Hitting the open road with your pets is a blast, but it definitely comes with a few obstacles. This is especially true if you live or travel in an RV and have a cat you can’t leave behind. Cats like moving around as much as you do, which is why they’re such good traveling companions. However, it may be necessary to modify your RV with minor adjustments to make it more cat-friendly.
If you own a cat and want to make the most of your RVing adventures together, you’ve come to the right place. Chances are that your RV will do fine as is, but things could always be better. So, if you want to make for an enjoyable RV experience for you and your kittens, the RV modifications for cats in this article might be necessary.t
Bottom Line Up Front
You can make several modifications to your RV to make for a safer and more enjoyable trip. Many of these modifications serve to benefit your cat, but others will serve to benefit you. A few of the best modifications you can make include installing waterproof flooring, creating a custom window perch, and having a spot for your cat’s litter box that’s out of the way. It’s also a good idea to invest in an outdoor shower and create a private area in your RV just for your cat.
Are RV Modifications Always Necessary?
Depending on the type of RV or travel trailer that you have, modifications might not be necessary for traveling with cats. However, just because they aren’t essential doesn’t mean that you won’t stand to benefit from improvements.
For example, you’re not required to cat-proof your RV, but you’ll be better off for it. Cats are curious creatures and like to stick their paws where they sometimes aren’t supposed to. These areas include outlets that might have power running to them.
Cats are also avid climbers, so they’ll likely try to get into things they aren’t supposed to. By installing simple safety measures, you can avoid a possible “cat”-astrophe.
RV Modifications for You
Let’s start by looking at a few modifications that will make your life easier as an owner. Once again, these modifications aren’t always necessary, but they will help make for a safer and cleaner RVing experience. They are also investments that could save you money down the road.
Replacing Carpet With Stain-Proof Flooring
No matter how well-trained your cat is, there’s always a chance that they won’t go potty in their litter box every time. While most newer RVs have moved away from carpeting, older RVs and travel trailers use it liberally. As you probably know, cat pee is extremely difficult to get out of carpet once it’s had time to soak in.
By replacing your flooring pre-emptively, you can avoid the nasty smell of cat pee as it soaks into your carpet. You can also avoid the mess and fuss of trying to clean it out with vigorous scrubbing. In place of carpet, you should instead install waterproof and easy-to-clean flooring. That way, if your cat has an accident away from the litter box, you can easily clean it up with little to no fuss.
Just as carpet will soak up cat urine and make for an inconvenient scratching spot for your cat, furniture is equally as bad. Cats tend to attack cloth furniture like there’s no tomorrow. Additionally, cloth furniture will soak up cat urine in the same way that carpet does. Finally, there’s a good chance that if you have cloth furniture in your RV, it’s outdated and ready for replacement.
Install an Outdoor Shower
One of the best things you can do as a pet owner is to install an outdoor shower. If you have a newer, larger RV, you probably already have an outdoor shower. However, if you don’t have one, you would do well to add one.
Outdoor showers don’t have to be elaborate or fancy. All you need is a faucet or spigot with running water, and you’re good to go. They can be used for many things but most notably cleaning your cats’ litter box and food dishes, and occasionally your cat if it came to that. Let’s hope it doesn’t. It’s extremely useful if you also travel with a dog.
If you don’t want to go into the trouble of installing an outdoor shower on the side of your RV, you can also invest in a T and an extra hose for your water spigot that you hook up to at campgrounds. Granted, you won’t be able to use this method if you don’t stay at campgrounds. However, as long as you do, you can keep the mess your cat causes on the outside of your RV instead of the inside.
Crate Train Your Cat
The key to keeping your RV in one piece with pets is ensuring they’re well-behaved. If you can’t seem to teach your cat to avoid using the furniture and carpet as chew toys, it might be worth crate training them.
Crate training your cat is the best way to guarantee they stay safe and keep out of trouble. Some people don’t like the idea of crate training and believe it’s the equivalent of imprisoning their cats. However, crate training is beneficial when done correctly, and your cat will learn to enjoy it.
RV Modifications for Your Cat’s Enjoyment
We’ll get to RV modifications for cat safety in a moment. For now, let’s ensure that your cat is enjoying themselves. Not only will this benefit your kitten, but it will also ensure that they don’t get bored and tear into something they shouldn’t.
Custom Window Perch
Cats enjoy few things more than perching on a shelf and looking out a window. They get the biggest kick out of spying on people, animals, and everything else that’s going on outside. Unfortunately, most RVs aren’t equipped with convenient shelves or cabinets near windows. So, if you want your cat to have this benefit, it’s something you’ll have to add yourself.
Adding a custom window perch is much easier than you might think. You can either purchase and install a small, floating shelf or invest in a short cabinet that’s window height. The floating shelf idea might be better and cheaper because it will take up less space overall. Additionally, cats are very light, so most floating shelves will easily support their weight.
Private patios for your cat, also known as “catios,” are another thing they’ll enjoy immensely. If you’re lucky enough to have an RV with fold-down porches, you’re good to go. However, for those of us who are less fortunate, a little creativity is necessary.
Cat Patios for Fifth-Wheels
The nice thing about fifth-wheels is that they typically have a ton of storage. One of these many storage locations is under the steps that take you from the main floor to the neck portion of the fifth wheel. While most people like to use this area for storing personal possessions, you also have the option to convert it into a little patio area.
You must clear a path your cat can walk and make a small entry door on either side of the steps or in front of them. Next, open the outside storage compartment door, but have a cage on the outside. This will allow your cat to make their way outside, but it won’t be able to roam free.
Cat-Patios for Other RVs
If you don’t like that idea or don’t have a fifth wheel with stairs, you can use a similar concept that’s less invasive. All RVs have designated storage areas accessible from both the inside and outside of your camper. By leaving the access door open on the inside of your camper and having a cage against the outside storage door, you can create a comfortable patio area for your cat to enjoy.
Cats don’t need a ton of space to roam. They like being outside where they can be close to the action.
Creating a Cat Cave
Depending on the personality of your cat, it might not be the most social animal in the world. Chances are that they’ll want a small space where they can get away from everything and have their private time. If your cat falls into this category, it might be nice to add a cat cave to your RV.
Cat caves are very simple and minimally invasive. You can use a section in your RV that no one else occupies, or you can even clear out one of the storage areas in your camper. The concept is very similar to the cat patio listed above but with more privacy. It’s likely that your cat’s private area will also become their preferred sleeping and eating place, so plan accordingly.
Cat Perches on the Wall
Similar to having window perches for your cat, it’s also good to have other random perches along the wall of your RV. Cats like to move around from place to place and get different vantage points. By having several floating shelves that serve as perches, you’ll keep them occupied constantly. Make sure that the shelves are accessible for the cats and that you won’t have to set them on the shelf yourself.
Adding a Climbing or Fun House
Climbing and fun houses are the best ways to occupy your cat. People use them in houses all the time, so there’s no reason why you can’t have one in your RV. Because of the smaller space, you’ll likely have to downsize the climbing house, but your cat will enjoy it nonetheless.
RV Modifications for Your Cat’s Comfort
The Litter Box
Modifying your cat’s litter box is often the biggest obstacle you’ll have to traverse. The litter box is where your cat likes to do its business and is the only way to keep your RV clean and tidy.
Beginners try to take the easy way out by having the litter box positioned somewhere in the living area of the camper. Others put the box in the shower or somewhere in the bathroom since it seems like a convenient place for potty-related activities. However, unless you want your cat pawing at the door while you’re in the middle of your own potty-related activities, this isn’t a good spot.
Here are a few of the best ideas for RV modifications related to your cat’s litter box.
- Under the Stairs
The first option for your kitty’s litter box is to put it in your RV “basement” below the fifth-wheel stairs. This idea is very similar to the one for a cat patio. The area under your fifth-wheel stairs is usually hollow and used for storage. By making an entry point somewhere along the stairs and putting your cat’s litter box in the storage area behind the steps, you can keep the living space of your camper clean and tidy.
- Other Storage Areas
If you don’t have a fifth wheel with a stairway, there are still storage areas at the bottom of the RV. In the same way that you would with a cat patio, you can install the litter box in one of the storage areas. As long as you have an entry point for your cat or leave the storage door open, they’ll have easy access to their litter box, and it will be out of your living area.
- Replace a Drawer With a Litter Box
One of the more creative and in-depth installation ideas for a litter box is replacing one of your RV’s drawers. Whether you have a kitchen island or want to use one of the drawers on your dinette set doesn’t matter. The main thing is that the drawer is near floor level so that your cat can access it easily.
Replacing a drawer with a litter box will take some hands-on work and carpentry skills, but it’s well worth the effort. If done properly, you can create a great spot for your cat and have it look decorative and aesthetically pleasing in the process.
While the litter box is the biggest obstacle you’ll have to overcome with cats, where they’ll sleep is the second biggest. Cats are creatures of comfort, and they like to lounge around during the day and sleep peacefully at night. If you want to keep them off the furniture, you’ll have to invest in a bed for them.
It’s best to keep your cat bed in the sun so they can soak up the rays. Make sure that your cat bed fits the size of your RV, however, because purchasing an oversized bed will make everything else about your life difficult.
You don’t have to worry about a cat ramp if your cat is young and agile. However, the older your cat gets, the more trouble it will have getting in and out of your travel trailer. When that dreaded day comes, and your cat’s hips and legs start to stiffen up, you’ll need to install a pet ramp so they can get in and out of your camper.
Pet ramps are very similar to handicap ramps and are often interchangeable. You can either install it yourself to save money or have it professionally installed.
RV Modifications for Your Cat’s Safety
At the end of the day, nothing matters more than your cat’s safety. As such, many of the modifications that you implement should be geared toward protecting them. Remember, cats are curious busybodies who love to get into trouble. When you put things in place that prevent this from happening, it will also help to protect them.
Screen Door Locks
Keeping your cat inside your camper and not letting them out unsupervised is paramount. Cats aren’t just curious and adventurous. They’re smart too! If you don’t protect against it, they’ll find a way to open the screen door when you’re not looking, and off they go.
By investing in cat-proof screen door locks, you can ensure that your cat stays where they’re supposed to.
Block the Slide Outs
Whether you have a motorhome or like to leave your cat in the travel trailer while on the road, it’s essential to protect them from themselves. One of the main areas cats like to explore, even though they’re not supposed to, is the area around the slideouts when they’re pulled in.
Unfortunately, these slideout areas can be dangerous for cats. They risk getting stuck inside of them, which is very dangerous if you don’t see them and start putting the slideouts out. By blocking off the slideout areas so your cat can’t get to them, you can protect them from potential danger.
Cover Your Outlets
Another problem with cats is that they like sticking their paws and claws into your outlets. If the RV isn’t plugged in and there isn’t power, this isn’t a big problem. However, when you’re hooked up and your RV is plugged in, and your cat sticks their claws into a hot outlet, it could electrocute and kill them.
Outlet blockers are available at most grocery, convenience, and hardware stores. They’re the same type of covers you would use to baby-proof a home. The only difference is that you’re installing them to cat-proof your camper.
Have a First Aid Kit Handy
No matter how well you care for your cat, there’s a good chance that it’ll get hurt at some point. When that happens, it’s good to have a first aid kit handy to provide immediate medical attention. You should stock your cat’s first aid kit with bandages and medications that are cat-safe rather than human medications.
Use Baby Gates
If there are certain areas in your RV that you don’t want your cat to have access to, you should install baby gates. If your cat is finding ways to navigate around, over, or under your baby gates, there are also special cat gates that you can use.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: How do I make my RV more cat friendly?
Answer: The best way to make your RV more cat friendly is to create a safe, fun, enjoyable space for them. By implementing some or all of the suggestions in this article, your cat will be having the time of its life during your RV travels.
Question: How do I keep my cat from escaping my RV?
Answer: To keep your cat inside the RV where it belongs, you should install cat gates and cat-proof locks on your screen door. You should also make sure that access is blocked to the outside storage areas.
Question: Where do you put a cat box in an RV?
Answer: The best places to put a cat box in an RV are either in the bathroom or in a seldom-used area. More creative and out-of-the-way options include putting the litter box in one of the storage areas below the RV or in a built-in kitty litter shelf.
As you can see, there’s a lot that goes into prepping your RV for your cat-accompanied travels. Not all of the cat RV modifications in this article are necessary for every circumstance, but many of them will better your situation. It’s essential to consider your cat’s safety and well-being, but it’s also crucial to ensure they’re enjoying themself.
By implementing the ideas in this article, you and your cat are sure to make the most of your RVing adventures.