Monday, August 24, 2015

Cat in the RV Hat

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
We live in a moderately sized motorhome most of the year. At the present time we have one cat on board. We love this little furball, but he does cause a lot of anxiety. He also causes a lot of arguments.
I seem to be more attached to him than my husband. He enjoys the cat, but doesn’t enjoy the hassles that come with pet ownership. Our biggest problem is playing “Hide and Go Seek.” Every time we pull up anchor and set sail, the little bugger hides. We spend a lot of time trying to find him so I am assured he hasn’t jumped out. This last time he was wedged under the front dash. This drives my husband nuts because I won’t leave until I know my cat is safe.

Is this asking too much? He gets as much companionship from the cat as I do. I would love to hear your take on our situation. --Cat Calling in Calgary

Dear Cal:
Traveling with pets has its pros and cons. It should be decided upfront if the companionship is worth the effort involved in taking proper care of your animal(s). They can crimp your style if you want to be absent for any length of time. They have to be fed, watered, exercised and cleaned up after. These are all responsibilities that are required if you live in an RV or not. It is obvious that you have already discussed these matters and came to some type of decision because you have a cat on board.

I am an expert on “cat search and rescue” missions. I have been on many in campgrounds all over America. Our last cat was self-taught. She learned how to slide the screen open and jump out. Many times we gave up trying to find her. In a sea of RVs she would always find her way home, climb up the ladder to the roof and cry at the vent. We finally had to tape the screens shut.

Hiding is a cat thing. I think you should just allot time to do a thorough cat scan before traveling. Put it on your departure list. It is no different than waiting for the jacks to go up, or insuring the awning is down. Our cat likes to climb in any cupboard or closet we leave open. So checking to make sure the cat is in sight even if you leave for a short hike will assure you never have a cat-astrophe. (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.)

Pets can add a lot of joy to your life if you have the right attitude toward them. That means both of you. A little give-and-take will solve a lot of small problems that seem more complicated than they are. Our newest cat has never escaped and seems to have no desire to jump out. When they constantly have that urge, they can be much more challenging.

Hiding in the coach is a much easier problem to deal with. Once you know all the usual places it’s as easy as finding a two-year-old.

Let’s not forget the financial pains of pet medical care. We just spent $328 to find out our cat had the “Big C.” Yup, he was Constipated!

--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink


Barbara D said...

A couple of hours before take-off, can you lock him in the shower with his catbox, food and water? Or in a crate? Then you'd know where he is and not have to worry. Also, bells on his collar might help you hear him? Lots of people travel with cats - there must be many answers. You could also put the question on some of the RV forums and see what other cat people do. :)

KB said...

Over our years of RV living/traveling, there has always been "the cat", yellow domestic shorthair - currently Charlituna (Cha-Cha) the 4th as well as Barni the 10 year old Pomeranian. The first Cha-Cha was good at opening doors (then closing them) - 2nd and 3rd ones were both excellent at finding smallest possible hidey holes, including but not limited to high places (with slides in, mere leap from driver seat UP TO the pulled in slide roof area !!) The current "Cha-Cha the 4th" has all kinds of caves and places to get snuggy and sit laughing silently as we go crazy looking-we try to keep easy access to far places blocked and most of the time it works. We love our boys - they seem to be "brothers from another Mother." Barni the Pom does pretty good barking and raising the alarm when Cha-Cha is doing something he should not be doing.

MarvThom said...

I traveled from Alaska with a cat when I retired and moved back to NC. I drove a Class C. Crates were a no-no with this cat, so I made a hiding box out of a small cardboard box cushioned and covered and tucked under the dinette. Getting ready to move was his cue to go hide. Always knew where he would be and he seemed happy.

Anonymous said...

We are currently traveling with cats #3&4. We have a little time with some catnip and a special snack and then to the carrier they go.

Penny said...

Why not just attach a long leash (on of the retractable kind...fully extended) to his harness when you see him before it's time to leave. That way, you'll see the leash (or the end of it) and know he's (should be) at the other end.

Anonymous said...

Our cat loves to hide when she thinks we are getting ready. I found I was spending an hour looking for her every time we were leaving. Now I put her in the bedroom and close the door so she can't get out while we are packing up. We also got a dog cage to put her in while we are driving. She used to cry the whole trip in the carrier and our nerves would be frazzled by the time we arrived at the campground. Now that she has 360 visual she just goes to sleep.

Anonymous said...

Place a "Tile" on the cats collar. You can then use your smart phone to locate it (via Bluetooth) and even have it "ring" so you can hear the location. Look up "Tile" on google. It is a small, just bigger than stamp sized device. I have it on my Key rings and the back of my TV remote. Works fantastic!

Anonymous said...

My husband never had a problem with the cats we have traveled with. Even when one disappeared in a campground. But then I did accidentally leave him in a rest stop once (my husband, not the cat). Perhaps he didn't want any of our pets to have that experience.

Anonymous said...

I got my two used to wearing cat harnesses all the time. Now, a couple hours before traveling; I attach long leashes that allow them to get to everyplace but the drivers area. At first it was a little weird. Now they just curl up in their favorite sleeping place and traveling's a breeze.