How can I live in a van with a cat?

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: How can I live in a van with a cat? We will discuss the pros and cons of living in a van with a cat, and tell you how to best prepare your pet and your van for a safe and fun trip!

How can I live in a van with a cat?

While it is less common but equally valid, is living in a van with a cat. These creatures’ independent nature and affinity for a known territory make us fearful when taking them on a van trip. In case they do not adapt, in case they are afraid or in case they escape us.

First of all, we tell you one thing: always, always take into account the personality of your cat. Nobody knows it better than you. Tailor our advice to him or her. Don’t force situations. If it doesn’t work, nothing happens. Always think of the best for our furry friends.

You just need to take a few precautions beforehand:

  • If your cat is very young, teach it how to walk on a leash! Thus, for future trips, the task will become easier;
  • Take a litter box so your cat can relieve itself during the trip (take deodorant with you as well);
  • A retractable harness and strap for breaks so you can safely exit the van with your cat at every stage of the journey. 
  • Always find a shady parking lot when it’s sunny. 
  • Do not park right next to other motorhomes where there is a dog (barking at night can be annoying)
  • Don’t leave the litter box dirty for too long (watch out for odours…)
  • While you’re driving, it is best to put it in its travel case (so it doesn’t come under the steering wheel!) or even tie it up with a harness.

This is what you should ensure that your cat has within reach in the van:

  • Harness and a long rope: in this way, we can have it under control at all times and prevent it from escaping or disorienting, since we are constantly changing places. 
  • Scraper: to take advantage of the space, what you can do is to cover the leg of the dining room table with esparto rope. A perfect idea for small places like the van!
  • Sandbox: it is best to get a closed one to avoid possible odours. Clean it daily and change the sand at least once a week. You can use agglomerated sand, which sometimes comes scented. Under the sandbox, you can put a mat so that the sand that falls remains trapped there and is very easy to clean.
  • Window: Cats are usually very nosy and always have to be snooping around the window. Having several windows in the van where you can observe everything that happens around you from your safe place (the van) is going to be another form of entertainment in a small space.
  • Toys: Any toy that your cat really likes is going to do the trick, that is keeping your cat calm and distracted during the trip. 
  • Carrier: It is essential when you are travelling with a cat in a van. The carrier gives most cats a sense of security.  
  • Feeder/drinker: We recommend feeding the cat in a high place, not on the ground. Any noise or movement will be a distraction. 

More tips for living in a van with a cat

Normally our feline friends will stay most of the time inside the motorhome or van. Unless you are lucky enough that he likes to walk with a harness (instead of playing dead when you put it on …). We tell you what you should do when they are alone inside, how to manage their first trips, how to avoid stress and what to do if you want to take them with you for a walk.

Inside the van: Cats are very sensitive to changes, noise and so on. A few days before going on a trip, let him take over the space: put him in the motorhome or camper at times, let him explore, engine start-up, move things, open cabinets, familiarize himself with the noise. Put up items that are familiar to them: a scratching post, toys, their favourite blanket, or used clothing of yours.

While travelling: Noise while traveling can be very scary to our cats. The best thing is that they go inside their carrier. Find one that is comfortable, squishy, ​​and has enough room to move and reposition. The first few times they put a kitten diaper in the bottom of the carrier, sometimes they show their fear or discomfort by doing their business inside.

When leaving the cat by itself: ​​Cats like their space and being quiet, so they will spend most of their time inside. When you have to leave and leave them alone you must leave sufficient ventilation, the windows covered with thermal insulators. And above all make sure that they will be well inside. Do the test with yourself: stay a while inside, in the same conditions as you would leave them and see if it is okay. If you are okay, they will be. Above all, in times of high heat, do not leave them alone for a long time.

What documents do you need if travelling with a cat in a van? 

Travelling with pets, in this case with your cat, involves planning the documents that you must bring. Passports, vaccines, deworming or health certificates. They are documents that can be required within or outside our borders.

We recommend that when you go to travel with your cat in the US you carry this documentation:

  • Veterinary card: always carry the veterinary card with you with all your vaccinations and deworming up to date.
  • Passport: it is not mandatory to carry it but it is recommended. It is processed at your usual vet. Your pet’s information is reflected in it: name, breed, chip number and your contact information.
  • Health certificate: this document certifies that your pet is healthy. It is issued and signed by your veterinarian.

If travelling abroad with your cat: You must pay special attention to the necessary documents when travelling with your cat outside of the US. Also to the entry requirements according to the countries and the return requirements depending on where you come from.

This is what you should bring:

  • Passport: it is processed at your trusted veterinarian. This document reflects your cat’s breed, name, chip number and personal data. Also, the vaccines or deworming required by the country you want to access.
  • Health certificate: it is a document issued by your veterinarian that certifies that your pet is healthy.
  • Rabies antibody test: it is a test that is done by means of a blood test. Certify that your cat has an optimal concentration of rabies antibodies in the blood. 
  • Other vaccines or deworming: in some countries, they require that your cat be treated against specific diseases. Find out before you travel, so you will avoid problems when crossing borders.

The bottom line

In general, do not leave your pet in the vehicle for too long, as the temperature can rise very quickly. Leave the passage to the air but an opening not too large so as not to escape. When you want to stay at a campsite, check that pets are allowed and think about the neighbours to ensure a good coexistence. It is also useful to add the name and number on your cat’s collar, in case of loss.

Please feel free to share your thoughts and comments on the subject!

FAQ on How can I live in a van with a cat?

How to go camping with your cat?

To go camping with your cat is possible. The ideal is to prepare the cat from an early age, if possible, to accompany you during your long stays. A few months before your departure, leave its transport cage open, with a comfortable cushion inside in a pleasant living room for the cat.

How to travel in a van with your cat?

When travelling in a van with your cat, you must find a place where he will feel safe, it can be on the bed, on a bench, in a hammock hanging on a window, on the driver’s or passenger’s chair. In general, it is he who chooses his space. It’s up to you to arrange it as best as possible so that it feels good.

Do cats feel when we go on vacation?

Yes, cats can feel when you are on a vacation. Despite its nonchalant attitude, it too can feel anxiety, especially if it observes noticeable changes in the apartment or the house. Moving objects (green plants), incomplete suitcase lying in the middle of the living room, etc. 

Can you live in an RV with cats?

Yes, you can live in an RV with cats! There are a few essential things to check and take to go on a trip with your cat such as food, veterinary products, miscellaneous items. 


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