7 Tips for Acclimating Your Cat to RV Life
How to have a smooth and safe transition when bringing along a kitty!

By: Becca & Brian Roy

Owning a cat and traveling in an RV can seem like two lifestyles that don't mesh well. However, with the right approach and a bit of patience, you can successfully acclimate your feline friend to life on the road. Whether you're planning a short vacation or embarking on a longer-term RV adventure, here are some tips to help your cat adjust to this new environment.

1. Start Introducing Your Cat to RV Life Slowly

Before hitting the road, take some time to introduce your cat to the RV gradually. Begin by allowing them to explore the vehicle while it's parked in your driveway or a quiet location. This will help them become familiar with the new smells, sounds, and layout of their temporary home. We began the acclimation process by slowly introducing our cat Fry to the sights and sounds of the Winnebago Micro Minnie FLX

We turned on various appliances and performed some of the functions of the camper, such as operating the slide and awning, as well as turning on the shower and sinks. We discovered that the sound of the slide was not his favorite, so we made note to keep him in his carrier in the tow vehicle while this was in operation. 

With the numerous storage capabilities in our Winnebago travel trailer – the under-seat access on both sides of the dinette, the passthrough storage areas accessible from either side of the murphy bed, and all of the nooks and crannies in-between – there are a lot of spots for a kitty to explore and call their own. With some creativity and modifications, you can turn some of your unused space into a spot for your furry camp-anion and block off any unsafe places that your kitty may want to hide.

2. Create a Safe Space and Bring Familiar Items

Designate a cozy area in the RV where your cat can retreat when they feel overwhelmed or anxious. This could be a comfortable bed or a quiet corner. Pack your cat's favorite toys, bedding, and litter box to provide them with a sense of comfort and security. Having familiar belongings in the RV can reassure your cat and make them feel more at home in their new environment. 

On the second day of the acclimation process, we brought in various toys and creature comforts that Fry was familiar with from the house. We gradually increased the time we spent in the camper, day-by-day, doing regular functions that we would typically do daily in the camper, such as making dinner and watching some TV. 

Fry seemed to enjoy going in and out of the areas underneath the storage cabinets that hang on either side of the bed, gradually coming out more often as he got used to his surroundings. He also enjoyed burrowing under the comforter to snooze, so we made sure the bed always had a sheet or blanket he could crawl under.

As for the litter box, having a consistent place is ideal. We put the litter box between the dinette slide and the bed which has worked out well.

3. Secure the RV

Safety should be a top priority when traveling with a cat in an RV. For fellow towable RV owners, remember to never travel with any pets (or people!) in your towable while it is in motion. Cats should always be kept safely in a cat carrier in your tow vehicle, when en route. (We touched upon this in a previous article on pet safety found here.)

When at the campsite, make sure all windows and doors are securely closed to prevent your pet from escaping. Consider using screens or barriers to block off any areas where your cat could get stuck or injured. Tiny little kittens can be quick and easily slip outdoors if you are not paying attention. Here’s a tip: If you have a runner, distract your cat with toys or treats as you exit so there’s less chance for escape. 

Inside the camper, Fry tends to find the smallest possible spaces to hide in, making it difficult to find him and get to him, if needed. So, to avoid him disappearing into the darkest depths of the camper, we stuff extra towels and blankets into hard-to-reach places.

4. Consider Environmental Factors

Pay attention to the temperature and humidity levels inside the RV, especially in the warmer camping months. Creating a comfortable and stress-free environment will help them feel more at ease. As with any pet, keeping the camper at a safe and comfortable temperature is imperative. 

We use the Waggle Pet Monitor to keep an eye on the temperature inside the camper. With the Waggle, you can set up alerts so if the temperature reaches a certain point or the power goes out, you will receive a text and/or email notification immediately. This way you can quickly return to the camper to rectify the situation.

5. Consult with a Veterinarian 

Before embarking on your RV adventure, ensure your cat is up-to-date on vaccinations and flea prevention and schedule a visit with your veterinarian if need be. Some campgrounds will require proof of vaccinations for any pets staying on site so it’s best to keep those records handy upon arrival. Your vet can also provide advice on managing motion sickness or anxiety in cats during travel. 

6. Invest in a Cat Harness and Leash

Exploring the great outdoors can be exciting for both you and your cat, but it's important to keep them safe. If you wish to go on outdoor excursions with your feline friend, invest in a cat harness and leash so you can take supervised walks outside the RV without worrying about your pet wandering off.

Leash walking a cat can be a safe way to introduce them to the outdoors and a great way to enhance the camping experience. Unfortunately, this was not something that worked out for us – Fry was not a fan, to put it mildly. We purchased a cat harness and leash which we thankfully tried inside our home first, but Fry was visibly panicked wearing the harness. 

It doesn’t hurt to give leash walking your cat a try – some cats take to it very well – but we recommend trying it indoors in a safe space first to get them comfortable and gradually work your way to the outdoors. We will continue trying to get him used to a harness/leash setup.

7. Be Patient and Positive

Adjusting to life in an RV may take time for your cat, so be patient and offer plenty of praise and reassurance along the way. Reward good behavior with treats or affection to reinforce positive associations with their new living situation. For us, the entire acclimation process lasted seven days from start to finish; however, the timeline may differ depending on your pet. The safety and comfort of your furry friend is the goal, so pay attention to their behavior and act accordingly to reduce stress and ensure your pet feels safe.

By following these tips and taking the time to acclimate your cat to RV life, you can enjoy the freedom and adventure of traveling with your feline companion while keeping them safe, happy, and healthy along the way. With patience, understanding, and a little bit of preparation, your cat can thrive in the RV lifestyle just as much as you do. 

If you would like to see the entire process, check out our Instagram page @SuperChargedCamper where we documented on a day-to-day basis the steps we took to get Fry used to the Winnebago Micro Minnie FLX and the RV lifestyle. Happy camping, everyone!


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