How to RV with Cats

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A cat sits on a perch and stares straight ahead looking cute.

RVing with your pets can be an incredibly rewarding experience for both you and your animals. And we’re not just talking dogs. Heading out in an RV with cats can be a fantastic way to see the country and bond. We’ve got some tips to help your cat adapt to RV life while you both enjoy your time on the road.

Is It Possible to RV with Cats? 

Absolutely! While this largely depends on your cat’s personality, most do just fine traveling in an RV. Most cats don’t require a ton of space, so they can adapt just fine to the smaller surroundings. Just give them a little time to get used to their new home. If your cat has lived in quieter places, they might need to acclimate to louder sounds in campgrounds or while traveling. 

A man drives an RV and two cats lounge on chairs in the back.

Where to Put a Litter Box in an RV

One of the biggest hesitations for those thinking of traveling in an RV with cats is the litter box. Thousands of cat owners before you have faced this problem and dealt with it. 

One of the most common options for the litter box is to convert a large cabinet. That gives your cat a private space to go to the bathroom. It also keeps the litter box out of sight and (as much as possible) contains the smell. 

Another great spot is the floor of your shower (the shower pan.) This is a perfect idea if your cat is a little messy with their litter. Any that gets out of the box can simply rinse down the drain. 

Finally, some RVers will place the litter box on the floorboard of the passenger seat. This area often goes unused when not traveling, so it’s an efficient location for the box.

You’re certainly not limited to these options, especially if you’re willing to make modifications to your rig. Consider the layout of your RV. You may come up with other out-of-the-way, easy-to-clean spots.

A cat sits in a litter box and looks upset.

Getting Cat Food on the Road

If your cat eats food found at supermarkets, big box stores, or chain pet stores, this should be easy. You’ll rarely be far from one of these options unless you’re spending extended time camping off-grid. Regardless, you should stay stocked up just in case your next destination doesn’t offer your kitty’s favorite flavors.

If your cat has dietary or weight issues, it’s essential to keep a decent reserve of specialty food and stock up when you can. Larger pet store chains may be able to place a special order if you’ll be staying in the area for a while. Online services like Chewy also allow you to upload your prescription and have food shipped either to a local post office or your campground. 

Where to Get Cat Medicine While RVing

All of that advice for special food goes double for medicine when you RV with cats. For shorter trips, check that you have enough medication for the duration. It also can’t hurt to have a little extra just in case you encounter unexpected delays. Get any prescription refills from your vet well in advance of your trip.

For longer-term travel, you can have your medicine shipped to you via services like 1-800-Pet-Meds or Chewy. You’ll still need a prescription, which your hometown vet can fill remotely. If your cat gets care from a nationwide chain like Banfield, you may be able to get your pet’s prescriptions filled at a location near you.  

How to Prepare Your Cat for RV Life

Just like you, your cat will need some time to adjust to their new life in your RV. Help your kitty acclimate by letting them spend a few hours at a time inside the rig while it’s stationary. Work your way up to entire days. By the time you hit the road, your cat will feel right at home. This settling-down period can also allow your cat to discover the new litter box and food locations. Plus, you can do any last-minute cat-proofing before your trip. 

A cat sits with its face in a piece of bread.

How to Make Your Cat Comfortable on Travel Days

While your cat may love their sunny new window ledge, most cats don’t enjoy the driving part of traveling. There are some easy things you can do to help make travel days a little easier on them. 

Instead of roaming free around your moving RV, it may be better for your cat to travel in a carrier. This can keep them safe during the trip and give them a place to hide where they feel comfortable. If your cat has any other hiding spots in your RV that are accessible while driving, make them available. 

Compression vests like the famous Thundershirt can also be an excellent choice for those who want to RV with cats. These work on the same principle as swaddling for humans. It’s a snug, secure wrap that naturally relaxes the body. Your kitty may need a few times to get used to the feeling of wearing one, but compression vests and shirts can work wonders. 

If all else fails, consider a mild sedative for travel days. As with all medication administered to pets, consult with your veterinarian first to avoid potential issues.  

A cat lounges lazily upside down under a blanket.

RV with Cats: Sleeping and Hiding Spots

Cats are creatures of habit. If you’ve ever owned one, you know how they love to curl up in that same spot on the bed or couch. It’s essential to provide these kinds of locations in your RV and make sure they’re easily accessible. 

Watch your kitty at the start of your RV life, and note where they like to sleep and relax. Some cats love to perch on the bunk over your driver’s seat, while others want to crawl into a cabinet. Some love watching people and birds from your windows, while others prefer a bit more privacy. It’s important to learn your cat’s “safe spaces” and do what you can to make them available.   

Protecting RV Furniture from Cat Claws

Unfortunately, it’s hard to explain to kitty why they can’t keep their claws sharp by scratching up your RV’s couch. Your best options if you have a cat who loves to scratch furniture are furniture covers, scratching posts, or both. 

Depending on your furniture and where your cat tends to scratch, your needs will vary. If your cat only scratches a certain area of your couch, you may get away with a partial cover. However, ambitious scratchers may require full protection. 

Scratching posts are also crucial. Give your cat options regarding the type (vertical, flat, etc.) and location (living area, bedroom, etc.). This ensures they always have one close and won’t look to your couch or recliners instead.  

A cat climbs down the side of an RV.

If you’ve been dying to hit the road but were wondering if traveling in an RV with cats was possible, go for it! Time, patience, and some minor modifications can turn just about any RV into a happy home for your kitty. While it may not be suitable for every cat, traveling together can truly be an experience you’ll never forget. Would you travel in your RV with a cat?

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3 comments
  1. We live full time with our cats in a 45ft Newell. Having a space for the litter that wasn’t in the main part of a RV was one of the deciding factors for getting a Newell. We have a mid-entry and cut a dog door into a basement compartment and created a half bath for the cats. They have a heated, air-conditioned, carpeted stairs and fully carpeted compartment for their litter box. When it is time to scoop or change the litter, I can close the cat door and open the compartment on the outside and do what I need to. To ease the transition from sticks n bricks to RV life we made sure they could get into hidey holes, get up high, and see out of all of the windows. We brought everything they were used to into the Newell. It took them a good 3 months to not be scared when the bus starts up. Now they are travel pros.

  2. You didn’t mention the issue with cat claws damaging sofa ‘ultra leather’ cushions. I have not been able to find cushion covers.

  3. I should have been more clear – damage from jumping on and off – not from front claws (our cat has none)

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