Terry
Can I Vanabode with my cat? I am single.
- Happy travels -
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journeyman

See some of my traveling with an animal pictures and facts - follow the links that interest you. This is when we started out with our Bugsy the rabbit in the motorhome. Same fun in the van only smaller. Since rabbits like to hole up in small cubby holes anyway naturally, we don't think he ever got uncomfortable. He Vanabode camped wth us for the last 3 years (previous 7 in a motorhome) and traveled over 70,000 miles total.

Note that some national parks do not allow animals entry. Some remote places could be dangerous if you leave your animal in the van while you go hiking or walk somewhere because bears are tempted to break in for any kind of food they can smell.

I would highly recommend you simply just try it. See what problems you run in to, address the litter box issues, smells, room, and the over all happiness of the pet. Then make your final decision on whether it makes sense for you or not.

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CuriousTraveler
I would love to hear from Vanaboders who have successfully traveled with pets.  I have two cats that I will bring with me and I want to be sure they are safe and comfortable.  If you have experience to share, please let us know about how to assure they are cool/warm enough wherever we go; ideas for safety if left alone in the van while we are absent for several hours; camping in areas with bears or other wildlife that could endanger them while in the van or outside with us; crossing state lines with pets (I know about health certification by state); and any other safety or comfort issues you know about.

I've carefully read the Vadabode book, so I know everything mentioned in there.  I'm just trying to get as much information as I can from experienced travelers.
Sherry
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jasonodom
Install the roof vent if leaving the cats in the vehicle for long so some knucklehead does not accuse you of animal cruelty with windows up. Also some of these discussions cover animals - http://www.vanabode.com/camp/travel-camping-help.htm see last category
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CuriousTraveler
Thanks, Jason.  You give amazingly prompt answers, so thanks for such good support!  I've carefully read the Vadabode book, and I have a very good memory, so I know everything you've mentioned in there.  I promise not to ask questions that are answered in the text. 

When I post here, I will have all your good information in mind, and will have followed all the links you list.  You have enough to do without constantly answering the same questions.

I'm hoping some of the other experienced Vanabode travelers will share their experiences.  After reading all the forum topics that apply to my situation, I find mostly questions from your customers and very little advice based on actual travel. 

Vanaboders:  Will you please share your experience with us newbies?
Sherry
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tangledtree
I am also considering travel with a cat so let me know how it goes.
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CuriousTraveler
I'll be glad to share my experiences once I get on the road.  For now, I'm training both of them to enjoy riding (or hate it less) by gradually introducing them to the camper while parked, with the engine running, on short trips around the neighborhood (with frequent stops to calm them down), then gradually increasing the length of the trip. 

At the same time, I'm training them indoors to walk on a leash.  As kittens I trained them to come when called by name, to "stay," "get down," "wait," and "lie down."  If your cat doesn't already have some training, start now with the two most important--"stay," and come when called. 

My main fear in traveling with them is an accidental escape.  They are indoor-only cats and would be scared and go into hiding and be difficult to locate.  Before leaving on the trip I will buy them both locator tags that I can use with my smart phone to help find them if that happens.

I will also take them camping for a few nights nearby once I get the camper ready.  That way, I can find out what I might have forgotten for their comfort and safety, and make sure everything is working in my camper. 

As soon as my house goes on the market, we'll leave for a longer trip and not return until the house is sold and ready for the closing.  After that we become full-time RV travelers.

There is a good Facebook forum you might want to join with experienced pet-owning RVers who can answer your questions also:  Camping and RVing with Pets.

Happy travels,
Sherry
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tangledtree
My situation is this.  A stray cat has adopted me and she is VERY purrrrsistant.  I keep telling her that I won't be here in a few months but apparently she doesn't speak English.  I don't know how well she would adapt to living in a Nissan Cube, but she is a very laid back cat.  My question is how do we handle bathroom issues?  I don't have room for a litter box in my car, nor can I imagine storing one in there.  If I let her out on a leash to go potty, I wonder how that would work.  I've shopped around and I see there is a kitty leash that has a bungy kind of lead so she can move anyway she wants.  

I'm also concerned about her being eaten by other critters.
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CuriousTraveler
Hi, Theresa.  I love your cat adoption story, and hope you can work it out to take her with you.  It will be difficult, but her companionship will be worth it.  What's her name?

A relative of mine is currently traveling with his 13-pound cat in a pickup truck and sleeping in a tent.  I'll ask him for some advice as time goes on.  He just began his full-time adventure last week.  For now, he travels short enough distances that his cat doesn't need the litter box until the camp is set up.

I will have a litter box for my cats inside my camper.  However, my experience with cats in the past is that they refused to eat, drink, or potty during the entire travel day.  But since I was staying in hotels on the way (never more than one night), they were okay once we got a room.  For my new lifestyle, I'm training my two cats in advance and hope they'll be comfortable traveling.

However, one of my previous cats was so stressed by even short trips that she would always have diarrhea and sometimes vomit.  I kept her in a cage or carrier with a potty-pad (and kept cleanup supplies and extra pads at the ready).  So you should probably be prepared for that possibility.

Nature will take its course eventually and your cat will potty outdoors, but you'll both be happier if she learns before the trip.  You might be lucky and she'll immediately teach herself as one of mine did when I first started taking her outside after many years of indoor-only life.  Since she adopted you, I assume she was outside for some time before you took her in, so she probably only needs to be reminded of what to do.

Here are two resources to check out.  They will show you how to train her to potty outside while you're still at home, and you can extrapolate that to your travel situation.

1.  A WikiHow article on the subject: http://www.wikihow.com/Get-a-Litter-Trained-Cat-to-%22Go%22-Outside

2.  A YouTube video with some similar training tips: 


This blog relates to traveling with cats in an RV, but has some helpful hints also:  http://wheelingit.us/2014/09/22/5-tips-to-rving-camping-with-cats/


I'm basing my advice below on having trained and lived with cats for decades.  But I don't have much experience traveling with them.  I will keep a running log of my efforts, successes, and failures while training mine for travel, and will be glad to share that if you wish.  However, you might want to follow some blogs or Facebook pages about traveling with pets to get advice from experienced pet lovers.

Regarding the outside bathroom training, I recommend that you carry a small amount of her current litter in your car to sprinkle on the place you choose when taking her out. If necessary, keep a small amount of used litter in a ziplok bag to put down so she smells her own scent. Over time, she will probably learn to go without this signal.  She should quickly catch on if you've been doing those things at home.  You'll also have to search for a place that is soft enough for her to dig in, and that won't hurt her paws. Perhaps you should carry a small trowel or collapsible backpacking-size shovel in case you have to prepare a spot for her.  She might be willing to go on grass, but she won't be able to cover it herself, which is an ingrained habit. So sprinkling some litter on top of it will make it easier to clean up.  I recommend, for the sake of the environment, that you pick up after her and dispose of her waste in a tightly closed bag until you get to a trash can.  I don't know the answer to this, but she might be fearful of using a place that is used by dogs, so if you can avoid a place you know is a dog walk in the beginning, that might help.

I share your other concern about safety while outdoors on a leash, and danger from other animals (and avian raptors).  I'm training my cats now to walk on a leash and harness indoors.  I'll be using a walking jacket (like Kitty Holster brand), but I will be making it myself as I don't like the colors, patterns and fabrics I see online. 

For our lifestyle, a collar/leash or regular harness and leash won't be secure enough outdoors.  Cats can easily get out of them.  The walking jacket is not 100% escape proof, but I think it is the best thing on the market.  They can only get out of it if we allow them back up.  Therefore, my opinion is that a long or stretchable leash is not a good idea.  A tight control over a short leash is needed in case they get startled or just irritated and try to escape. We will be taking them out regularly into totally unfamiliar places with new smells, sounds, sights, and dangers.  Over time, they will likely adjust to this lifestyle, but cats don't like change, so it might take months or even years.  And one loud noise or approach from an animal or person could cause them to escape our control in an instant.  We need to be able to pick the cat up if anything startles her (and probably get scratched), but I've done that a few times with my previous cat and managed to calm her until the perceived threat was past. 

That last thought just reminded to start carrying a piece of lightweight fabric and practice getting them used to having it thrown over them in case I need to pick them up quickly.  Having their head covered and them in my arms will calm them quicker. It will be more difficult with two cats, so I'll work on the best way to handle that.

As I mentioned last week, it would help greatly to teach your cat to come when called by name, and to "stay."  I've trained all my cats (including ones I rescued as adults) to do that.  It could save their life some day. 

I teach them their name by calling them by name when I first start feeding them.  Also, reinforce it when offering a treat or just when you see her approaching you.  Once she make the association, start calling her to you from several feet away and from another room.  Although I have two cats, they know their names and come to me separately if I call only one, or together if I call both. In the past, I had three cats, rescued at different ages and years apart, living with me.  Each learned their name and came when called.  The others ignored me if they weren't called at the same time, but all three came if I called three names.  If she sleeps with you or likes to cuddle in your lap, call her whenever she isn't there yet when you settle down.  Use her name in any situation that might help her make the association.  She probably follows you to the bathroom, so you could reinforce the name by calling her if you get there before she does. . .

Also, I started teaching all my cats not to run out an open door as soon as I adopted them.  I started by opening doors inside the house, using a "stop" hand signal and saying "stay."  If they tried to cross the threshold, I pushed them back gently with my foot or picked them up and put them back and repeated "stay."  They all learned very quickly.  Next step is to open an outside door only wide enough for her to see out, but not enough to get her head through.  Have her on a leash at first until she obeys you. Practice the "stay" command until she gets the idea, opening the door wider and wider over time.   Eventually you'll be able, as I do with my two, to open the door wide and leave it open while signing for a delivery or talking to a neighbor.  I just say "stay" before opening the door, and then repeat a few times while talking to the visitor.  They now sit quietly several feet back from the door each time, but don't ignore them--tell your visitor that you have a cat and keep saying "stay" every few minutes.  If you have a garage, you can practice by letting her go into it sometimes, but other times have her "stay."  You can do the same with closets or rooms inside.  My cats love to explore the garage (or any space behind a closed door), so I allow it when I'm home, but not when I have to go out or if it is bedtime.  They obey every time.  To reinforce her name, if you have closed your cat behind a door for practice, call her name a few times before opening the door and give her some petting and/or a treat when she comes out. I still use that reinforcement even though my girls are four years old.  I constantly reinforce their training in hopes that they will respond in an emergency.

This was a very long answer to your questions, so I hope it helped some.

Here is a photo of my two (Phantom on the ledge, Minnow on the floor). They're litter mates, but not twins. Send me a photo of your girl when you have time.

Good luck!


Phantom (top), Minnow (bottom) Exploring the Plants 110912.jpg 
Sherry
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tangledtree
Well, her name is "She who will not be named" [biggrin]  My friend was at the house when she came in and I told him how she is a stray but she is so friendly I wondered if I should name her.  He said, "well you know that if you name a cat it automatically becomes YOUR cat."  I did a take on the name for Lord Voldemort in the Harry Potter books and called her "She who will not be named." We both laughed, but it stuck.  I haven't given her any real cat name.
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carole steinberg
My friend travels in her van w two cats. I have a small Chihuahua and its good. U need to mind the temps mostly. W my Chihuahua i just put her in my purse and take her w me. The cats she lets roam while she is parked. We have been doing this over 2 years and all is good
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cnzhmachinery
I love my pets so much, specially my cute little cat NUNU and i never think to travel without my lovely NUNU....
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