Can You Live In An RV With Cats? [14 Helpful Tips]

Are you thinking about going full-time in an RV or even a regular camping trip but you don’t want to leave your cats behind? The great thing about owning an RV is that you don’t have to leave your beloved pets behind.

You can absolutely live in an RV with cats, they adapt really well to life on the road, whether that’s full time or just for a camping trip. It’s a good idea to take your cat on a few shorter trips in your RV to get them used to it before going full time.

There are some tips that will make life a bit easier for you and your feline friend, I will detail them below.

Live in an RV with cats

Tips for Living in an RV With Your Cat

1. Acclimatize Your Cat to Its New Home

Before you take off forever in your RV with your cat, it’s a good idea to let your cat get used to it first with some practice runs.

Your cat will be nervous the first time, as they usually are when going somewhere new, this is normal. 

The best way to get your cat used to live in an RV is to just let them explore it a few times whilst it’s still in your drive or stationary. Once they seem to be getting familiar with it, go for a short drive, gradually increase the drive until they are familiar and comfortable with being in the RV for a few hours at a time.

Once you have done this for a few weeks, your cat will be familiar with the smells and experience of being in the RV. Try a one-night camping trip, make sure that you spend plenty of time with your cat so they will think that it’s just another home.

Depending on the nature of your cat it may take a few weeks to build up their confidence or they could enjoy it straight away. Just remember to be patient if you force your cat to stay for too long in the RV you could do more harm than good.

2. Give Them Their Own Comfy Place

One of the best ways to keep your cat comfortable is to give them their own space. It’s a good idea to make this space hidden away at first because when cats are anxious they hide. Find a cozy tucked-away corner, under a table or bed to place their things.

Because cats are creatures of habit and get a feeling of their surroundings by using their nose, take their favorite bed and toys and place them in their spot. This way they will have something familiar to gravitate to and it will make them feel more comfortable having their own things in their own space.

If you can’t find any hiding spots, try a storage cabinet in the bedroom or kitchen. Make sure that the door can’t accidentally shut and lock them in though.

Once your cat feels more at home you can move their bed to a more convenient location, or near a window so your cat can see their surroundings.

3. Give Your Cat Places To Hide 

Like I mentioned above when cats are stressed they like to hide. When you are first getting your cat used to the RV give them plenty of places where they can hide safely.

Open cabinets, under the couch or bed, or an enclosed cat bed will all work and give your cat somewhere safe and quiet to destress.

Give your cat plenty of time to come out on their own accord and don’t force them. It can take some time so just be patient.

5. Have Your Route Mapped Out

For cats, the worst bit of RVing is when you are on the road. Cats are known to generally hate car rides.

I know RV journeys will be more comfortable for your cat but they are still not fans of the journey part. Even if they are used to it.

To make the trip as painless as possible make sure that you have your route mapped out in advance, to reduce time on the road.

Take shorter trips in the beginning. If your cat doesn’t mind being in a carrier, then you can safely position the carrier somewhere comfortable whilst you’re moving. If your cat is anything like mine it is probably more stressful for both of you to get them into a carrier, so just make sure they have a safe space to hide.

Live in an RV with cats

5. Get a Closed Litter Box 

Unfortunately, if you want to live with your cat in an RV you’re going to have to have a litter box that takes up precious floor space. 

In such a small space you will want to make sure that you get a covered litter box to help trap the smells. You can also try to build one into the RV if you have a cabinet on the floor. 

You will also want to make sure that it is secured down and won’t move. You don’t want to emergency brake and have a cat turd fly into your windscreen.

Luckily you can fix the litter box in place pretty well with heavy duty velcro, this means that you can unstick it when you want to empty it.

Keep the litter box clean or the smell of cat urine will quickly permeate through the RV and get into every textile you have. You will also want to invest in a high quality cat litter that can capture the smells and is easy to clean.

6. Keep Their Food and Water Secure

As well as the litter box, you will want to make sure that their food and water are kept secure so they are not flying around. Either that or make sure they are empty and put away if you are on the road.

When you are on site make sure that fresh water is always available and you keep the feeding routine as normal. You can even get an automatic feeder to ensure that the feeding plan stays on track.

7. Get Toys and a Scratching Post

Keep your cat entertained with toys and a scratching post to prevent them from getting stressed or scratching your furniture. 

A scratching post isn’t a guarantee though if your cat is anything like mine it will walk straight past the scratching mat and lay its claws into the couch.

8. Use Rescue Remedy to Help With Their Anxiety

If you’ve tried all the tips in this article but your cat still seems stressed, you can use Rescue Remedy in their water or room spray to help calm your cat. 

This is an all natural solution to help combat animal anxiety so you can naturally calm your cat without sedatives.

Because it’s all natural it’s safe to give as often as needed, you can even dab it onto the cat behind the ears.

9. Always Leave the AC or Heater On When Leaving Your Cat

You will have to be prepared to leave your cat behind when you want to go sightseeing or out to eat. Unlike a dog, you are best leaving your cat in the RV when you can.

However, you need to consider the temperature of the RV when it’s closed. Always leave the AC on when it’s warm outside. And remember to keep the heater on when it’s cold outside.


Also, remember to leave plenty of water for your cat and food (depending on how long you’ll be). Most cats are perfectly happy to be left alone, provided you make it comfortable for them.

Live in an RV with cats

10. Have an Emergency Plan

Unfortunately emergencies can and will happen, so it always helps if you are prepared. Especially if you are living with your cats in an RV, inevitably you will need to take a trip to the vets.

Take note of the nearest vets and make a copy of the number for every location you visit. The unexpected can happen at any time and when it does you’ll want easy access to the nearest vets.

Register your cat at a chain veterinary clinic like Banfield Pet Hospital, these chains are dotted around the US so you should be close to one. Because they are one company they can easily share the veterinary records between the clinics, which makes your life easier.

However, always make sure that you have your cat’s vet and vaccination records in hand, especially if you are crossing borders. You will have to show that your cat has had all the necessary vaccines like rabies.

11. Never Keep Then In A Trailer Whilst Travelling

It’s not safe to have anyone (including pets) in a trailer whilst towing, just don’t do it no matter how hard it is to get your cat into its carrier.

Trailers can bounce around quite a bit whilst on the move and it will be distressing to your cat, especially if it knows you’re not there.

12. Attach a Tracker to Your Cats Collar

When traveling around so much it’s inevitable that your cat is going to escape the comforts of your RV at some point. For peace of mind attach a tracker to their collar.

As you don’t have a set base, it’ll be difficult for your cat to find their way back. A small Bluetooth tracker will help you find them when they get lost.

13. Rethink Food Quantity

You might want to rethink how much food you are feeding your cat, especially if they were an outdoor cat. Their physical activity will reduce whilst living in an RV so you don’t want to be overfeeding them.

It’s important to keep the same type of food though, as changing the diet can be a stressor for your cat.

14. Get a Cat Harness

To help combat the lack of physical activity you can get a harness and go for a walk with your cat.

This does depend on your cat though, as cat owners we know how finicky they can be. Some cats will love getting outside whilst others will freak out and not like it at all. But it’s worth a go.

Live in an RV with Cats Final Thoughts

You can definitely live in an RV with your cat, it’s a great way to bond and fantastic company. Just be sure to follow the tips to make it easier for both of you.

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