Pet Travel. Made Easy.

Introducing Your Cat to RV Travel

When we retired, we knew we wanted to travel. But we kept hitting a road block – what about our sweet cat Rosie? We didn’t want to leave her behind while we jetted off to some exotic destination! Deciding on an RV lifestyle and introducing a cat to RV travel was easier than we imagined!

Cat with a collar and leash sitting in a carrier with man crouching behind introducing the cat to RV travel

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How We Travel Full Time with Our Cat

We spent a couple of years researching and planning how we would live our lives when we retired. Travel was always part of the plan, but we couldn’t imagine leaving our sweet Rosie behind. Enter the RV lifestyle!

We could travel the continent in the comfort of our own home, change our location whenever the urge took us, eat healthy home cooked meals and, best of all, take Rosie with us.

There are many different types of RV’s to consider, and purging all of your belongings down to fit in the RV of your choice is not an easy thing to do. But it was the avenue to adventure that seemed to fit us best! And so we set about introducing our cat to RV travel.

Rosie the cat outdoors on a leash as she acclimates to RV travel

Cats Enjoy The Outdoors, Too

When we lived in a house, Rosie enjoyed exploring outside when we could watch her. We wanted to encourage that type of adventure on the road, but we also needed to keep her safe. There were too many scenarios where she could get lost or meet critters that could hurt her, like rattlesnakes.

We tried several harnesses but they had thin straps and she squirmed out. Then we discovered the Cat Walking Jacket. It is substantial enough that she has a very hard time wiggling out of it once it is snugly fitted to her body.

READ MORE ⇒   Choosing the Best Cat Harness

We also wanted a leash with some forgiveness. When using a normal six foot leash, if she got scared and bolted, she hit the end of the leash abruptly, and got even more scared. We found a bungee-style leash that allows for a softer landing when she got startled.

Rosie the cat outdoors on a leash as she acclimates to RV travel Hans walking Rosie the cat on a leash in a pet friendly campground while they travel in an RV

Introducing A Cat to RV Travel

Cats can be easily leash trained as kittens, but an adult cat is much more cautious. Over time, Rosie’s confidence has grown on the harness and leash. And it took us eight months to learn that we don’t walk Rosie. She walks us.

Rosie prefers sticking close to protective objects such as vehicles or bushes, as opposed to wide open spaces. Walking her requires a lot of patience, because she frequently stops to observe things for a while. I’ve come to see it as a meditative experience, moving slowly along and inspecting everything closely!


Our RV is a 5th wheel trailer which we pull with our truck. On travel days, I take Rosie outside for a walk before we leave because it works off some of her energy and makes for a calmer kitty during the ride.

Rosie rides in the truck with us and usually meows a little at the beginning of the ride. She wears her harness and we keep the leash handy so we can snap it on before we open the doors and she has a chance to scoot out.

Her cat carrier is also in the truck with us, just in case of emergencies. I ride with a cat bed on my lap and she lays there most of the time.

Rosie the traveling cat riding in the truck and acclimating to RV travel
Making the RV Cat Friendly

One of the biggest challenges to RVing with a cat is where to put the litter box! Some RVers put it in the shower; some designate a cabinet for the box and cut a hole in the door. It could go in a corner of the bedroom or in the closet.

We were fortunate that our RV had enough room between the two recliners for a litter box cabinet. Multi-purpose functionality wins every time in a small living space!

Rosie the cat with her litter box cabinet traveling in an RV

We also struggled to keep Rosie from shredding the furniture in the RV. Everyone knows cats love to scratch, but double-sided anti-scratching tape kept Rosie from scratching in inappropriate places. You can see on the chairs in the photo above.

Giving her a small scratching platform and creating a cat scratching wall by stapling a small rug to the end of a kitchen cabinet gave Rosie plenty of space to work her claws.

Successfully Traveling with a Cat

Living and traveling in an RV with a cat took some planning and ingenuity, but every bit of effort has paid off. We are all enjoying this lifestyle in the comfort of our own home on wheels. Living the life of our dreams and sharing it with our best buddy, Rosie – what could be better than that?!

READ MORE ⇒  Tips for Traveling Cross-Country with Pets


About the Author: Lisa McGuire travels full time in an RV with her husband, Hans, and cat, Rosie; blogging about their adventures at Metamorphosis Road

Guest Posts on We love sharing stories from people having fun traveling with their pets! And reading your pet travel experiences may be just the nudge someone else needs to pack up and head out with their own best friend. If you’re interested in writing a guest post for Take Paws, let us know!


Gear Used in This Post:
(Affiliate Links)

Cat Walking Jacket

Bungee-style Leash

Mobile Cat Carrier and Bed

Litter Box Cabinet

Anti-scratching Tape

Small Cat Scratching Platform

See all the gear we use to make traveling with our pets easier, safer, and more fun!



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  • I’m sorry your first trip out was a rough one, Karen. I’m glad your finding these suggestions helpful and I wish you all the best of luck!

  • Just returned home from our first cat training mission with my 2 rescued kitties, 4 and 5 years old. They hated traveling and cried constantly for over 2 hours! Find your suggestions very helpful and encouraging as we want to take them along for months at a time. Need to solve the scratching problem and litter flying all over the place. Will try your remedies. Thank you, Karen

  • Hi Stephen. I agree that you may have a challenging case on your hands. My advice is to help her acclimate very slowly to the new living arrangement. Start by getting her used to a carrier, because you’re going to need one to get her from the trailer to the truck while you’re driving and then back again. Get something comfortable, put it in a room in your house where she can get accustomed to seeing it, drop a few treats in when you walk by, and help her understand it’s a good thing. Break the process down into baby steps, and work on each one until she’s comfortable. Eventually, take a short car trips and then start extending the length of your drives. A 20-foot trailer is pleny of room for a cat. When we started out Rod, Ty, Buster, and I all lived in a 24-foot motorhome. And I’d get a pet temperature monitor to alert you if there’s a problem when you’re not there.It’s going to take some patience, but you’ve had her for 10 years – it’s worth a shot to see if she can be a great travel buddy. Good luck!

  • Hi Michael! If you do a search for “RV catio” (patio for cats) you’ll find loads of pictures of the ways people are giving their cats access to the outdoors. As far as I can tell, these have been customized by the RV owners to fit their rigs and there doesn’t seem to be a place to order them online. However, spend a little time on YouTube and I think you’ll have all the information you’ll need to manage this project yourself! Good luck, and safe travels!

  • I have a 12 yr old rescue cat (I have had her 10 yrs). Front declaw, doesn’t like car rides or walking on grass (eating grass from sidewalk is OK). My worries are 1. might be very stressful 2. trailer heat when traveling 3. in 20 foot trailer will it be enough room. She is not crate trained and hurls when stressed. Only other option is to give her away to a home based person. Ideas?

  • Michael West says:

    I’ve heard about them but have never seen the cages that could be hung on a motorhome window so that a cat can safely get some fresh air. Anyone have a name or website I can find one?

  • Judy Eddy That’s fantastic, Judy – happy travels to you all!

  • Judy Eddy says: A van is great when traveling with cats! We moved 8 in our 150 Ford Van. We put one of there kitty condos in the van and they were happy!

  • Cristina LoCelso Would it be possible for some of your pets to share a crate? Also, you could look into smaller carriers – those made by Sleepypod get 5-star crash test ratings and don’t take up as much space as a crate. Finally, you could take a look at customizing the vehicle to accommodate the crates by stacking them. You might be able to get as many as six in the cargo area of a decent-sized RV if they’re arranged carefully. This post from a couple who travels with six Huskies might give you some inspiration:…/17/setting-new-herd-s-rv/ If there’s anything else I can do to help, let me know!

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