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10 Essential Items for RV Camping with Your Cat

white and tabby cat laying on a bed in the window of an rv

The world of outdoor travel has changed dramatically over the years. RVing has opened new doors for those who are looking to explore the great outdoors with the luxuries of home. There is no better time to explore the possibility of RV camping with your cat!

DISCLOSURE: THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS, MEANING I WILL EARN A COMMISSION IF YOU PURCHASE THROUGH MY LINKS, AT NO COST TO YOU. FOR MORE INFO, PLEASE READ MY FULL DISCLOSURE.

The world of RV travel has been growing at an impressive rate in recent years.

According to a report published by the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association of Canada, in 2017 2.1 million RV owners took an estimated 8.2 million trips in Canada alone.

Even more impressive, that doesn’t include the over 600,000 trips that were taken by Canadians renting an RV.

If you’re among those numbers, then you know that RVs and travel trailers offer SO many different options.

From simple pop-up trailers to elaborate RVs that can only be described as a home on wheels, there is something for every budget and every smile.

The image of a dog travelling alongside their owner, hiking and sniffing around the campsite, is pretty common. So, what about our feline friends?

Can you take a cat camping?

Will a cat be comfortable in an RV?

Not only can it be done, cat owners across the country are finding ways to make their RV cat (and owner) friendly.

tabby cat laying outside in an orante and grey hammock in the sun

Travel with Style and Ease! Check Out These 10 Must-Have Items for RV Camping with Your Cat

#1 – Identification and Documentation

Before heading out on your next trip, take the time to gather up all your necessary documentation in the event of an emergency.

This includes records of your cat’s shots, any documentation regarding medications or medical conditions as well as ownership-related paperwork. This is particularly important if you will be crossing a border during your travel.

A clear and up to date photo of your pet will be important in the event that your cat ever gets loose.

Don’t forget about the necessary identification ON your pet!

Clear ID tags with an up-to-date phone number and/or a microchip with accurate information on file can mean the difference between getting your cat back or not if he/she is lost.

#2 – Pet First-Aid Kit

In the spirit of being prepared for emergencies, you want to ensure that you have everything on hand in the event that your pet becomes sick or injured.

Prepackaged pet-specific first aid kits for dogs and cats are readily available commercially, or you can easily prepare your own. For more information, check out this post about creating a DIY First Aid Kit!

#3 – Cat Carrier

A reliable cat carrier is important when you are travelling, even in an RV.

This will keep your kitty safe and secure while you are on the road, as well as keeping him/her contained in the event of an accident.

Furthermore, if you do have to leave your RV at any time, the carrier will allow you to bring your kitty with you.

As much as we don’t like to admit it, RVs CAN and DO break down… It’s better to be prepared.

Related: ‘The Benefits of Cat Grass for Your Feline Friend’

#4 – Functional (and Stylish) Cat Litter Box

While a litter box is necessary when travelling with a cat, no one really wants to see that. Right?

Especially when you’re on vacation!

Great news, there are many stylish AND functional options to hide your litterbox while still allowing your cat to have full access to everything he/she needs.

A new trend in litterbox has been the storage bench or cupboard. This is a simple piece of furniture that looks sharp and contains your cat’s box out of sight.

They come in a variety of different sizes. For larger spaces, try this wooden litter box storage bench.

A narrower cupboard like this contemporary home cat litter enclosure is better suited to a smaller RV or trailer.

If you’re really tight on space, this plant hidden litter box is a great option!

#5 – High-Quality Litter

There is no point in purchasing a fancy cupboard to conceal your cat’s litter box if you can smell it throughout the RV. That’s not going to make for a very enjoyable trip.

Take the time to try out some different litter options at home.

You want to find something that will control the smell but also keep your cat happy. Cat’s can be finicky!

grey long haired cat standing on a table in an rv, a brown dog sitting on the bench seat, both looking out the window

#6 – Cat Scratching Post

Cats love to scratch! It’s a natural instinct.

If you want to keep your RV furniture safe from damage, you will need to provide options to keep your cat entertained.

The solution? Add a cat scratching post to your packing list the next time that you are preparing to go RV camping with your cat.

Much like the litter box enclosures, there are different sizes and styles of scratch posts.

You want to find something that fits your space and that your cat enjoys (and will therefore use).

A simple flat cardboard scratcher or a lean-it scratching post will fit into even the smallest of trailers.

These options are also incredibly cost effective!

If you’ve got more space and want to add a ‘signature’ piece, you can pick up a cat tree like this scratching post and hammock combination.

Alternatively, pay attention to what areas or pieces of furniture that your cat is generally attracted to.

If your cat tends to scratch on your couch, you can try a sofa shield furniture pad that both protects the space and provides your cat with a positive option.

#7 – No-Spill Cat Dish

There are SO many different cat dish options out there, and there is no ‘right’ answer.

The key is to find something that your cat enjoys while also trying to prevent any unnecessary spills or mess in your trailer or RV.

The easiest way to accomplish this is to purchase a bowl with a silicone base designed to eliminate spills.

If you can’t find an option that you like, add a mat underneath your cat’s dishes.

Related: ‘Identifying Cat Litter Box Problems and How to Solve Them’

#8 – Comfortable Cat Bed

If there is one thing that most cats enjoy, it’s the ability to sleep for hours on end. After all, they are on vacation too! Right?

Take a look at where your cat sleeps when you’re at home.

Does your cat sleep in your bed all the time? If so, they will likely sleep in your bed in the RV as well.

There are many different features to consider when selecting the right bed for your cat beyond jus the size and colour.

Does your cat prefer to sleep inside of a cat house containing a bed or does he/she prefer a simple round cushion style bed?

Consider your cat’s temperature. You may want a self-warming bed if you tend to keep the AC rolling on high. Alternatively, if you don’t use AC in your trailer, you may want a breathable bed with temperature control to keep your cat cool.

If your trailer or RV has a large window, a window perch will allow him/her to sunbathe and watch the birds.

#9 – Outdoor Enclosure

While some cats will be content to spend all day inside your trailer or RV, others may want to be closer to you when you’re outside hanging out on the campsite.

One way that you can make this possible is by packing an outdoor enclosure.

A pet playpen is an enclosed, breathable, soft-sided structure that will let the sunshine and fresh air in while keeping your cat safe from outdoor predators.

These are popular among campers due to the fact that they fold down for easy travel.

If you are concerned about sun exposure during longer periods of time outsides, consider a sunscreen style playpen designed to filter UV radiation.

For those that are interested in taking their cat’s outdoor space to the next level, there are multi-level netted enclosures with hammocks for lounging and extra space to place.

These units are often designed to integrate with one another, allowing you to create the perfect outdoor space for one or multiple cats.

#10 – Walking Harness and Leash

Much like dogs, your cat can be trained to walk on a leash. However, you need to have an appropriate harness to keep your kitty safe.

Personally, we prefer to use the PetSafe harness and bungee leash with our cats.

However, a simple search of Amazon will return hundreds of options!

The most important point is to find something that is comfortable for your cat but that he/she can’t slip out of.

Make sure that you test any harness prior to going on vacation in the safety of your own home.

two images, one of a cat laying in an RV and the other of a cat in an orange hammock outside in the sun with the title 10 must-have items to go RV camping with your cat

Have you ever been RV camping with your cat? If so, what items were on your ‘must-have’ list?

About Author

Britt is a digital/social media marketer and the owner of The Social Alternative. When she’s not working, she enjoys spending her time with her ‘pack’ which includes her husband John, their 2 dogs Daviana and Indiana and their 2 cats Pippen and Jinx. A proud pet mom, she shares all her pet-related tips, tricks and funny pet antics on Shed Happens.

50 Comments

  • Paige @ The Best Paige In The Book
    July 13, 2020 at 8:25 pm

    I love the idea of a first aid kit! I’ve taken my dog on a few road trips and it would definitely be smart to have something on hand in case she got hurt!

    Reply
    • Britt
      July 13, 2020 at 9:27 pm

      We have a first aid kit that goes with us any time the dogs and cats go. One of my pups is a total klutz, as accident-prone as they come, so we have to be prepared!

      Reply
  • Emilia
    July 13, 2020 at 8:41 pm

    I would love to take Plush and Treeno camping! Technically Treeno has gone camping but just car camping in the yard to see if we could make it work. (kind of)

    My dream is to buy a small van style camper and travel the country show to show with my furbabies.

    Reply
    • Britt
      July 13, 2020 at 9:26 pm

      We currently take our dogs, but not the cats for longer trips. They get agitated and are happier at home with the run of the house. However, they do like shorter trips with us or even ‘backyard camping’. Pippen loves to sit in the hammock and watch the birds for hours if I put her in her harness and take her with me.

      Reply
  • Ellen Pilch
    July 13, 2020 at 9:01 pm

    Great post. I bet it is fun going camping with a kitty. I wouldn’t be able to choose one and I can’t take 10 so camping is out for me.

    Reply
    • Britt
      July 13, 2020 at 9:24 pm

      I can imagine that 10 would be overwhelming! The most I’ve ever travelled with was 4 – when I was younger, our family would take all 4 in the trailer with us. My current 2 are quite happy to stay at home when we go in their air-conditioned palace lol

      Reply
  • Unwanted Life
    July 14, 2020 at 3:46 am

    I’d be worried that the cat would get out forms look around and not return for one reason or another. Then trying to track it down would be a huge hassle

    Reply
    • Britt
      July 14, 2020 at 12:47 pm

      It’s really no different than bringing a dog along – if you take the steps necessary to keep a cat safe and contained, there is a very slim chance that there will be an issue. However, just as with our canine friends, we do need to be prepared if something does happen. When we were younger, the cats were never outside of the trailer unless they were in their outdoor cage or were wearing their harnesses.

      Reply
  • Jenny in Neverland
    July 14, 2020 at 7:00 am

    As I’ve never had a cat, this isn’t something that’s ever crossed my mind. Taking your cat camping?! But it makes perfect sense. Great tips for anyone thinking about it!

    Reply
    • Britt
      July 14, 2020 at 12:46 pm

      I grew up camping with our cats and they loved it! I’ve noticed while camping that there are more and more cats joining in the fun each year.

      Reply
  • Brooke
    July 14, 2020 at 3:56 pm

    This is a really cool article. We don’t currently take our cat camping because we either use our tent or small pop-up. But you’ve convinced me to try it if we upgrade to an RV.

    Reply
    • Britt
      July 14, 2020 at 6:05 pm

      We tent it now, so our cats stay at home where they are most comfortable. However, we are looking at getting a nice trailer in the future someday and will be bringing the cats along if we take a longer trip. We used to camp in a trailer with our cats when I was a child.

      Reply
  • Alison
    July 14, 2020 at 4:51 pm

    I hadn’t thought of packing a scratching post, but now that you say it that’s so smart! I can’t imagine how upsetting it would be to have the RV furniture scratched up! I don’t have an RV, but have been dreaming about getting a camper van recently 🙂

    Reply
    • Britt
      July 14, 2020 at 6:03 pm

      We have been seriously considering getting a trailer so that we can drive across Canada and the US in the near future. One consideration for a trip of that length would be the fact that I wouldn’t want to leave my cats at home. We would have to make the trailer cat AND dog friendly (my own travelling zoo lol)

      Reply
  • Scott DeNicola
    July 14, 2020 at 5:39 pm

    I’ve wanted to take an RV trip across the US with my wife for years. Being a dog owner my hounds ould of course accompany me and there’s no reason why cats should be any different. Actually I think cats might tend to chill out more and relax more so than dogs. I see cats hanging out in the windows of homes all the time so I imagine sitting in the window of an RV seeing the sights go by would be way more exciting for them. Not being a cat owner I didn’t realize you could leash them but I guess it makes sense.

    Reply
    • Britt
      July 14, 2020 at 6:02 pm

      When I was younger we would bring all of our cats along in the trailer and they were quite happy to sunbathe in the windows watching everyone all day. We would bring them out occasionally to hang out with us, but they honestly enjoyed spending much of the day in the comfort of the trailer lol

      Reply
  • Stephanie S
    July 14, 2020 at 5:45 pm

    We don’t have a family cat, but I know people who do. You really mentioned some great items to bring along. Identification, and documents, a cat carrier to keep them safe, first aid kit and a high quality litter box.- I can definitely see bringing these items if I had a cat, and even when we used to have a family dog I made sure to do the same when we went on trips. Great post!!

    Reply
    • Britt
      July 14, 2020 at 6:00 pm

      Yes, a lot of the information is VERY similar between cats and dogs. We camp with our dogs now, but as a child, we used to bring our cats along and they would hang out with us on a harness just like a dog.

      Reply
  • Sophie Wentworth
    July 14, 2020 at 6:18 pm

    I haven’t had a cat since I was about 4 so this has never really crossed my mind before but it makes perfect sense that you’d want to take them with you just as you’d take a dog. Thank you for number 10! The entire post I was wondering whether you need a cat lead as I know they like a wander but it’s obviously unfamiliar ground and you don’t want them off on their own. x

    Sophie

    Reply
    • Britt
      July 14, 2020 at 9:56 pm

      I LOVE the lead that I recommended. We regularly take our two out in our back yard with us but they are indoor cats. Pippen enjoys sitting in my hammock with me watching the birds. By putting them on their harnesses and leads, we know that they will be safe with us.

      Reply
  • Cassie
    July 14, 2020 at 7:49 pm

    This is a great packing list! I have a sister-in-law whose family travels full time with two cats and a dog in their camper!

    Reply
    • Britt
      July 14, 2020 at 9:55 pm

      They are much like travelling with a small dog, with a few extra considerations (like the litter box) lol

      Reply
  • Melanie williams
    July 15, 2020 at 7:11 am

    I love this idea and not something that I would have considered before. The list has everything needed so a good check list thanks x

    Reply
    • Britt
      July 15, 2020 at 12:39 pm

      Thank you!

      Reply
  • Lisa
    July 15, 2020 at 7:15 am

    I’ve heard of camping with dogs but never cats! We used to take one of our cats for walks when we lived in a city flat, right up until the day he slipped his harness. Never took him out again after that, he had to wait until we moved to the country 🙂 I’m not sure how well our moggies would adapt to living in an RV but this is a great list and definitely something to think about! Lisa

    Reply
    • Britt
      July 15, 2020 at 12:38 pm

      That’s one of the reasons that I stress that owners try on the harness at home – Some designs and styles are easier to slip out of than others. Furthermore, sizing is SUPER important. We’ve tried quite a few different harnesses before settling on the brand that we use right now.

      Reply
  • Nkem
    July 15, 2020 at 8:28 am

    Never have I even thought of going camping with an animal, but if I had, I would come to your page for the details.. well for cats at least!

    Reply
    • Britt
      July 15, 2020 at 12:37 pm

      Thank you!

      Reply
  • Tiffany
    July 15, 2020 at 10:06 am

    I would have never thought of all this tbh, I really like how you explain why on everything also! I have never been in a camper with a cat, but I have been in one with a Bunny when the house flooded lol, it was a super small pop-up one.

    Reply
    • Britt
      July 15, 2020 at 12:35 pm

      I bet that there were many important considerations to keep both yourself and the bunny comfortable in a small space like that!

      Reply
  • Emily
    July 15, 2020 at 12:04 pm

    I have 3 cats that I would LOVE to take camping with me! One would be all-in for sure, but the other 2… I’m not sure haha. They are definitely homebodies! This article has got me thinking… I really want to try it

    Reply
    • Britt
      July 15, 2020 at 12:30 pm

      We used to take our cats camping when I was younger. The one wasn’t totally sure about it at first but when she realized that she could sunbathe in the trailer while watching the birds, she quickly fell in love.

      Reply
  • Charity
    July 15, 2020 at 7:39 pm

    This is such a perfect post for me because we recently bought a camper and we are taking are cat with us every time we go camping! It’s been so nice to have him with us. Thanks for sharing all these tips too! I am doing most of them, but I need to add in a few things to make it even easier on us!

    Reply
    • Britt
      July 16, 2020 at 12:34 pm

      That’s the key, right – make it fun for the cat but also as easy as possible on you. After all, everyone is on vacation!

      Reply
  • Heather Ritchie
    July 15, 2020 at 8:53 pm

    This is such a neat post! I love that you brought the cat into the action because people talk about camping with dogs but not kitties. I think identification would be one of the most important things. Funny side story. My aunt and uncle cross over into West Virgina camping every other weekend and they got settled in last time and heard a meow. The cat tagged along as a stow away!

    Reply
    • Britt
      July 16, 2020 at 12:31 pm

      That is hilarious! I think I would die laughing if either of our girls decided to stow away on one of our trips lol

      Reply
  • Jen Towkaniuk
    July 15, 2020 at 9:57 pm

    It would be so fun to take our cats on an RV trip – but all I can think is about the litter being tracked all over the place – and if they would have enough space to run around. My cats chase each other like crazy maniacs around our 2 story house. Close quarters might actually be funny!

    Reply
    • Britt
      July 16, 2020 at 12:26 pm

      There are some great litterboxes designed to help with the litter tracking – they have an entryway into the litterbox that is designed to allow any litter to fall through into a holding area so you can easily dispose of it later.

      Reply
  • Nyxie
    July 16, 2020 at 5:05 am

    Love this! It’s good to know what we need should we ever go camping with our girls. I doubt we will but we travel with the youngest quite often, and I’ve been meaning to put together a first aid kit just in case.

    Reply
    • Britt
      July 16, 2020 at 12:25 pm

      I would love to travel with our girls more but tent camping isn’t their idea of a good time lol The pups love it, but the cats are quite happy to stay at home in the air-conditioned house lol

      Reply
  • Kat
    July 17, 2020 at 5:56 am

    Awesome, this sounds like a fun adventure for people and their cats! I love the picture of the cat in the hammock, she looks so comfortable.
    The idea of bringing a pet playpen is great, I am sure that many cats like to spend some time outdoors during the trip as well, especially if the people go outside and the weather is nice.

    Reply
    • Britt
      July 17, 2020 at 9:37 am

      My one cat Pippen LOVES the hammock. I regularly put her in her harness and take her out to sit with me for hours watching the birds.

      Reply
  • Tracy @ Cleland Clan
    July 17, 2020 at 8:43 am

    Great tips! The litter box and scratching posts are things I may not have thought about–especially where to hide the litter box in a small trailer or RV.

    Reply
    • Britt
      July 17, 2020 at 9:36 am

      I love having our cats around but I have NO interest in seeing their litterboxes at home let alone on vacation lol

      Reply
  • Thuy-Linh Phan
    July 17, 2020 at 4:05 pm

    I’ve never even considered traveling in a R/V with a cat so this definitely broadens my views and makes me consider the possibilities.

    Reply
    • Britt
      July 18, 2020 at 11:39 am

      We currently tent camp, so our cats stay at home where they’re comfortable in the air conditioning. However, we have been talking about getting a trailer someday so that we can drive across the country. If we do that, it will definitely be cat friendly so that they can join us!

      Reply
  • Erica (The Prepping Wife)
    July 17, 2020 at 11:31 pm

    I’ve heard about people taking their cats camping and often wondered how that was even possible! These tips and packing list make it seem like it would actually be super easy to take my cat with me and he would enjoy it as well.

    Reply
    • Britt
      July 18, 2020 at 11:37 am

      It’s a lot easier than most people realize as long as you’re prepared! They love being with their owners and travelling together is a great bonding activity.

      Reply
  • Brian Frum
    July 19, 2020 at 6:23 pm

    We actually thought about selling our house and getting a big RV so we could be where ever we felt like, out kitties would probably be fine with it. But, we just can leave our 11 backyard feral family that depend on us. Hey, you commented on the Ham-Mick bed, one of our blogging pals makes them. They don’t blog often anymore but they still do their Ham-Micks. I usually don’t leave links in comments but here it is anyways. https://fortypawshammicks.blogspot.com/

    Reply
    • Britt
      July 20, 2020 at 12:11 am

      I’m sure that feral family is truly thankful for all that you provide for them. We have a lot of ferals around here as well.

      Reply

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