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Old 07-15-2012, 06:14 AM   #1
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1976 31' Sovereign
Westbrook , Maine
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Question worried about having 2 cats in Airstream........

Hi: We just bought a 1976 Sovereign 31' two weeks ago. We plan to make it our own and then next August, or September, making it our permanent home. We have two cats and I am concerned about taking them on the road. I love them dearly, but they are kind of strange cats,
emotionally dependant and timid. The only time they've been in a vehicle is in a cat carrier on the way to the vets office and they cried and howled all the way there and back. Has anyone ever had a cat that just couldn't adjust? Maybe had motion sickness? Escaped never to be found again?
Am I just being overly worried? Thought we might take them with us on a couple of short trips next year, but any positive or negative feedback would be appreciated. Thank you

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Old 07-15-2012, 10:32 AM   #2
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I would recommend taking the cats out to the trailer and letting them
explore. Plan on spending some time either reading or doing chores in the
airstream. Do this a few weeks before you plan on leaving and then maybe
they will be acclimated to the trailer. I have a bulldog and a cat in our
full time and the do great. In fact the dog loves "camping" in the trailer.
They used to fight but now in the close quarters they have become
buddies. Animals can be funny.

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Old 07-15-2012, 12:58 PM   #3
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I'd love to Sylva, our sweet cat, camping in the AS with us. My wife thinks she will become disoriented and run away, never to be found again. How can I overcome these objections? Secondly, where to put the cat box?
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Old 07-15-2012, 01:13 PM   #4
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My dog had car sickness, and to acclimate her to the car I started taking her for very short rides every day, like to the mailbox and back. When she could handle that after a week or so we made the ride a little longer. After a month or so she was riding like a champ. Of course lots of treats and happy talk was included. Taking a slow approach like that might work for your cats, especially if their only car rides have been to the vet.

I've seen lots of traveling cats, and they seem to enjoy it once they get used to it. It's nice you have lots of time before you plan to hit the road so you can start training them now.

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Old 07-15-2012, 01:25 PM   #5
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We have been traveling with two to three cats for years. As suggested above, we take a new cat out to the storage yard several times and give them a couple of hours at a time to get used to the trailer. The cats seem to love being in the trailer and get along better than at home.

All cats are microchipped and wear harnesses with the yellow microchip tag and their rabies tag. We carry their inoculation records with us, although we have never been asked for them.

When under way, two cats ride in carriers in the back seat of the truck. They sleep most of the time. The third cat rides on the console between us. She knows not to bother me or get under my feet. She is 9 years old and has been traveling since she was a couple of months old.

In our previous trailer, the litter box was in the shower. Our present trailer has the walk-through bathroom and there is plenty of room for the litter box. A friend removed a drawer from under their bed and put their litter box in there.

Two of the cats will walk willingly on a leash. We even let one run free in quiet locations; she never gets more than a few feet from us.
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Old 07-15-2012, 02:11 PM   #6
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EDIT: I knew I'd posted this before... Training Cats to Travel is a great thread a while back, link is to my post there .

We often forget that cats anxiety levels peak in bright light - when they are in our homes' comfort zone they are also in our time zones with artificial lighting so thats what we are familiar with. SO..... desensitize your feline to strange surroundings during twilight hours.

Want your kitty to be more relaxed take it in stages. A harness is a whole new game that some cats tolerate but others need help with. Whatever it takes, hair brushing, wrestling, grooming, bath, favorite foods - anything to distract the cat from over-thinking wearing the harness. Our poor feral female used to simply fall over sideways when the harness went on - it took putting it on when she got out of a bath so it was on while she was toweled down and drying out that she learned to ignore it.

First night take them out to the tow-vehicle and/or trailer area after sunset, let them explore the area around them as dusk sets in. That's it - they just 'have' to know there's no monsters under the trailer & its their turf. blah blah. Repeat a couple of nights in a row, treats and grooming and quiet time follow.

Then move it inside. Think quiet time in the TV and trailer. After a couple of nights maybe turn the ignition on for the bells and strange noises. We think nothing of it but starting the engine, and/or shifting a car from park to reverse or drive is the same as waking up a beast they've crept on accidentally.

Anyhow - when they have learned its a new activity they're the guest of honor by being included in, having picnics, people eating and relaxing, cat treats available, water available, out in the trailer for 30 minutes of quality time and back to the security of their home finishes the training until you're on the road.

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Old 07-15-2012, 03:18 PM   #7
Don't forget your cat nap
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There are a lot of good ideas here already. We travel with two cats. One is a fraidy cat, but he settles down quickly. He follows the lead of the older more self assured cat. I think it is his stepmother. She pretty much adopted him when he was a kitten. One ritual we have is every night after dinner, they each get a helping of canned tuna. cats love routine, so as much as possible, establish one. Daisy, the older cat likes her vacations so much that when she senses that we are getting ready to go somewhere, she hangs out in or near the trailer anytime we let her out. It is even more important than hunting for mice.

Since there are only two of us, we keep the covered littler box against the wall under the dinette. We also have 3 or 4 scratching posts in different places One doubles a a platform for them to look out the window. If the weather permits it, we crack open a window so they can smell the scents from outside. They love that after dark. If they scratch on some place other than the posts, we cover that place with double sided scotch tape for a while. Daisy loves to put on a leash and harness and explore the campsite. I let her lead. Tiger however spends the whole time trying to get back into the trailer, so we let him watch out the window.

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Old 10-18-2012, 08:39 AM   #8
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Our cat travels well even though she is shy and timid. This might make her travel better. She never goes outside at the house, so I don't consider her an escape risk. She acts normal as long as we are in the trailer, but when we leave she gets under the cover on the bed and stays there until we return. Maybe she's not quite used to her surroundings yet.

Once when the air conditioning in the house quit working I plugged in the trailer in the back yard and me and my cat hung out in the trailer. That incident also served to get her used to the trailer for travel. We are heading out on a trip next Tuesday with the camping kitty.

We will put the litter box in the bathroom on the floor in front of the sink by the bedroom wall. The food and water will most likely go under the dinette or in the big open area by the couch. Our other trailer had a shower curtain so we put all her apparatus in the shower.

Our cat has some silly riding habits. She sticks her face in the air vents. I've seen dogs do this, too. She looks out the window like a dog. she sometimes hangs out under the back seat, sometimes on the back seat. Sometimes she will ride in my lap or on the center console. She rode on the dash one time. That was funny.
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Old 10-18-2012, 09:53 AM   #9
Don't forget your cat nap
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Kougar's great adventure

I thought I would share a story about out cat Kougar (he can't spell).
We at one time had 6 cats. The total has dwindled over the the last few years, because things just don't live forever. Our two younger cats, Daisy and Tiger, have been going in the trailer with us for the all their lives. However our senior cats have always remained home with pet sitters visiting them twice a day. However when Ember past away at age 20, that left Kougar as our only remaining senior cat. We believe he is 19. He is having kidney issues, so we give him subcutaneous fluids every evening. He is also and always has been very attention needy. We just did not think he would do well for 10 days with companionship only twice daily. We thought about making Daisy and Tiger stay home with him, but didn't think that would do that much good. So we decided to take Kougar on his first ever vacation. He has never even been in the car before except for a ride to the vet. So we'll all piled into the truck with the trailer in tow and set off for a 10 day trip to southern California. I was a little concerned that we had made a mistake, because Kougar was not acting well for the first 24 hours. However after that, he took to it like a veteran. He complained about bumpy roads, but outside of that, you would think he'd been traveling all his life. So were all back home now and Kougar is actually doing better than he was before. Perhaps he just needed a vacation.

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Old 11-17-2012, 09:29 PM   #10
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We travel with 2 cats. While towing they ride in the truck. We have the quad cab Dodge with the rear seats that make a flat floor. We have made a second floor with a carrier and box on each side with a litter box in the middle. By having the plywood on top it gives the cats more moving around room. On cat likes to stay in her carrier with the door open. The 2nd cat likes to ride on the console between the front sets. They are excellent travelers. Our current Airstream (25' FB) was purchased especially for our cats. At the end of the bed we took out the 2 storage boxes and replaced them with 2 litter boxes. The arrangement works for us. Anytime our Airstreams leaves the house our cats are with us. They like it that way and so do we. In the past 5 years we have seen more RV'ers traveling with cats.
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Old 11-18-2012, 11:06 AM   #11
Don't forget your cat nap
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Originally Posted by gaylejoe View Post
We travel with 2 cats. While towing they ride in the truck. We have the quad cab Dodge with the rear seats that make a flat floor. We have made a second floor with a carrier and box on each side with a litter box in the middle. By having the plywood on top it gives the cats more moving around room. On cat likes to stay in her carrier with the door open. The 2nd cat likes to ride on the console between the front sets. They are excellent travelers. Our current Airstream (25' FB) was purchased especially for our cats. At the end of the bed we took out the 2 storage boxes and replaced them with 2 litter boxes. The arrangement works for us. Anytime our Airstreams leaves the house our cats are with us. They like it that way and so do we. In the past 5 years we have seen more RV'ers traveling with cats.
Since we also have a Ram quad cab, I would like the hear more about your back seat set up. We have tried a couple different configurations.

Usually we fold up the wider right side seat and fold out the underneath platform. . We leave the left side seat down and cover it with a blanket.
The last trip we left both seats down and covered.

What supports the plywood platform?

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Old 11-18-2012, 12:31 PM   #12
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We saw more cats on our last 2 trips. Most were at the end of a leash trying to get away, so they didn't seem too happy. I have sympathy for them because if I were on a leash, I'd tried to get away too. Listening to an unhappy cat who has learned how to "meow" often and loudly makes me wonder why those cats are tolerated by their chattels (a "chattel" means the cat's personal property, something we call in human language "owners"). We have a cat who has lived outside most of his life, though he likes it inside more as he gets older and doesn't like winter as much. "Meow" is not the word for the sounds he makes when he wants something—it is more like a baby being slowly tortured. The volume of sound is unbelievable.

I have observed many cats over the years and they are always on the wrong side of the door unless raised inside all of their lives. None of them liked traveling, but a blanket over the carrying cage quiets them down for a trip to the vet. I don't understand that, but sure am glad about it. Getting them in the cage is difficult and proves they are a lot stronger than they look. They are very territorial and traveling must make them very uncomfortable.

So, I am amazed anyone can bring a cat or two on a trip. If I had to listen to our cat locked together inside an RV, I would be driven to catricide if I could catch him. Cats often place themselves where they can defend themselves from attack. A primary motivation seems to be defense and assumption their world is very dangerous. I know if he were bigger, he would eat me.

It seems to me training a cat requires letting the cat know you are prepared to outlast him. They are very conscious that size matters, so that is your only advantage. Ear plugs also help. I would keep him inside because I figure he'd realize after a few days he lost that battle, but Barb always opens the door for him. When we are away a neighbor comes over every two days and gives him fresh food and water. He thinks he is king of our property and never seems to go off the land. You can tell our property because there are very few bunnies and rodents. There are a lot of cats in the area that look similar and every several years we see one squashed on the road and I have had to stop and make sure it is not ours.

The day we move will be interesting trying to catch the cat and bring him to a new place. Then, because he will not have 37 acres to rule over, keeping him inside will be a clash of wills. Barb will open the door. She can talk to the new neighbor who doesn't like cats. When outside, he follows her around like a dog, but when he sees me he runs away. I think he wants me to chase him and play, or maybe he just wants to humiliate me when I can't get under the deck or climb up to one of his hiding places in the woodshed. He doesn't like men and I suppose that the fact he will sit beside me shows he doesn't hate me, just is very, very careful. He won't get anywhere near other men. The way they play (maybe torture is a better word) with prey they have caught teaches me not to feed them Cat Growth Hormone. Imagine if that cuddly little house cat grew to 200 lbs. and what he would do.

It is relatively easy to train a dog. They run in packs naturally and you can get them to accept you are the A dog in your pack. Cats are solitary by nature, but will adapt to reality eventually so long as they believe they are dominant. You can't fool a cat easily, so you have to work out a co-dominance peace pact and make sure to feed them whenever they want. Food goes a long way with a cat.

They are very different animals and very interesting to observe. They've been bred for thousands of years to live with humans, but their basic nature seems not to have changed much.

Not being a cat person, I wonder how I end up with cats in my life—almost half of my adult years. I've had dogs too. Cats easily train dogs and humans.

So to get back to the OP, some cats adapt easily and others don't. You won't know until you try it. There are books explaining cat personalities and how to train them; get one. You have to accept their approach to the world is different than ours and once you understand how they think, you have a chance to train them. If you try to train them as if they were human, you will have a very hard time. The howling can drive anyone insane, but there seems to be a limit to how long they will howl. A big towel or blanket over the cage usually stops the howling. I don't know if they will run away—cats don't always do what you expect. If they've been with you a long time, don't understand the outside world very well, they are more likely to return, but it may take a while. They are very fast and good at escaping and you have to assume they will try. They may not like what they experience on the other side of the door, but they want to be able to see it for themselves. Vets have motion sickness pills if a cat needs them, but first you have to find out if they get sick. Cats do not like being contained or new places—it is very much a safety thing to them—so training them to a cage or a vehicle takes time. Leave it in the living room, put their food in it and hope they get to like it. Cats do not like change and you have to change their living space slowly. I think taking them to the tow vehicle and RV for a while to get them familiar with it (bring food) in longer and longer periods would help. I wouldn't want to have a loose cat in a motor vehicle. The one time they decide to look; under the brake pedal just to see what's there, is one time too many.

My wife tried briefly to train the cat to a harness and never got very far with that, but you have to be more stubborn than the cat. The leash never got tried. If he doesn't like what we do, he avoids us for days. A trip to the vet is not a good experience for any of us. I haven't been able to train my wife either. Hopefully, you have an easier time. Spouses have to agree on how to train a cat or it just doesn't get done.

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Old 11-18-2012, 01:42 PM   #13
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C'mon Gene, don't write about cats if you're not a cat person.

Brissy has been traveling much of her life, mostly by sailboat. She now has her own land yacht and is doing just fine. She goes everywhere on her leash.

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Old 11-18-2012, 01:46 PM   #14
Don't forget your cat nap
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It is a matter of, "You have to be smarter than the cat."

That was a lot of writing just to prove you haven't mastered that yet.


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