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Fulltime RV Travel With Pets

The RV Kitty Litter Quandary Solved

breezeThe RV Kitty Litter Quandary Solved!

When contemplating living in a RV full time, I try to imagine living with The Zoo. The Zoo currently consists of a husband, German Shepherd and two cats. The husband has the duty now when we camp to walk the dog and dutifully pick up after the dog duty and discard appropriately. Easy. But then there are the two strictly indoor cats and the question of how to arrange for and what to do with kitty litter.

I have experimented with all kinds of kitty litters for the very best odor control, clumping and price while in the sticks and bricks. My intent is to find that perfect litter, get the cats used to using it while we are in the sticks and bricks, giving the cat’s one less traumatic thing to not have to worry about when we start full timing.

The one thing I learned is the better the clumping and odor control, the more expensive the litter, and I was going to settle on The World’s Greatest Cat Litter, which runs around $10 a bag and is about 10 lbs. It clumps great, really good odor control along with the usual tracking and dust. Then, I found on FTRVing Facebook Group the suggestion from Stephanie Mulac to try The Breeze System by Tidy Cat. Here is my review of using this product after a month and why I think it is the answer for full time RVing.

I studied the web site http://www.tidycats.com/products/breeze regarding what makes kitty litter a ‘system’, what products there are and of course the transition process for the cats. Yes, there is a transition process because it is not ‘litter’ as you know it (or the cats know it), but pellets that have an incredible ability to dry when wet and not smell. I followed the transition directions that the web site suggested, and my cats did great. Warning: if you are eating, you may want to wait to read the rest of this because it deals with kitty litter contents.

These pellets only need to be changed once a month (I would say more often if you have more than 2 cats). The pellets come in a small 3.5 lb bag, which is light enough for RV concerns and will be much easier to store than boxed litter. The system is this: pellets are in a litter box that has a grid of holes on the bottom. Underneath the kitty box is a tray that slides underneath, with a super absorbent pad. This pad I need to change every 5 days. When the cats urinate, the pee goes thru the pellets (as well as small poo pieces) through the grid onto the super absorbent pad. When the cat’s poo, you scoop the litter, the pellets fall through the scooper and you can flush the poo. Yes, you can flush pure cat poo in a RV toilet to the gray tank. Be sure that there are no pellets sticking to the poo – I would not want to see that go to the gray tank. So your only throw away waste is absorbent pads every 5 days and pellets once a month. The scooper hangs on the side of the box.

The greatest RV benefit: there is absolutely NO ODOR. I will place the box in the stall shower in the RV because the toilet is right there. It is light enough to pick up and move out of the way. Costs? I went to Pet Smart and the whole starter kit was $30. I was able to find the pellets and pads in our local grocery, the pellets about $8 and pads $6 for pack of 4. The Breeze System is worth every penny for space savings, weight savings, no litter tracking or dust and being able to flush poo without worrying about the gray tank.

Now if I can just get the German Shepherd to stop trying to herd the cats in the sticks and bricks, because that won’t work in a 5th wheel.

Child-Free RVing

When people find out that we’re young and not retired, they often ask if we travel with our children. My response is, “Of course — we aren’t about to go anywhere without our family on board.” But when I explain that our kids are small and hairy and poop in a box, this confuses folks mightily — until they realize that I’m talking about our cats!

Downsizing The Family

When I mention ‘kids” and “RVing” in the same sentence, I realize that I should clarify a few things about full-timing.as a family. There are one or two brave souls out there who manage to travel year-round with children in tow. They either homeschool or stop in one place for the school year, then hit the road during the summer. And I think these people are completely insane! I’m just kidding — more power to them. Those kids are going to be amazing adults, thanks to all the incredible experiences they will have growing up on the road. But I couldn’t do it. And neither can most full-timers.

That’s why RVers tend to be either retired empty-nesters or permanently child-free, like us. There’s no way Matt and I would have ever considered such a radical move with kids. I’m sure we would have put it off until a “someday” that never arrived, and missed out on the experience of a lifetime. So our intentional failure to procreate was actually the best decision we could have made! But traveling year-round doesn’t have to mean living in a family-free zone. You will find that many full-timers do bring their “children” with them — in fact most RVers wouldn’t dream of leaving their babies at home while they trot the globe. I’m speaking, of course, about pets. My children are Crowley and Aziraphale — two beautiful white kitties named for the heavenly angel and fallen angel in the book “Good Omens” (and man, do they live up to their reputations!)

Watching them make the transition from house to trailer was certainly — interesting. But honestly, it was no more difficult than when we moved from a condo to a house. Once they recognized this rolling tin can as home and figured out where we had hidden the litter box, they were fine. And compared to the horror stories some people have told us about their pets peeing up in the car, getting sick in transit, or worrying themselves bald from the stress, our little girls have actually adapted quite nicely to our traveling lifestyle. Of course, Matt and I do have to tolerate some sibling rivalry and a little overcrowding at night (when everyone piles into bed with us), but I’ll talk more about my babies and their “quirks” later on! Suffice it to say, we don’t go anywhere without the whole “family” — child-free though that family may be. They’re still our babies (furbabies, to be exact.) Taking our family on the road with us is essential to Matt’s and my RVing experience.

Copyright Ramona Creel, all rights reserved. Ramona Creel is a modern Renaissance woman and guru of simplicity — traveling the country as a full-time RVer, sharing her story of radically downsizing, and inspiring others to regain control of their own lives. As a Professional Organizer and Accountability Coach, Ramona will help you create the time and space to focus on your true priorities — clearing away the clutter other obstacles and standing in the way of that life you’ve always wanted to be living. As a Professional Photographer, Ramona captures powerful images of places and people as she travels. And as a travel writer, social commentator, and blogger, she shares her experiences and insights about the world as we know it. You can see all these sides of Ramona — read her articles, browse through her photographs, and even hire her to help get your life in order — at www.RamonaCreel.com. And be sure to follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.

Stale Popcorn

Life In An RV Story Submitted by Jody Scholl:

Every member of the Scholl Bus crew loves a wide variety of animals, Lydia is no exception to that rule.  In fact, she may be more attached to animals than anyone else in the family.  Several months ago, she became hyper focused on getting a pet rat.  She began researching rats, how to care for them, their dietary requirements, can you train them to do tricks, and do they travel well?  Every day, random rat facts would be introduced into conversations.  Her desire to have a pet rat became the focus of everything she did, she wanted to know how she could help out around the bus or with her sisters to earn “Rat Points”.

Lydia had proven to us that she was serious about her love of rats, so we told her we would try to find some on Craigslist that needed a new home.  We contacted many of the listings via email, text, and phone calls.  She started to get depressed when so few of them returned our calls or messages, and the ones that did seemed to keep saying the rats had already found new homes.

One afternoon, while we were cruising through Muncie, Indiana, getting a new phone for Chas due to a porta-pottie incident, we were called back about a pair of rats that needed a new home.  They were free and came with a cage and a lot of supplies, so it sounded great.  We went to pick them up and Lydia fell in love (who would have expected that).

They were very friendly, and never offered to bite, so they had a new traveling home.  She soon settled on the names Ellie Mae and Pearl (both from the Beverly Hillbillies TV Show).  Ellie is always hungry, so we have determined she is always looking to fill her “Ellie Belly”.  Pearl is our local marathon runner, she runs on her squeaky wheel all night long.

The cage we received with the rats was a nice large cage, the wire portion does not attach very well to the bottom pan as we learned a few weeks ago.  Ellie has taken some pages out of the Houdini archives, and has figured out how to pull on the bottom of the cage, expose a hole, and squeeze through.  Since she is always hungry, we started giving her treats as soon as she escaped her little prison.  Now, she runs to us as soon as she is out, which turned out to be good and bad at the same time.

Sound asleep in my little bed, I awoke to a funny sound.  I didn’t know what it was at first, then it hit me…  I had a visitor in my bed, and it was on my pillow sniffing in my ear wanting a snack.  I managed to get her back in her cage laughing all the way.  Those little whiskers tickle in your ear, maybe she had been trying to plant subliminal messages in my mind as I slept.  All I remember is getting up the next morning, sleepily preparing her some espresso and a bagel with strawberry cream cheese, while I had a few pieces of stale popcorn.

Check out other critter tales and short stories on our site www.theschollbus.com.

If you enjoyed this story and would like to vote for Jody – please leave a comment below!

(Enjoy all the other stories submitted by clicking here – you can vote on as many stories as you like, but your vote will only count once per story. Have Fun!)

Hunter of The Night

Life In An RV Story Submitted by Rebecca Ann:

One year before my family started traveling full time my cat Scooter surprised us by having three adorable little kittens! Though the kittens were not expected we loved them and decided to keep them. Born in late July, by the time Christmas decorating time rolled around our kittens were half grown and very active. We had a lively household with four cats running around and playing all of the time!

 

The Christmas that we first had the kittens was also the first Christmas that my family decided to use a real tree instead of our good old fake one. We all paraded off to a nearby Christmas tree farm and as soon as we came back home we began blaring the Christmas music and decking the tree out with our most extravagant decorations.

 

As we decorated, all of our cats were fascinated with the tree! The kittens had not been outside yet since we lived in a pretty rural area, and this was the first bit of nature our little pets had seen. At first they just stared at this large green intruder that had entered their domain, but after sniffing around it for a few minutes they abandoned the massive monster to bat around the silvery ornaments that  we were trying to hang on the branches.

 

After a few days we noticed that our mama cat, Scooter, was acting kind of strange around the tree. At first we thought that she was mesmerized by the twinkling lights and the sparkling tinsel, but then when we woke up in the mornings we started finding that ornaments had fallen off the tree and been thrown across the living room. We did not totally understand this, but the mystery was soon solved when we began watching Scooter more closely.

We soon noticed that sometimes after staring at the tree for a while she would jump up onto the couch next to the tree, and then leap up into the branches of our Christmas tree!!! This explained why the ornaments were scattered, but we did not really know why our cat was so fascinated with entering our tree.

Sometimes Scooter simply liked to curl up in the tree and rest. I have to admit this was pretty adorable! It can be so cute when you are sitting by a Christmas tree and suddenly a cats head is poking out of the branches above you. At least until the cat decides to pounce down on top of you that is!
So that partially explained why out cat loved the tree, but it did not fully explain why she would often stare so intently within its branches, it was almost as if she was looking for something. It also didn’t explain why when she was in the tree you would often hear her moving around, rustling the ornaments, and jumping within the branches.

Eventually she began moving more and more vigorously within the branches, sometimes it would even seem like she was going to tip the tree over! Actually once she DID almost tip the tree over! One day she was nestled within the tree and she began moving vigorously in it, shaking the ornaments, and even making small mewling sounds every so often. And then she made a large jump, landed up near the top of the tree and started pulling it down with her weight! She almost succeeded in toppling the tree over but luckily we were able to stop it before it fell completely. This happened a few more times and we began trying harder and harder to keep her away from the tree.

 

One night we did not pay attention to the whereabouts of Scooter because she got into the tree again. We were doing school in the living room, where the tree was, when suddenly the tree began rattling and shaking violently. We all knew that Scooter was in the tree again, and we might have let her stay in the tree but the tree had never shaken like this before! It was like Scooter was fighting the tree, by the sounds she was making we assumed she was playing with an ornament.

We all leapt up and began trying to grab our cat and get her out of the tree before she toppled it again! After what must gave been ten minutes we finally managed to grab a hissing Scooter, and we put her safely away from the tree. But then- we noticed something strange was at the foot of the tree. We bent down to see what it was and saw a small frog! Scooter had just killed it, or so we thought!

The little guy was just stunned and once it got away from Scooter it was soon hopping around again. It turned out that our cat had been hunting the poor little frog for the entire time our tree had been up! We tossed the frog outside, praised Scooter for successfully hunting and we all had a good laugh!

After that day, although our cats still liked to rest in the tree, they never tried to hunt anything in it again. This is a great holiday memory of mine, and definitely a memorable one!

If you enjoyed this story and would like to vote for Rebecca – please leave a comment below!

(Enjoy all the other stories submitted by clicking here – you can vote on as many stories as you like, but your vote will only count once per story. Have Fun!)

 

Fulltime RV Travel With Pets – General Tips

Safety first! Make sure things are securely fastened so they don’t accidentally fall on your pets while you’re in motion. Try not to stop too quickly, and be careful when opening the doors at rest stops, gas stations, etc. Also, if you have cats or small dogs, be very mindful when using the slide-outs. Never put them in or out if you don’t know where the little ones are.

Consider your pet’s personality. As a general rule most pets do great in motorhomes… but it’s possible YOUR pet won’t. If you have older, nervous, or more established-in-their-ways animals, it’s a good idea to make sure they can handle the upset before you make any solid travel plans.

Do a dry run. Park your RV for a few days and let your pets acclimate to the new environment before you actually go anywhere. Give them small bits of cheese or chicken when they come inside, or leave it on the ground in each room for them to find while they explore (our border collie spent the first day playing “Lava Monster” with the linoleum floor, but he slowly forgot all about that once he realized the “lava” sometimes had cheese on it). Spend at least one night in the RV without driving, letting them sleep, eat, and play with some toys just like it was home (because, after all, it is!).

Keep medical records on hand. Have copies of your pets’ medical history, allergies, and proof of vaccines signed by your vet. These come in handy not only if they get sick on the road, but also if you cross any international borders (you’ll almost always need to show proof of rabies vaccine).

Keep cool! Probably one of the biggest dangers for RV pets is the possibility of overheating during warm weather. Most RVs are sadly lacking in insulation, so if it’s hot outside it’s going to be hot inside. When you leave them alone in warm weather, keep the AC on and use fans as a back-up in case of power issues. If it isn’t hot enough to need the AC, you should still always keep the windows open and a fan on to prevent over-heating in even mild temperatures.

Let them find their space. And they will, almost every time, find the most random space they can! Many pets love to sun themselves on the dashboard (we’ve even seen a couple of 50lb. dogs up there!), for instance, but even if it’s less public they’re definitely going to find some nooks and crannies to call their own. Some folks go to extremes to provide clever spots (like cutting into storage bins or cupboards to make cat hide-outs), but I wouldn’t recommend it unless you’re certain they will love it. We were convinced that the bed above the cab would be the only fur-free space in the motorhome (since it’s too high for our dog to get to), but naturally we were wrong. It’s our pup’s favorite spot, relative inaccessibility be damned.

Call ahead. In our experience the vast majority of RV parks are very pet-friendly (although you’ll still want to double check before setting off on a long journey), but many campgrounds are less so. Some places also have specific breed or size restrictions.

Get a collar with tags. Include your name, address, and cell phone number, and perhaps even “reward if found” or “needs daily meds” to help ensure a speedy return. Microchipping your pet (fairly cheap at your vet) or getting a collar with a GPS tracker (fairly expensive!) are also possibilities, but I would pair them with tags rather that use them alone.

This article is a guest post from Technosyncratic.com

Full Time RV Travel With Pets – The True Story Of Go Pet Friendly

Imagine selling all your property, packing up all your belongings in an RV and going on the road full-time. Now add two dogs and two people into the mix. Meet Rod and Amy Burkett and their dogs, Ty and Buster. That’s exactly what they did.

Rod and Amy travel extensively, from one end of the country to the other. And Ty and Buster accompany them everywhere they go. Along the way, they’ve had to work out some problems and find some innovative solutions. Also along the way, Go Pet Friendly was born.

Go Pet Friendly: Pet travel made simple

If you see the Go Pet Friendly RV, you’ll know it instantly. It is wrapped in the words Go Pet Friendly in huge lettering you can’t miss. Rod and Amy travel the country and make note of their journey on the website, GoPetFriendly.com

At GoPetFriendly.com, you’ll find invaluable information about traveling with your pet. Which cities are pet-friendly? Where can you find a pet-friendly hotel? What about a camp ground that allows dogs? Or a pet-friendly beach or park to take your dog to play? You’ll find all that and more on GoPetFriendly.

And what do Ty and Buster do in their spare time? Why, they blog, of course. What else would two self-respecting dogs do to earn a living? Check out Ty and Buster’s new blog on Life With Dogs. They’re quite a pair!

This article was written by Lorie Huston currently works as a small animal veterinarian in Providence, dealing primarily with dogs and cats. She has been practicing veterinary medicine since 1986. …

 

General Tips For Traveling With Pets

Safety first! Make sure things are securely fastened so they don’t accidentally fall on your pets while you’re in motion. Try not to stop too quickly, and be careful when opening the doors at rest stops, gas stations, etc. Also, if you have cats or small dogs, be very mindful when using the slide-outs. Never put them in or out if you don’t know where the little ones are.

Consider your pet’s personality. As a general rule most pets do great in motorhomes… but it’s possible YOUR pet won’t. If you have older, nervous, or more established-in-their-ways animals, it’s a good idea to make sure they can handle the upset before you make any solid travel plans.

Do a dry run. Park your RV for a few days and let your pets acclimate to the new environment before you actually go anywhere. Give them small bits of cheese or chicken when they come inside, or leave it on the ground in each room for them to find while they explore (our border collie spent the first day playing “Lava Monster” with the linoleum floor, but he slowly forgot all about that once he realized the “lava” sometimes had cheese on it). Spend at least one night in the RV without driving, letting them sleep, eat, and play with some toys just like it was home (because, after all, it is!).

Keep medical records on hand. Have copies of your pets’ medical history, allergies, and proof of vaccines signed by your vet. These come in handy not only if they get sick on the road, but also if you cross any international borders (you’ll almost always need to show proof of rabies vaccine).

Keep cool! Probably one of the biggest dangers for RV pets is the possibility of overheating during warm weather. Most RVs are sadly lacking in insulation, so if it’s hot outside it’s going to be hot inside. When you leave them alone in warm weather, keep the AC on and use fans as a back-up in case of power issues. If it isn’t hot enough to need the AC, you should still always keep the windows open and a fan on to prevent over-heating in even mild temperatures.

Let them find their space. And they will, almost every time, find the most random space they can! Many pets love to sun themselves on the dashboard (we’ve even seen a couple of 50lb. dogs up there!), for instance, but even if it’s less public they’re definitely going to find some nooks and crannies to call their own. Some folks go to extremes to provide clever spots (like cutting into storage bins or cupboards to make cat hide-outs), but I wouldn’t recommend it unless you’re certain they will love it. We were convinced that the bed above the cab would be the only fur-free space in the motorhome (since it’s too high for our dog to get to), but naturally we were wrong. It’s our pup’s favorite spot, relative inaccessibility be damned.

Call ahead. In our experience the vast majority of RV parks are very pet-friendly (although you’ll still want to double check before setting off on a long journey), but many campgrounds are less so. Some places also have specific breed or size restrictions.

Get a collar with tags. Include your name, address, and cell phone number, and perhaps even “reward if found” or “needs daily meds” to help ensure a speedy return. Microchipping your pet (fairly cheap at your vet) or getting a collar with a GPS tracker (fairly expensive!) are also possibilities, but I would pair them with tags rather that use them alone.

This article was published by Christy

Full-Time RVing With A Pet

It’s really not hard to travel with your pet. Whether you are becoming a full-time RVer or just traveling for a short period of time, don’t hesitate or be afraid to take your little furry love one with you. Most pets travel well, with a few exceptions to some that may get car sickness.

When we first started out as full-timers, we had a six year old Heinz 57, named Coco Marie. Now Coco was very loyal (specially to my husband, Brian). She loved to go camping and thought each trip was a great adventure. So when we hit the road, she was ready-for the most part.

However, just like humans, they need to adapt to the change as well. Usually pets are happy as long as they are with their master. But they also have a routine and don’t like changes as well. So it’s our jobs to make sure that they stay happy and are adjusting to the new changes in their lives.

Here are some helpful tips to help your pet adjust to the new changes in their life:

  • First of all, take them for long walks in their “new” territory. Allow them to sniff and check out all the new smells to them.
  • Try not to change their eating pattern. This helps with the new transaction. If feeding on a regular basis, it’s important to keep that pattern going on the road. This way they feel that ALL hasn’t changed with them. Coco would go through a period when she wouldn’t eat. So I made a game out of eating. I would pretend that I would eat her food if she didn’t-worked every time!
  • After a while, they will realize they are not going “home” and may slip into a depression. Make sure you take extra time to give them extra loving and hugs. Talk soothing to your pet, if they hear your voice and hear how relax you are, they too will calm down and relax.
  • With the exceptions of motor homes; DON’T allow your pet to ride in the rig, but instead in the vehicle with you. If you normally put your pet in a kennel or cage when traveling, keep that routine. That’s their “safe haven”. But don’t forget about them in there. Make sure that you talk to them, pet them, give them a little snack or treat to let them know all is okay. Both of our dogs ALWAYS has rode up front with us. We have a bed where Leah sits/lays on and she is allowed to look around. We have taught her that she is NOT allowed on my lap when I am driving, but occasionally she is allowed on her daddy’s lap to snooze, smell or look at different scenery.
  • While on the road make sure that your pet gets plenty of water. It’s VERY, VERY important to keep them hydrated. Coco wouldn’t drink when we were on the road, and we would have to encourage her to drink by placing small amounts of water on her snoot. Leah drinks fairly well, but again we sometimes have to do that same method to her as well.
  • Take more breaks and longer. Just like you, your pet needs to stop and do their business as well as stretch their legs. Allow them a little extra time to sniff and smell.

When you stop to buy food, maybe buy your pet a special treat that they love. Remember-human food isn’t good for them….We use to feed Coco human food and every once in a while we would buy her a burger with nothing on it. She loved it! Now, Leah we don’t feed human food, but we buy special little treats for her instead. Sometimes we will buy her a bone so that when we stop, she really can have a special treat.

You can take your pet into Canada and Mexico; although we haven’t done that, we know people that have. From our understanding, you will need to take their shot records (which have to be updated) and I believe an updated physical exam that has been done within the 6 mo to year. Ask your vet what will be required, he should know. We always ask for copies whenever we take our pet to the vet and we keep them in the truck so we have them with us where ever we go, should we need them.

The one place you probably won’t want to take your pet to is Hawaii. In order for you loving pet to visit Hawaii, they must be guaranteed (yes, away from you) for a lengthy time. To me that would send me into a depression-imagine what it would do to them! So if you want to visit that state, maybe leave your pet with someone that you trust your own life with to take care of them.

Veterinarians: They are not hard to find and are in most cities and small towns. We have only found one since traveling that we questioned his ability as a veterinarian. It was with Coco and the place wasn’t the cleanest. We probably should have walked out and gone to another town, but we didn’t. He wanted to test her for Heart Worm Disease and then he try to tell us that she tested positive. We knew there was no way, for she was ALWAYS on the Heart Guard. So make sure you check the vet out. AND it’s VERY, VERY important that you keep up on your pets yearly shots and physical. Also make sure you do the monthly flea & tick med and the monthly Heart Guard. KEEP YOUR PET HEALTHY, WISE & HAPPY!!

We hope you find this helpful when making that decision about traveling with your pet. Remember they ARE part of you!!!

This guest post has been contributed by Leah Kay. To view more content from this author go to Leah Kay’s HubPage