They were the best of cats, they were the worst of cats….It all started around 8 years ago when Paul’s mom took in a stray cat in Miami who turned out, as it were, to be pregnant. A few weeks later, out came 8 bouncing fur-balls of joy ready to climb the drapes, experiment with claws and generally get into trouble. We were visiting, and completely suckered-in decided to take 2 of the little ruffians back home to San Francisco. I asked all the kitties who wanted to come on our world travels and Taggart, in a true reflection of her personality came trotting out first. Rand, quite typically even at 6 weeks old, hid in the background, but since we were running late and out of time she got nabbed and added to the bag. So, there we were, 2 kitties in hand, ready to serve a lifetime of slavery to the cats…because as everyone knows…you don’t own a cat, they own you.

As they grew from fluff to medium-fluff and then pint-sized their personalities developed right in-line with their initial types. Taggart was outgoing, social, loved to party and always the center of attention. Rand was sweet, retiring and hated visitors. Together they cuddled and matched each other perfectly.

Eight years later they’re still a big part of our lives and as tight as ever. They’ve commuted between San Jose and San Francisco (for several years), travelled to Hong Kong and back to the US, lived in smog and sunlight, and are now in the RV.

So, how do cats travel? Although creatures of habit, with a little bit of love and aloooot (did you notice the emphasis?) of patience, cats can really adapt to anything. The key is to take it slow and give them lots of familiar comforts.

The Move Itself:

  1. Prepare the RV – create “nooks and crannies” for hiding spots and beds. Cats love height and there’s plenty of cupboard space which is just perfect for this in the RV. We put a cat-bed in the clothes cupboard, and another “den” above our bed. We also have a basic cardboard box (with an entry cut-out) that we put under the covers of the bed during the day. Bring a scratch-pole too and find a good place for the litter (most people use the bath-tub and that’s exactly what we’ve done)
  2. Prepare the cats – lots of stress-relieving stuff before the move. Feliway (sprayed around the cat-bags and RV) and Bach’s Rescue Remedy (rubbed on the ears) work great. A few days of L-theanine before the move can also help. The key to moving with cats is move all your stuff first, and the cats last. So, prepare the place beforehand and then move ‘em in when everything is set-up and ready to receive them.
  3. Keep a routine – once you move in keep the regular feeding, petting etc. routine. Keep-up the Feliway and work in some cat-nip too. Give the cats time to adapt.

While You’re Driving:

  1. Secure the cats – BEFORE moving-in the slides secure the cats. Always, always know where your babies are when you move the slides.
  2. Give them a comfort place – while driving either a cat-bag or a hiding place works best. Our cats have decided under the bed-covers is where they want to be. A little Feliway before driving sprayed on the bed helps to keep things relaxed.

At the Parks

  1. Keep the routine – cats being creatures of habit, keeping the feeding, petting, sleeping routine keeps your furry friends happy
  2. Provide some entertainment – Cats need mental stimulation just like we do, so play-time and walk-time can be great tools. And yes, I did say walk-time. We leash-trained our cats several years back and it turns out they love it. So, everyday crazy cat lady takes them for a walk. Taggart prefers the day-time walks while Rand stalks the night. If you decide to do this buy a proper harness (HDW walking jackets are great), and take your time introducing kitty to the experience.

So, if you’re looking to travel with a little love, a few cat-licks and some purring, bring your furball along for the ride…

Taggart (orange tabby) and Rand (brown tabby) cuddling

Taggart walks the riverbank in Santee, CA

“Dens” for the cats…under the bed (cardboard box), in the cupboard (on the left) and up above the bed

Taggart enjoying an afternoon catnap in the RV

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19 Responses to A Tale of 2 Kitties…or how to travel the road with cats

  1. mark says:

    how are my favourite little felines enjoying their adventures? fancy another 6 (and 2 stinky mutts) to accompany you : )

    • libertatemamo says:

      They’re loving it, the little fur-balls. They’ve become total travel cats…sleep while we move and come out and stretch ready to be walked as soon as we set-up camp. Pain in the butts and our favorite kids at the same time :) Oh, and we’re ready for your stinky mutts anytime! Your move must be getting darn close!
      Nina

  2. libertatemamo says:

    So far so good. They’ve pretty much adapted and looove their daily walks. Taggart is real tight with Polly too (like glue those two). Come join us!

  3. I have just recently discovered your blog and am greatly enjoying your travels and photography. I noticed in some of your desert pictures that one kitty walks along without a leash. How do you do that without him running away?

    • libertatemamo says:

      I started off by keeping them on-leash all the time (and still do if we’re inside an RV park), but I’ve found they tend to stay pretty close to the RV even if I drop the leash. It’s just their style. So, when we’re out boondocking I’ll sometimes just walk around closely w/ them.
      Nina

      • Sue Johnson says:

        They know the rv is home. I lived in an rv for two years with 2 different cats. The first one died unexpectedly of heart attack. It was devastating. Wasnt long before i picked up a stray from a campground. Both cats used to go out off leash when I was in safe and okay places for them. THey never would go far from rv and i allways had my eye on them.

        • libertatemamo says:

          Ours stay pretty close to the RV too. Many days Taggart will just sit and sun herself on the chair outside the rig, although she does like a proper “walk” at least once a day. Rand mostly likes to walk at night.
          Nina

  4. Bob Nuttmann says:

    I am curious about your cats names. Reason being for some reason I just felt compelled to re-read (actually slog is a more accurate description) through “Atlas Shrugged” about a month ago after finishing it about 1975 the last time. I got to watching Ron Paul on You Tube with W.F. Buckley in approx 1988 discussing Ayn Rand. I am not sure why but reading the book again (all 1,100 pages) seemed like the right thing to do. I am currently at about page 875.
    Your cats are obviously named after Ayn Rand and Taggart Railway. Who did that? You or Paul? In addition to the book I just had to get a “who is John Galt” coffee mug and hat, and Taggart Transcontinental hoodie.

    • libertatemamo says:

      It was kinda a joint decision. Paul was the one that originally introduced me to Ayn Rand many years ago and I ended up reading all her books. By the time we got the kitties both of us were fans and decided they would be the perfect names for our 2 females. GOT to get me one of those T-shirts too!
      Nina

  5. Bob Nuttmann says:

    Just a thought, but maybe full time RVing is like what the people who “disappeared” did in Atlas Shrugged. I did not get a Tshirt, but I have been wearing my Taggart Transcontinental sweat shirt all day and had my evening cup of coffee out of a “who is John Galt” mug.
    Camping on Mission Bay, sweet. Hope the fog stays out. I will wave tomorrow when we pass on the way to San Clemente for my daughter’s baby shower. Really liked your thread on memory foam. I passed it on to my wife who buys these things. We have two toppers, but ours are sort of “egg-crate” topped. The one in your thread looks much more professional. We roll ours up and store in the basement.

  6. Julee Meltzer says:

    Do you travel with your Dog? Here is a new Facebook group which is dedicated to Camping and RVing with Dogs. Please join us!

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/RVingwithDogs/

    • libertatemamo says:

      Julee,
      Yup we travel w/ pooch (plus the 2 cats)….all 12 paws in the RV. Cheers for the link on Facebook. I’ll check it out!
      Nina

  7. Diane Morissette says:

    Thank you for providing so many useful tips. My husband and I and two 4-year old cats are planning to full time beginning a year from now. Our cats freak out wih change and have only been outside once to go to the vet. The last time I tried to catch one and stuff her into the cat carrier, she won and we didn’t go. It took nearly a week for her to trust me again. I must admit, bringing the two cats is the number one thing on my list that I worry about when I think about going full-timing. I will try all of your tips when the time comes. One question . . . I’m wondering if you have to lease-train a cat when they’re a kitty. Our cats haven’t had so much as a collar on them, so I’m not sure cat-walking is in our future, though I would like it to be thanks to the health benefits. Reassurance and more tips are most appreciated! Thanks again.
    Diane

    • libertatemamo says:

      Hi Diane,

      Glad I could give you some tips. One of our cats (Rand) is a reaaaal stress-cat. In fact she has a stress-sensitive medical condition (cystitis) that I was terribly worried about before we went fulltiming. The fact that SHE adapted gives me hope that just about any cat can adapt. If your cats are really skittish definitely take it SLOOOW. I would spend as much time as you can living in the RV on solid (non-moving) ground before you move it. Then when you DO move try and see if you can keep it to short, short trips the first times around and use plenty of calmers (Feliway, Bach’s Rescue Remedy). We did about 8-10 week-end stays in our RV (on solid ground) before we started moving. Also when we first moved-in we stayed 2 months at a local park. This allowed the cats to adapt and see the RV as their home and find their “spots” before we got on the road. Our cats did freak out the first few trips, but they did calm down after a while too. So, just be patient.

      As for leash-training we trained our cats when they were older (around 4 or 5) and they had never had a leash or collar on before. So it CAN be done. Again, it takes lots of patience and the first time you put that collar on your cat will look like she’s dying. Start slow with the collar on only a few mins at a time, and associate the outside with the collar as soon as you can (so, when the collar goes on, the kitty goes outside). Also start off in really quiet area, perhaps even at night (if your cat is more comfortable at night). Then work from there. It took about a month to train our kitties completely, but they LOVE it now.

      Nina

  8. Devon says:

    Loved the advice thank you! We are leaving for our full-time adventures next spring with our two cats and robodog (he is handicapped) we have been stressing about how to help the big cat adapt to life on the road as he is stubborn as all heck, can’t even change his food without a fit being thrown.
    They really do control us eh :)

    Love your blog, read about your experience on Antelope island and went there the end of last summer… AMAZING! And was just back this past week on a solo road trip. :)

    • libertatemamo says:

      So glad you enjoyed Antelope Island!

      I do believe living in the RV (while it was stationary) before we travelled was really key for our cats. We moved all their favorite stuff over there (beds, scratching pole etc.) and then just lived there for a month or so before we ever moved. This really helped the cats to establish their “spots”. Good luck with everything!

      Nina

  9. Megan says:

    Thanks for this post! My fiance and I will be moving into our trailer full-time in September with our two cats and our mini pig. It is going to be a full house, but we couldn’t be more excited. These tips are definitely helpful for making our kitties feel at home once we move.

  10. Charlene says:

    Found your website today and really enjoying it! Thank you! My husband and I are educating ourselves on RV living and your information has been very helpful. Went right to the kitty section! Did you do any RVing or trailer camping before this? We have not, but want to travel, love the great outdoors and don’t care for flying. We do a lot of car road trips staying in hotels…ugh! So we’re thinking this is the way to go and would like to make it a living situation. We went to a RV show today and want to start test driving some. Oh boy!

    • libertatemamo says:

      Nice to see you on here! I had actually NEVER been in an RV prior to buying the RV we’re living in now. We’d done some car camping and lots of backpacking, but never RVing. So, we literally bought the RV and jumped right in. Sounds like you guys are similar in spirit, so I say go for it! Just give your kitties time to adapt and you’ll be fine.

      Nina

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