If you are like many other RVers, a road trip is not complete without your pets. They are a part of the family, of course. They should enjoy all the comfort and enjoyment that comes along with staying in an RV.
Many RVers bring along their cat(s), especially if they react well to rides. Cat owners can make all kinds of modifications to their RV, as straightforward or as involved as they’d like, to help their furry felines acclimate to their home on wheels.
One of the most sought after modifications cat owners new to RVing ask about pertains to the litter box. With such a small space, where could I possibly fit a cat box? How do I control the odor and minimize litter tracking? These are all great questions with very manageable solutions. All it takes is a bit of planning, a little ingenuity, a couple of purchases, and a whole lot of love and care for your kitty cat.
Designate a spot for the litter box.
This is easier said than done. In a place like an RV that has limited space, where would one stick a giant litter box or even two? It may take a few trials, placing it in various places around the rig until the right spot presents itself. Ideally, RVers like to keep the litter box hidden away. This is the preferred human way. Keep the mess and odor out of sight; however, it may not be the best solution for your cat, especially if he/she does not have easy access to it.
Some RVers sit their litter boxes in spots like under a table, inside the shower, or in the back of a chair. All of these spaces are out of the way and can quickly be moved if needed. Provided there is enough room to get around to the box or the bathroom/shower door is left open, these shouldn’t be problem areas for cats.
A conveniently located litter box also helps the cat owner with daily clean up. A poorly placed box can mean unnecessary bending and lifting. This makes something that should be a one minute task into a drawn-out chore that no one wants to do. The be put off, the odors will intensify, and your cat will not be happy climbing into a filthy litter box. This could even discourage your cat from using it.
Sometimes it takes a bit of ingenuity and creativity with litter boxes.
Every square foot of an RV is precious living space. Innocently placing a litter box behind a chair or under a table is sinful in the eyes of some RVers that want to take advantage of all the foot room allotted. In this case, it takes a bit of creativity and resourcefulness, thinking about all the possible hidden spaces tucked away in the RV.
Ashley Mann of RV Inspiration talks about these hidden spots in an RV most would often overlook in her article, “7 Places to Hide a Cat Box in an RV.” She showcases litter boxes in closets, in storage compartments, under a dinette booth, under sinks, under a bed, under steps, in an end table, and inside a storage trunk. For each design, the RVer carved out a door for the cat to enter and exit. With storage bay compartments, Mann suggests utilizing weather stripping and other insulation to minimize drafts.
Minimize odor using these three suggestions.
1. Consider alternative options for litter.
When it comes to litter and small spaces, finding a quality litter that is free of dust and holds in unpleasant odors is key. Whether you are a fan of clumping clay or pine pellets, there is a brand of litter for you and your cat(s).
Why dust-free litter? If you pour litter into a container and a plume of dust comes out, that particular product is not dust free. Breathing in the dust is not only bad for folks that have allergies or suffer from asthma. It’s just plain not good for anyone’s lungs. It is equally harmful to our pets, particularly those that have a history of breathing difficulties.
What’s the big deal about baking soda in a litter product? Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is a natural mineral that absorbs and neutralizes odors. Many brands have baking soda for this very reason. Others have activated charcoal, which functions in the same manner, to eliminate odors. The litter may contain baking soda, activated charcoal, organic fragrances, other natural products, or a combination. The main goal is to absorb or mask odors without the use of harmful substances.
2. Wipe out the litter box regularly.
Another way to significantly decrease stinky litter box smells in the RV is to be sure to clean it out regularly. Not everyone prefers liner bags, so wiping down the walls and entrance with wipes (or spray cleaner and a napkin) after scooping up waste helps deodorize and sanitize the area. These wipes or spray cleaners should not contain any harsh chemicals and usually specify somewhere on the label that it’s safe to use around pets.
When deep cleaning the litter box, use warm water and a mild detergent. Dish soap works well. Some cat enthusiasts suggest scrubbing thoroughly with baking soda and a little bit of warm water. Make sure to rinse out all soapy residue before setting up with litter once more.
3. Dispose of their litter right away.
This tip is simple enough. Dispose of waste as soon as possible. This means scooping the poop or urine clump, bagging it, and disposing of it in the nearest outside receptacle. Dumping waste in the inside trash can does little to contain the smell. The stench is just reeking from another location.
Sometimes there is no nearby dumpster, or you don’t feel like making the journey for one little piece of poo. There are trash cans specifically constructed to help contain cat waste, much like diaper dispensers. Products, like Litter Champ Premium Odor-Free Cat Litter Disposal System and Litter Genie Plus Pail Silver_DX, seal in cat waste and odors using a special bagging system.
Try these items to minimize tracking.
There are so many products on the market that aim to help cat owners with litter tracking. From specially designed litter boxes to mats, the possibilities are endless and can be overwhelming. Here are a few suggestions to help simplify your next shopping trip.
- Litter boxes: Litter boxes with a top entry help decrease tracking. When a cat finishes using the cat box, they leap out onto the lid. This initial leap outside helps loosen and drop excess clay onto the lid, as opposed to the floor. Sometimes the top will have grooves to help loosen and trap the litter. To save on money, some cat owners have purchased a storage box and cut out an entry/exit hole in the lid. They cut out and adhere a portion of a carpet to the lid to help trap excess litter when the cat jumps out.
- Mats: Setting a mat outside the litter box entrance does wonder to trap excess clay and pellets. Not any mat will do, though. Since the goal is to trap litter as the cat exits the box, mats with any kind of traction will do. These could be rubber mats with grooves, old carpets, shaggy bath mats, or a throw rug.
- Litter: The smaller the litter pieces, the more likely it will find itself scattered around the RV. Using larger granules or pellet litter can help slow down tracking. Plus, many brands have these size options without compromising dust-free and odor control features.
Check out how an RV couple arranged litter boxes for their 4 cats.
Jacqui and Joseph of RV Adventures with Pets travel in their motorhome full-time with their four cats and one dog. Check out their video below. They mention four criteria of an ideal litter box. It should be out of sight, emit little if any odor, easy to clean and eliminate tracking to the rest of the RV. Jacqui and Joseph talk about how they incorporated these factors with their customized litter box set-up.
Making your furry feline(s) feel right at home on the road or camped out in the wilderness involves taking care of their many needs. Being clued in on how to manage one of their most basic needs will not only make RVing more pleasant, but it will sure help make your cat a purrfectly happy camper.
About The Author: Natalie Henley and her husband, Levi, have been full-time RVers for over 5 years. They have also been Coach-Net customers for the same amount of time. They travel and workcamp around the U.S. in their 26-foot Itasca Sunstar motorhome with their two cats. They write for multiple RV-related publications and recently co-wrote “Seasonal Workamping for a Living: How We Did It.” You can follow their adventures on the road at henleyshappytrails.com.
Meacham C. ~ ” The call agents were excellent and kept me informed until assistance arrived. Every time I contact Coach-Net it is a great example of high-quality customer service and problem resolution.”