Are you dreaming about Van Life with a cat & are wondering how achievable this is ? Well, its your lucky day because here you’ll find the answers to all your questions! In fact we are sharing some hot tips with you on how to travel with your cat & join the Vancat movement! First, there are two things to consider before even creating a shopping list or picking up tools to accomodate for your adventure cat. One, you will need to make sure you & your kitty are both comfortable with the idea of your cat being outside. This means you will probably have your cat harness trained (check our Free Cat Guide for that). Two, you will need to prep your camper-van for its new guest of honour.
In this article I am going to focus on the latter.
What to consider to do Van Life with A Cat
1: Kitty’s feeding station
First things first, your cat will obviously need a feeding station. We all know that packing and unpacking quickly becomes frustrating in vanlife. So, when it comes to your cat’s feeding you want to find a solution that doesn’t involve packing & unpacking every time you hit the road. But that is yet not taking an important piece of real estate in your van.
In the best case scenario you would have set in stone feeding station, prehaps even one on a sliding system. Whether or not you can craete something as engineered you will still need to cover the containers, so they don’t spill over while driving. So, the option is to use containers that come with lids !
2: Enclosed Cat Litter Box is Essential for Van Life with a Cat !
Accomodating a litter box for your adventure cat is probably going to be your biggest challenge van cat wise. Our best piece of advice is definitely to enclose the litter box into a piece of furniture depending of your camper-van layout, you might be able to create a cabby hole underneath the couch or bed. If so, that is your best option. By doing so, you won’t have to keep putting away while you drive, it will reduce the amount of litter your cat scatters around your van & it will keep some of the smell away from your nose for a better Van life with a cat experience !
Fun Fact: Nala likes to go outside, but sometimes the soil is too hard to dig. So we got a little gardening shovel, wich we use to “pre‑dig” the ground for her. She is so spoiled van cat !
3: Cat Scratcher
Your adventure cat will have a great time scratching trees outdoors, but what about the 8 hours you will spend sleeping or away from your van?Of course, you could simply buy a cat scratcher from a pet shop & set it up on the floor, but we find this cumbersome & unpractical since floor space is a valued real estate in a van. You could also have set the scratcher in a bottom draw; like this, its easier to pack & unpack. However, we believe the best way is to create a scratcher on a piece of furniture you already have, such as a table foot or a wall. I promise you, your vancat will love it !
Fun Fact: We simply covered the table foot with some glue, ran over a thick rope & that was the job done! Nala absolutely loves it. She diggs her front claws onto it and wiggles her bottom like she works in a strip club.
4: Sleeping Arrangements for your Adventure Cat
Your cat might appreciate having one designated bed just for them instead of sharing your bed all the time.This one will depend if your cat’s personality, as some prefer to be high up, others like to be hidden & so on. But also on your camper-van & layout.You could install a cat hammock on a window or create a cabby hole for your van cat to hide underneath the couch.
Fun Fact: Nala has a Closet fetish, so we got a wicker basket that we use for dirty linen. Nala loves it; the fuller the basket, the better!
5: A Safe ” Van Life with a Cat ” journey
By law, you will have to have your van cat secured adequately while driving. There are different ways you can go about that one (depending on your local laws). You might have a kitty carrier at your foot, or a fixed cage in the back of the van or perhaps a driving carrier with a special belt to clip onto the harness. Please check your local laws to ensure you are doing the correct thing.
If you decide to go with a fixed cage somewhere in your camper-van, this space can also double as a safe space to lock your kitty up when you are stopping on the side of the road to empty your own litter box, fill up water, and so on. Since, we (vanlifers) all know that multi-purpose spaces are critical to a great van build, it could also double up as your cat’s sleeping spot.