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Old 02-24-2020, 01:05 PM   #1
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Question Traveling with cats

Hi Everyone! We have 2 cats and are in the process of selling our home and buying our first rv. We keep changing our decision between a fifth wheel and a class A. The concern is moving the cats back and forth from the truck on moving days in the fifth wheel or losing living space in the class A.

Does anyone have cats in a fifth wheel? And if so, how did they adjust to moving them back and forth on travel days. Do you crate them in the truck?

We have found a fifth wheel we love but may not decide to buy it because of this problem.

Please help...
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Old 02-24-2020, 03:10 PM   #2
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Can't speak about a 5th wheel but I'll share my experiences with cats in our motor home.

My wife has 3 cats. "I have none" The first thing I did was to use my industrial sewing machine and make covers for all of the leather chairs including the top of the back rest on our dinette. I did this with my last coach when she decided the her cats needed to go with us. When I sold the coach, the leather chairs were in perfect condition but the naugahyde covers were scratched up quite a bit. Cat's like high places and back rests are a favorite.

I've had this coach for a bit over 3 years and you can see where they have clawed the naugahyde covers but no damage to the actual furniture. (We regularly have their claws trimmed)

I put 2 litter boxes in the rear bathroom one on each side of the toilet. The cats have no problem using the boxes when we're parked. When we travel I put a small litter box on the floor in the kitchen but, they WILL NOT use any of the boxes when the coach is moving or if the engine is running so, I have to make frequent stops, turn off the engine and wait until they go.

Personally, it's not fun.
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Old 02-24-2020, 05:12 PM   #3
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We travel with two cats and two dogs in our class A. We do have to carry the cats from the home to our RV a distance of several hundred feet for every trip we take. So it hasn't been a problem.

When we are underway, the two cats go behind the couch and don't come out until I shut down the engine. Then they come out to explore.

I made a "cat house" in the rear of the coach behind the bedroom TV. There is a ramp for the cats to scoot from the floor up to the TV area. Inside there is a large litter box, water and two automatic food feeders for them. Let me tell you, at 7 am and 6 pm those two rascals can be found sitting on top of the feeders staring at the food tray waiting for them to go off. All in all, there is little problems with our 4 pets.

Couple of things to consider:
  • If you are away and the pets stay behind, what would happen if the RV loses shore power and the heating/air conditioning goes off? Do you have a way to provide temporary power?
  • What happens when one of the pets gets sick? are you willing to take them to a out of town vet you don't know?
  • While you are traveling, can you easily get their food? A lot of people get pets supplies on line and that doesn't always work for traveling people.
  • Are the pets the type who will bolt out the door at first chance?
    Do the pets get motion sick? If so do you have a way to clean up the mess?
    Are they microchipped? If they get out, it may be the only way to get them back.
    Are the pets up to date in shots? and do you have a copy of the certificates with you? Twice in the past few years we have had to show copies of the rabies paperwork.
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Old 02-24-2020, 07:25 PM   #4
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Our cat started in a 5er almost 14 yrs ago, she was 5 mo old. She was leash trained so most of the time she walked between the TV and 5er. She traveled in the TV but was in the 5er when we stopped to eat or site see. She then moved to a Truck Camper with a window access to the camper. Then to the MH, I think she likes it best.
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Old 02-24-2020, 07:42 PM   #5
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We started FT about 7 years ago and our 2 mid aged cats would make a fuss in the truck to the point we just left them in the fifth wheel and let them figure it out during travels. They seemed to do fine and would come out from their hiding spots during our stops. Those cats have since passed and our newest cat we trained young to ride in the truck with us. The cat still does not like riding in the truck but will settle down after a few miles. I have taken the approach that the animals need to adapt to my lifestyle, not me to theirs. We put the litter box in a closet and I have installed a cat door. The same thing with the outside door and a leash.
We do have a crate in the truck which usually has the door open, but we will put the cat in and close the crate door during stops to prevent the cat from bolting.
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Old 02-24-2020, 07:45 PM   #6
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Never owned a 5th wheel but Type B, C and now A's for the last 22 years. Cats do fine in a motorhome.
Some of my 5 cats that I always take.
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Old 02-24-2020, 08:17 PM   #7
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Here's my experiences. I posted this on a similar thread.

Angel was 16 years old when she started traveling with us. We got her at 4 wks. old and she never went outside except to go to the vet. First trip was about 2k miles total in a TT with no problems. The next year we did 11,450 miles, not all towing but what was actually put on the Truck. It was also in the TT and just over 3 months. Again no problems. Angel didn't like the leash and was happy to stay in the camper. I would hold her while I sat outside but again, she was happier inside. When going down the road she stayed/slept in backseat of the truck. We had 2 litter boxes, one in TT and one in back floor board along with food and water. I know better, but she was not in a carrier while in the truck. A couple of times in stop and go traffic she would come up front for the DW to hold.

Depending on weather, when we were sight seeing, Angel would stay in TT. Never left her in truck alone. When we opened the TT door she would come running to go back to the truck. I think she always understood what was going on. If it was hot, the DW would wait with Angel outside when I would get fast food and we ate in the shade. We have taken her in Walmart in her soft sided carrier in a shopping cart. Never a problem.

One interesting thing after our long trip. Angel seemed to be closer to us. At home before the trip she spent most of her time in our bedroom and would come out in the evenings for a short time while we watched television. After the trip she would spend nearly the whole evening with us. Sometimes we went to bed before she did. Also after being away from the TT during the day, Angel would be there waiting to see who sat down first so she could jump in their lap.

Last March we bought a MH. I think Angel liked it as she could stay inside all the time. She adapted without any problems. A couple of not so far/long trips and then in August we headed for Niagara Falls and then up into Canada. Angel had been on kidney medicine for a few years and while we were in Canada she started having seizures so I took her to the vet at midnight. He said she was having respiratory arrest and kidney failure. We held her while she was put to sleep. Went back to Vet the next morning to settle up with them. Was going to have her cremated but the vet said they might not be able to mail ashes, customs and all. So, we took her with us, those residential refrigerators are nice. Cleared one of the freezer drawers out for her. At customs they only asked if I had any wood. You don't volunteer any information at all. Had Angel cremated in Sault Ste Marie and she will still be traveling with us.
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Old 02-24-2020, 08:29 PM   #8
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I've used my DP for evacuating from hurricanes several times now, and of course my kitties have come with me. I've had to take my family too, but that's a different issue.

I use the Litter Robot for them, they love it. The cats have been fine in the RV, and while they probably aren't eating or drinking while the coach is moving, they are certainly happier NOT having their environment changed constantly (moving to another vehicle repeatedly) and this also reduces the risk of them possibly getting loose.

While traveling, they would usually find a quiet place to sit or hide, but some also would stretch out on the dash and watch the road go by or come and curl up on the passenger seat next to me.

They take their cues from you - if you are stressed out, so will they be stressed. I'd go with a motorhome, no question. I had the same thoughts as you about "wasted" interior space, but here's a thought: With a mid-door gas coach, first you get a coach that may be too heavy for the engine (a 34 foot Safari with 2 slides and a GM Vortec engine.... Blew the head at 50k miles b/c it was too heavy by design) and you definitely lose about 4 square feet of floor around that mid-door and stairs. Yes, there's another roughly 4 square feet lost from the steering wheel / driver's seat area.

But with a diesel pusher, you still have that 4 square feet of the steering wheel area, BUT the entry door is in the front and combines with the passenger footwell - so technically you have only lost the stairwell area, AND that entire front area is also where your TV will be - so you aren't going to want to stand / store stuff there ANYWAY. So to my thinking, you haven't actually LOST that area at all, and you gain the 4 square feet in the middle of your living room that is NOT a set of stairs then.
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Old 02-24-2020, 09:04 PM   #9
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Continued from my previous post.

We now travel with Iggy. We adopted her at 3 months from a Shelter in St. Ignace, Mi. Before picking her up, we purchased a small dog training crate and positioned it on the dinette after removing one of the cushions. I used the divider piece to make a shelf and put a small litter box along with food and water in it. Iggy had no problem with it as she was already accustomed to being in a kennel at the shelter. At night and when we were away from the MH, she was in the crate and while driving. We were on the road another month before returning to Virginia. Our next trip was 3 weeks and we left the crate at home. Iggy's doing fine without it.

But a word of WARNING. Block off access to under the dash if you have a MH. You don't have to ask me why, I'll tell you. We had Iggy for less than 30 minutes and I was showing her where her food and water was. She took off for the front floorboard and disappeared. We thought we had kitty proofed the MH but were wrong. Iggy went up past the brake pedal and into the dash. Googling says put food down, if that doesn't work, call a mechanic. I am a mechanic and since she had just been spayed the day before, and we were worried about her, I started dismantling the dash til I could access the passenger airbag. Removed the airbag and there was our scared little Iggy. I don't think she'll do that again, but we block off that area when stopped. She was also only 3 lbs then and about 7 or 8 lbs now.
Before removing the dash the radio was crooked, it's straight now.

About taking to Vet while traveling. It's no different than if you have to see a Doctor or go to the hospital while on the road. Both the DW and I have had to do just that. While in Gettysburg, Pa on our trip to Canada, we had to take Angel to the Vet for an antibiotic shot. As mentioned in my other post, Angel had kidney problems. All I did was ask CG Office for a recommendation and was pleased with the Vet they recommended.

Good luck and enjoy your cats and traveling. They will be just fine.
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Old 02-25-2020, 06:10 AM   #10
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Thank you so much everyone! I am so grateful for all of your input and information...this was my only hesitation about living in a rv. I didn’t think there were many rvers who were cat owners. I think if all of you have achieved a happy home for yourselves and the animals I can do it also! Take Care....
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Old 02-25-2020, 06:48 AM   #11
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XLTShaker brought out some good points. Cats are naturally inquisitive and seem to seek out hidden spots. Back in the beginning our big worry was them bolting out the door. However we learned they don't seem to be inclined to do so, however we are still careful opening the door just in case. Campgrounds usually have a cat or two that escaped a RV and were left behind. One campground owner told me he usually has to trap and take several cats per year to the shelter. Most shelters will scan for the microchip and if found they can unite you with your pet.

Our two cats have been in all of the lower 48 states and the eastern half of Canada. Our Vet said he could learn to eat cat/dog food if we would take him with us!
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Old 02-25-2020, 08:46 AM   #12
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Smile

Thatís so funny! And if my cats knew what was coming they would gladly trade places with him...they are both 5yrs old and accustomed to the run of the house. However, they donít ever seem to want to go outside. Letís hope it stays that way...thanks for responding
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Old 02-26-2020, 12:20 PM   #13
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Blocking off the dash is something I forgot - also checking the tops of the slides before moving them.

For the dash, a quick and easy way is several of the furniture blankets / moving pads from Harbor Freight and some squeeze clips (the ones that look like an A) from Home Depot for about $1 each. Just spread out the furniture pad under the dash and clip it to the edges every 6 inches or so to keep it nice and tight, and stuff the excess up above into the dash spaces. How it looks isn't really important b/c nobody will ever see it up there, and if you keep the black side facing out, it will just naturally hide itself. Then any interested kitties will find a soft barrier that they can't get past, and go somewhere else.

On my coach, the arm console on the driver's side is open at the front, so the pad works great to close that in too.

Using these blankets around the front door and under the passenger seat spaces also prevents any possible side-surprises as you go to open the door and climb in or out - but none of mine have shown any inclinations to the door anyway. But better safe than sorry! I'd never leave an RV park if one of mine got out, I can't imagine what would make someone do that.
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Old 02-27-2020, 06:12 AM   #14
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Thank you!

Thank you Geordi! The top of the slides I didnít even think of... this is scary but I suppose Iíll adjust with all the safety details for my cats as we all do when we move into a new home with pets. Thank you again for all of the responses.
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