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Specific Question about Travel Day with Kitty...


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Hiyas Folks!

My first post and of course it's about my two girls...  I'm a recent and new Full-Timer in my first Trailer (27') pulling with a big'ol truck of course..  my girls.. Torties Misty and Pippin are Littermates and are 14yrs old.. they have been indoor cats all their life, and have ridin in the car only to go to the vet.. 

Needless to say the pet carrier and riding in the car is not a popular activity with the girls.. even on the 10min drive to the vet Pippin spends the entire time crying so pitifully she should win an Oscar while her sister Misty turns into a Demon Cat for 2 days hiding and hissing at any thing that moves..  ::sigh::

We've moved into the trailer and I'm sticking close to town while I shake it down, move in and learn how to operate it.. soon we'll be hitting the road however and start our journey across the US.. 

My main concern is travel days.. I have a Quad Cab Dodge Ram and had thought of gating off the backseat putting the litter box on the floor and letting them roam back there freely.. thinking this would be less stressful.. however I worry about how to get them both from the trailer to the backseat.. keep in mind escape seems to be their primary concern when things change...

So now I'm thinking I get bigger carriers and keep them secure in the carrier and strapped to the seat... but worry about the stress, litter box, food and water during a full day of travel...

How do folks care for their kitties during transport?  any insight and advice is appreciated..

Thanks Much!
Deborah, Misty, and Pippin...

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First, welcome to the Escapee forums!

We have never traveled with a cat but have many happy miles of travel with most of the dogs our family has had over the years. If your cats were younger they would probably adapt fairly quickly to travel but at the age that they are, it may take some time. Whatever you choose to do, keep in mind what they could experience in the event of an emergency stop, or worse yet, an accident. We do not travel with our pets roaming free as some folks do but keep our dog in an area that is restricted and that has an anchored fabric wall to stop the movement in a sudden stop. 

Good travelin !...............Kirk

Full-time 11+ years...... Now seasonal travelers.
Kirk & Pam's Great RV Adventure



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Keep them in the carry cage while in the truck.  Open and leave the carry box door open after getting them secured in the truck.  They probably won't come out and will feel secure in the box.  You probably want to do one kitty at a time to see how long it takes for it to adapt to new surroundings.  Allow a couple of days with them in the carry box in the truck.  Cats are adaptable - some more so than others.

I can't compare our cat - he was practically born and raised in the camper and he is an indoor/outdoor cat, including the house or the camper.  



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I would put them in separate crates unless you think they would comfort each other if in a single, large crate.  Since they are older, I think separate crates are better. 

I would NOT leave the crate door open in the truck.  If they get out of the crate, they can get out of the truck before you can stop them.  Their being in the crate an extra 10 minutes won't matter since they've been in the crate for X number of hours each day.

If you opt to let them roam free int eh back seat, you had better secure them in a carrier BEFORE you ever open a door.  Cats have a habit of finding ways to escape.

We traveled with a cat who had no issues when she was a kitten.  When she got old, she wailed for hours.  Yes, it was annoying as hell!!!  The young cat we have now sometimes gets noisy for a few minutes, sometimes he doesn't make a peep.  He has a LOT of toys in his crate to keep him company...plus 2 dogs in the back with him.  He uses his litter box in the morning before we travel, so that is not an issue.  If your girls do the same, I wouldn't worry about a little box.

And I wouldn't worry about water.  They'll just make up for it when it is available.

BTW, how many hours do you plan to drive each day?  To me, a full day of travel is about 4 hours.  More than that and I get grumpy.

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We have always allowed our cats to "roam" in the trailer. Generally they settle into a hidey hole and never move from there. Every cat has found a different place to hide. Under the recliner, behind the sofa, on the bed, in a closet, in the  shower etc.

We traveled with some friends who would put their very unhappy cat in a carrier and into the truck each morning. When they saw that we just left ours in the trailer they started doing  this and the cat was much happier.

One of the risks of an unhappy cat is they stop using the  kitty litter and you sure don't want that. You need to balance this out with the risk of a potential accident. We accept that risk for everyone's happiness.

Good luck with your decision.


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Our kitty - a tortie Maine Coon mix - rides in her crate in the backseat. The crate is strapped in with the seatbelt.  

I would NEVER allow my cat or anyone else to ride in a trailer while it is moving. It is NOT safe!  God forbid you ever stop short - they become projectiles!  

Especially since they are litter mates, I would consider a large crate for the 2 of them, they can comfort each other.  

We have had some longer and some shorter travel days - I think the longest was 10 hours. I felt bad for Callie, but she did fine, ate, drank and used the box that evening.  

I look at it this way - would you allow your child to ride in the trailer - of course not - those are the same reasons you shouldn’t allow your pet.  If the pet is that unhappy in a safe situation, then perhaps it is time to consider rehoming your pet.  

Bill and Kelly

2014 Heartland Landmark Grand Canyon

2011 Ford F350 Super Duty Deisel Dual Rear Wheel Extended Cab XLT

<p> Callie along for the ride - Raskal and Cocoa now watching over us from above

new blog: bkamericanodyssey.com

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after reading everyone's suggestions and just knowing my own comfort level crating I think is the way to go..  I'm just to scared and worried that they'll be to quick of escape artists given the chance.. every open door will be a minefield.. I just don't want to take that chance... not to mention the danger if an accident should happen.. I know they aren't going to be to happy but I hope after a few trips they'll adjust.. 

thank you so much for sharing your experience!


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We have a friend with a cat who hates to travel in the truck - cried constantly and a hazard for the driver.  They eventually left her in the trailer in a carrier as they traveled. It seemed to work for all of them.  They stopped every couple hours to check on her.  Her personality didn't change because of this... sweet as ever.  Having a cat roam in the truck could be very dangerous for the driver.

Full-timed for 16 Years
Traveled 8 yr in a 2004 Newmar Dutch Star 40' Motorhome
and 8 yr in a 33' Travel Supreme 5th Wheel

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We tried to let our 2 cats roam in the truck once.  Big mistake!  They crawled everywhere and made driving the truck difficult.  We purchased a PetTube.  You can find on Amazon.  Great product. It takes up the entire back seat and door to door.  Very good ventilation in the Summer. They stay in place and no escape worries when we stop for fuel or a stretch.  On longer trips, we'll take them out for a pan brake and water.  

Jerry and Joan

2014 Ford F350 with 6.7 turbo, TrailerSaver

2014 40' Heartland Gateway Fifth wheel


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Get your kitties harnesses and several bright leashes.  When we started, I had 3 leashes about 6' long and hooked them together so if Kitty did make a dash I had a chance to step on the leash OR a bright red line to point to where she was hiding.  Only needed it once or twice for the dash business.  She learned she never leaves the trailer without her harness on.  We went for practice "walks" (mainly sniffs and sits and lolling around) 'til she got used to it.  We did the same as other have said, put her in the carrier with her gear on and carried her to the truck,  Until I knew I could trust her I didn't open the truck door 'til she was locked back in.

The other thing I did was take her for short rides in the car for something fun so it wasn't associated with the vet anymore.  Treats always in the carrier at the start.She got used to it pretty fast.  We've been on the road 10 years and now she sleeps in her crate most of the time, but she can come and go as she likes.  She learned really fast not to get on the dash or the driver's side.  They'll figure it out.  Make It fun for them and tell them all the cats do it.  That usually works for us.  Ask your vet about "Feel Away."  It's a spray that calms cats down.  Amazon has a lot of links for it.

I don't know if you have slides or not, but the cat always stays in the truck until the slides are out.  That way home always looks like home, she doesn't know the walls move in and out, and the only thing that changes is the view.   It works.

Enjoy your new life.  Your cats want to be with you.  They'll get it.

BTW, I found the forum and Escapees by searching for info on traveling with cats in 2008.  That led to great friendships and lots of help along the way.  Kitty is still with us at 16.

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6 hours ago, rocksbride said:

A small spray bottle that will shoot a stream of water will back kitties away from the door of the trailer. 


That only works if you're standing on the side the door opens.  I have a slide on that side and it prevents me from standing on that side, but it leaves plenty of room for kitty to jump out.  My little shit has gotten out on me 3 times so far this trip.  Now he gets put in the bathroom and the door closed when I take the dogs out until we get back.  It is no fun chasing kitty in the dark.  Damn cat is gonna stress me out. 

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When we were ready to hit the road this morning, the kitty was buried somewhere amongst the boxes we were taking to the grands. She rode in the 5th wheel all the way there. I did stop 1 time for the bathroom and She came out to visit. When I headed for the door she disappeared again. When we got set up she was very happy. She is not afraid of the slides but doesn’t get in the way when they are moving.

Ron C.

2013 Dynamax Trilogy 3850 D3

2000 Kenworth T2000 Optimus Prime

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"That only works if you're standing on the side the door opens." You've got a point there,  remoandiris.  LOL. Kitty still occasionally squibs out if I'm coming in and she's hiding inside and ready to make a dash.   I should have clarified that it works well if you are inside the trailer and so is the cat... continually lurking at the front door.  Yeah, if you're both inside the bottle works.

After all these years, Kitty knows at which of our regular stops she gets to go out and where she can't.  She USUALLY waits for me to get her "belt" on (harness), but if we're in our regular place in the RGV where she feels comfortable sometimes she makes a break for it.

The wildest I ever saw was a pair of Siamese cats in a trailer that had the kitchen counter by the front door.  One of them learned to jump on the counter and press the lever-type handle on the screen door and he and his sister both made a break for it anytime their "mom" forgot to do some fancy lock she'd improvised.  Smart cats.  Kitty knows where the latch is on ours.  Fortunately she's too short to reach.

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I was so afraid my girls would hate being in such a smaller space but now that we've been in the trailer a couple of weeks and things have settled down a bit I think they prefer this to our Condo...  now I have so many windows to open and its so much breezier, the new favorite place is by the screen door watching all the things going on... and birds!  

I have gotten harnesses and leashes and will start to get them use to those even though they will be confined during travel I like the extra security just in case..  and who knows maybe they'll enjoy them enough that they can enjoy the outdoors a bit..  they are experiencing new things just like me and I think in the long run that's a good thing..

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That's wonderful you all are settling in to a new life.  Some cats will actually walk on their leash like dogs.  Mine may take me along a fence line if there is good stuff to sniff.  But don't be disappointed if your experience is like pushing a string.  My Kitty would rather roll around and snooze in a sunny spot while I stand there holding the leash for however long I can stand it. I finally got a stroller for her so we could walk... or I could walk and she could loll while I push her around the park.  Works great, but one thing at a time, eh?

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