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Old 08-19-2008, 03:53 AM   #1
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Default Travelling with pets

Hi everybody,
I've browsed the site pretty extensively over the last few weeks and am absolutely amazed at the quality of the information and the membership on this forum. I'm an RV newbie, retired, and my wife and I are looking forward to getting our feet wet as soon as possible. We have a 2002 RT 190P and so far it's a love hate relationship. We love the comfort, and hate the perceived complexity of the vehicle. We're slowly picking up bits and pieces of anecdotal info as we drive it locally, but we have some apprehension about our first distance trip (as I said, we've never owned an RV before, and while I've learned a lot from all of you and the numerous Q&A threads, it's still all just simulator time, until you leave on your first "combat" mission).
Having said all that, my first thread is about traveling with pets. We have 2 cats and no idea how to keep them reasonably comfortable and safe from unexpectedly exiting the vehicle (rest stops, gas stations, etc.). We'd like to partition the back end of the RT (from behind the #3 side door) so that they can lounge, and we don't have to worry about "the great escape" every time we open a door. We were thinking about designing something using chicken wire and spring loaded shower curtain rods. I've read somewhere about using vet type cages, but my wife says absolutely not. Does anyone know of a "store bought" solution, or has anyone ever had this issue and how did you deal with it (boarding or pet sitting has been considered, and essentially ruled out due to cost) ?

(jeez he really goes on, doesn't he???)
Regards,
Mike.
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Old 08-19-2008, 02:51 PM   #2
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Don't worry Mike, you'll get the hang of it quick. We were new to RVing as well, when we bought our B 4 years ago. For our first trip we just did a long weekend around our home state. Then we went back home and took out half of the "stuff" and a few weeks later we left for the West Coast. Don't be afraid to just get in and go, it's not really that complex.

As far as traveling with pets, we bring 3 small dogs. The easiest thing I've found for them is the collapsible nylon crates that you can get at most pet stores. These are placed on the bed of the B (and one under the bed because Annie prefers to ride down there) and held down with bungee cords. This allows the mutts to see whats going on, but they are safely contained so they can't get under our feet. We do stop frequently to let them out to pee, sniff around and have a drink or a bit to eat. It also encourages us to get out and stretch.

Our cat stays home however. He's just too much of a PITA in the middle of the night. He wants to play when we want to sleep. Normally he'll go visit my son (and his 4 kitties) while we're on the road.

When we're parked somewhere, we frequently use a baby gate to keep the dogs in the back half of the van while we're cooking or working.

For your kitties I would probably try a similar arrangement. Nylon and mesh crates during the drive, and a gate to keep them confined the rest of the time. If they are showing interest in jumping over the gates, then I would use a cat harness and a leash to confine them. They may be pissed off for a while, but they will get used to it!

Good luck and happy travels!
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Old 08-19-2008, 03:03 PM   #3
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Mike,

We have a year old cat that we have not taken on a trip yet. We have taken her for short drives about town and all she does is cry the whole time. I may try taking her out for an overnight in the driveway and see how that goes. As far as leashes go she has proven to be a dust mop to drag along the floor. Can you teach an old cat new tricks? I don't know. We may have started too late.

Don't despair though. People do bring cats along in their Bs. I've seen it.
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Old 08-19-2008, 03:26 PM   #4
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Hi Julie/Davydd,
Thanks for the words of encouragement. We've also done a few local trips and so far so good. Our first trip far afield will no doubt be "interesting". Still, we look forward to it, hopefully in the next few weeks.
As far as your ideas about pet containment, they're interesting too.
A few years ago we tried a leash on the older cat and, like Dave's cat, he just collapsed on the floor. The younger one also travels poorly. So we'll have a look into the mesh tents and maybe a look at the baby gate, although these 2 are natural high jumpers. We had a friend who took them in for a few weeks while we moved house last year, but he won't be able to do it again.
I think as long as they can see us and outside, after a while, they'll get the hang of it. If not, we'll have to come up with a plan B. Do they make Gravol for cats???

Thanks for your input,
Mike.
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Old 08-19-2008, 08:12 PM   #5
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Baby gates might work if your cats are obese. We previously had two cats where one was a scrawny 9 lbs and could leap tall buildings. Our 20 pounder couldn't. The 20 pounder was the one that wanted to crowd our bed so we put up a baby gate to keep him out of the bedroom. The other could come and go at ease but never wanted to be up on the bed.

As far as the current cat goes, she sleeps right at my feet all night so I suspect it would be no different in a B. At least she doesn't want to curl up around my hair on the pillow or under my armpit like the 20 pounder.

We have deliberately kept our newest cat indoors and not even on a leash outdoors. So far she bolts away from the house door when we come in and does not try to dash out. She's had a few meow fights with raccoons through the glass storm door so maybe she is good and afraid of the outdoors.
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Old 08-20-2008, 02:33 PM   #6
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Both of ours are indoor cats. Neither shows any real interest in going outside and we like that, for the most part. We're still mulling over our options, and may just have to put up with the howling in the B until they realize it's not the end of the world. The older one is pretyy laid back, he'll aclimatize quicker, I'm sure. The wee one, not so much.

Thanks for your ideas and experiences,
Mike.
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Old 08-20-2008, 06:12 PM   #7
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Dawg is an indoor/outdoor cat, so he would drive us nuts trying to get out. (We live out in a remote rural area so he loves to go out and hunt when the weather is nice) We've had him out on a harness before and he does refuse to walk on it. However, he is perfectly contented to just lay around on the lawn while attached to the harness. Your kitties may be open to this idea too. It'll allow them to spend some time outside enjoying the fresh air and smells, but still be safely maintained close to you and your motorhome.
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Old 08-21-2008, 01:23 AM   #8
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Hi again and thanks for the advice on the harness. We've tried it before and the older guy has managed to wriggle out of it. We don't want to make it so tight that he can't breath, and we live on a very busy street (lots of truck traffic which wasn't there when we bought, but that's another story). If either cat got out, they wouldn't know enough about traffic to avoid it, and would most likely get squished. So we're considering your tent idea, and I'm researching cat sedatives, to get them from the house to the van and back (just joking). I do think they'll be fine once they realize the RV isn't the vet.

Mike.

btw, your cat's name is priceless.
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Old 08-21-2008, 06:40 PM   #9
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My mom gave me a great tip for taking my cat on a drive once. The kitty had never been in a car but once, and she got pretty unhappy pretty quick.

Mom suggested I place the cat in a white cotton pillowcase and tie the open end up with string. The cat could breathe in there well, and the soft light inside, along with the other sensory overload removed made for a much happier kitty.

After a few drives, she could be let out of the pillowcase and she acclimated.

Chip
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Old 08-21-2008, 06:57 PM   #10
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Hi Chip,
Funny you mention that, we've already got 2 sports bags ready, and we're going to try something like what you've mentioned. As you said to block the sensory overload. They do like to nest in blankets, towels, whatever, so it's probably not a bad idea.

Thanks,
Mike.
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