn't shed much -- a long hair cat, you'll want a beater/brush attachment. (When I had a long-hair cat, I used a Dirt Devil handy-vac that was a permanent beater-brush type. Something like this: http://www.dirtdevil.com/products/de...x?id=M08230RED

Scratching: We had trained our cat to use a cardboard scratching box. With our side-aisle bath, there was a "wire chase" next to the outside wall that was just wide enough to put a scratcher and hold there with double sided tape. Unfortunately, when we re-did the floor, I had some left-over cork (used as underlayment) and I covered the hall wall with it. The cat decided that was ideal for claw sharpening. It almost instantly was ruined before I could react. Thumbtacked plastic sheet stopped the damage -- but I had to replace the hall wall covering before selling the coach. Other cork I used for wall covering in the front part of the coach was not touched -- but a particular spot just outside the bathroom door was "perfect" from a cat's perspective. <sigh> (Hint: try to 'think like a cat.')

We were very happy traveling with our cat -- and one of the biggest disadvantages of having sold our coach is not being able to have the cat with us when we travel.

Pete Masterson
(former) 95 WBDA 42'
(now) 2011 Roadtrek RS-Adventerous
Ridgefield, WA
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