Cats can be temperamental when it comes to travel, and are generally less adaptable than dogs, depending on their breed, past experience, and age.
Cats are generally pretty easy—they normally stay on your couch, have a litter tray, and are happy to be fed and pampered when needed. Every animal is different and requires different training and adjustments.
The most important thing to remember before making plans, is to make sure your cat is healthy enough to travel. A pre-vacation check-up with your veterinarian is just what the doctor ordered to make sure Fluffy is up to snuff and ready to hit the road. Make sure your cat is up to date on all shots and bring copies of vaccination records with you, as you never know when you might need them.
The number one thing to keep in mind is that cats are creatures of routine. If you’re planning on RVing with cats who have not been in a vehicle for an extended period of time, you need to set aside time to ease them into it.
At least a few weeks before you plan to leave, let your cat get used to the parked RV. Move a litter box that your cat has already used into the RV, as well as some of their favorite toys and food. Standby while your feline sniffs around and explores the new environment for a few hours. This will allow them to find new nooks and hiding spots, so that they feel at home in the space when you finally depart.
Next, you need to help Fluffy adjust to the motion of a moving vehicle. It’s best to start in small increments: Slowly drive around for 10 to 20 minutes at a time, securing the cat in its carrier. You may find that once they’ve adjusted to being in motion, they’ll want out of their carrier so they can go to a chosen “safe spot” in the RV.
Once you’ve decided to bring along your feline companion on an extended RV trip, you’ll need to decide whether they’ll be an indoor, or indoor/outdoor cat.
Keep in mind that indoor cats may still want to be let outside once in a while, especially if you have a smaller RV. Consider investing in a cat harness and leash for walks around rest stops or your campsite.
Of course, it’s best to do leash training before you plan to leave, so try it out on walks around your neighborhood before departing on your journey. This way, you can bring your cat along on outdoor adventures, or just let him hang out outside while you’re grilling or visiting with neighbors at your campsite.
When packing for cats, it’s important to remember food and water dishes, licenses, medicines or supplements, brushes, tie outs, shampoo, and something familiar from home like a toy or blanket. If a cat is comfortable sleeping in a box at home, that should be brought along too. Consider giving your cats bottled water for continued consistency.
Ensure your cat is properly identified. Also, obtain identification with the address of your destination.
Bring along your cat’s bed and favorite toys so it will feel comfortable and at home on the road. When traveling with a feline friend, think through the cat-box arrangement. Having extra litter, a covered litter box, plastic bags for disposal, scoop, and baking soda to cover the bottom of the box will keep mess and odor to a minimum.
If your cat comes to you when you call, or follows you around outside, you may be able to let him wander around your site or go on walks with you; just make sure to check the policy on cats at your campground. Many RV parks are cat friendly.
When registering at a campground or RV park check the location of the nearest veterinary doctor or clinic and how to get there.
Be extra cautious in state or national parks, however. Domesticated pets can interfere with wildlife and kill birds or small prey. Be advised that there are major fines if your pet kills wildlife.
Never try to outstubborn a cat.
―Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough for Love