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The RV lifestyle is perfect for taking your four-legged family member on vacations with you. But what if your pet purrs instead of barks? Is it possible to have a good RV experience with your favorite feline? The answer, of course, is yes. It just takes a bit more preparation in order to outsmart your cat, while at the same time keeping him content.
Use a Cat Carrier
Don’t expect your cat to ride in one of those small, taking-me-to-the-vet cat carriers for hours on end. Spring for a larger model, line it with a soft blanket and a few familiar cat toys and most cats settle in pretty quick. Some will serenade you when you start out, but the “singing” usually ends once the cat figures out nothing bad will happen. Many cats end up spending the night in the open carrier, getting up just in time to remind you about breakfast.
Setting Up the Litter Box
Campgrounds frown on letting cats run loose, and in most cases doing so is unsafe. A few cats will walk on a leash, or rather walk you. But most cats stay inside, and seem to prefer it that way as long as there are nice big windows to look out of.
One of your biggest challenges is figuring out where to set up the litter box. The bathroom is the obvious choice, if it is big enough. A separate shower is ideal. Make sure you put the box on a big towel or pad to keep stray bits of litter from going down the drain. Having this stuff gum up your gray tank is no fun. The covered litter boxes work best. Special pads that go in front of the litter box door also help. Another option for larger RVs is to put the litter box in a hidden corner of a separate bedroom. Again, those pads will keep your cat from tracking litter all over your rig.
If your cat isn’t used to traveling, taking the carrier and the cat out to the RV for a trial run in the driveway works wonders. Leave the cat carrier door open during part of the trial run so your cat can wander around the RV. Put out food, water and set up the litter box just as if you were spending the night. Curiosity will do the rest. You may have to repeat this process for especially irritable and antsy cats.
Consider doing a trial campout in your driveway or maybe a weekend trip to a local campground. The latter gets your cat used to the sound and feel of the RV when it’s in motion. The turning on of the engine and driving down the road for the first time tends to bring out the kitty serenade in full force. But once you’re parked and settled for the night, chances are your cat will stake out a favorite window seat and just watch the scenery.
Sooner or later your cat will figure out he can sit in that window in perfect safety, no matter how many dogs sit outside and bark. The word “tease” comes to mind.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|