10 Tips for Living with Cats on an RV
Cats. Cats on board RVs? Cats on board RVs are fine…really. We’ve been living on board with four people and two felines for over a year and no one’s dead just yet. We’ve learned a few things along the way, discovered some tips and tricks and found ways to make our travel with cats easier. Here are our top 10 ideas for making RV living better with pets on board:
1. Hide that Litter Box!
One of our favorite RV hacks is the hidden catbox enclosed at the bottom of our daughter’s desk. Cats are able to access the litter box through a 6″ wide “mousehole” into a tunnel along the wall and the humans can flip-down a door at the front of the desk in order to clean and service the cat litter. With the door closed, the litter is out of sight and there’s no noticeable odor outside the box as long as you keep it scooped daily.
2. Save Your RV Furniture with Cat Claw Covers
Seriously…there’s no reason not to do this. The claw caps are relatively inexpensive considering the potential cost of shredded RV furniture and the inhumanity of de-clawing a cat for the sake of said furniture, well…$12 isn’t bad. You can get clear or colored caps – we like to go with a variety. Purple, black, sparkly; these cats have no dignity. Caps are easily applied with a superglue and stay put for several weeks, assuming your cat doesn’t get outside to claw vigorously at a tree… Still, easily re-applied and well worth the investment.
3. Keep Current on Shots
The last thing you want is to find out that you can’t check into a campground or stow your pet at a kennel because your pets’ vaccinations are not up to date. No, wait…back up. The last thing you want is to find out that your pet has contracted rabies or another easily preventable illness because you failed to have their shots kept up to date. You’re the people. You have the thumbs. Keep the shots current.
4. Obtain Your Vet Records
Before leaving on a trip or going full-time with your pets, get their current and complete veterinarian records, including shot records. While you’re at it, take a quick look and note when you’re due for the next set of vaccinations or boosters. If you haven’t already done so, put the date in your calendar so that you don’t forget! Also, if you know where you’re going to be on your travels, do a little due diligence up front in locating vets and emergency animal hospitals near your intended destination.
5. Pet Medicines
If your pets have special medications or diets that can only be purchased through the veterinarian, make sure you stock up or make arrangements with your vet so that you can keep prescriptions current and a full supply of food available throughout your travel. Pick up a multi-month supply of flea treatments or ear mite medicine if your cats are susceptible. If your pets have medical conditions, keep a list of the diagnoses and any prescriptions and/or over the counter recommendations.
6. Identification Tags
For safety’s sake, all pets living on board an RV should have tags and collars that they wear all the time. On your pets’ collars, be sure to include any rabies tags, any local pet licensing tags as well as a tag with the pet’s name, and contact information for your CELL PHONE, not your home landline phone number unless you have voice mail that you can check remotely. If your pets have any serious medical conditions, consider having special tags made which identify the malady and your direct cell phone number or emergency instructions.
If you have an escape artist – one who likes to pull out of collars or maybe isn’t supposed to be outdoors at all, you’ll want to make sure that you can have your pet positively identified if found. A microchip can contain your up-to-date contact information and while it’s not foolproof, it can be instrumental in getting your pet back to you – even if they slip their collar. We got our two beasts chipped at a local animal shelter for less than $50 each.
8. Current photos
For most pet lovers, this isn’t a problem. Many of us take photos of our pets all the time, but if you ever need to make a Lost Poster, you’ll want to have photos with your cat with OUT the Santa suit.
Take special care to take a set of photos specifically in case you need them. Get a photo of your pet from the side, and face on. Also get a picture of your pet from behind, as they might be spotted running away. Make sure you photograph any unusual markings and that your photos show color patterns and are to scale.
9. Alert Others – Pets On Board
You’d never forgive yourself if something happened to your rig, like a fire, while you were out and no one knew to rescue your furry friend(s). Remember – animals will often hide when they’re frightened, so you need to make sure that first responders are aware that there are helpless animals on board. Use a sticker that is highly visible placed on or near your door, and on the opposite side of your rig as well. 6 “Pets Inside” Window Stickers or order a pet safety kit for free from the ASPCA.
10. Locate Vet Ahead
When traveling with older pets, or with pets who have medical conditions, it’s a good idea to find out if the area you’re staying in has a reputable veterinary service and if there is an emergency animal hospital or a vet with 24 hours service. Find an American Animal Hospital Accredited emergency service through their Animal Hospital Search. Check out VetLocator to find local vets by zipcode.
What other tips do you have for traveling or camping with pets?