The Cat’s First Camping Trip!

Lake Elsinore on a lazy afternoon

Lake Elsinore on a lazy afternoon

 

Here we are, out in the RV again, at Lake Elsinore. I’m sitting at the dinette, staring at the pegboard that covers our broken window. When I look at it, I get a twinge, but it will be made right. I’m glad we didn’t have to postpone this trip due to the break-in.

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Temporary pegboard “fix” for the window broken last week.

We are trying some new things on this trip, setting ourselves up for the succession of short trips we will be doing over the next year or two.

A focus of this trip is our cats. We have two. Milhouse is going to travel with us, and Stanley will stay home.

Stanley is an outside cat. He is now 17 years old, and he is a family fixture. Stanley grew up with my four boys, and he’s a real character…..having more personality than any cat I’ve ever had.

Stanley in younger days.

Stanley in younger days.

Milhouse is much younger, at around 11 years old. He is really my stepson’s cat, but Adam couldn’t take Milhouse with him when he moved out, so he is with us for now. He’s the most laid-back cat I’ve ever been around. Not much bothers Milhouse. You can pick up his 18 pounds anytime…….about 10 seconds of petting and he is purring like crazy. Milhouse is the dog’s competition for our affection. It’s pretty funny to watch these two mess with each other.

Milhouse sitting on his throne (my lap)

Milhouse sitting on his throne (my lap)

We are trying to get set up so we can leave at the drop of a hat, and not have to line up somebody to feed the cats and pick up mail when we are gone.

My initial idea for Stanley was to put an automatic food dispenser out for him. He already has a water feeder that is good for more than a week. Adding the auto food dispenser should have allowed us to leave Stanley outside for the four days that we will be gone. Unfortunately, there was a fly in the ointment. After several days of using the automatic feeder, I started finding it moved around in the morning. Racoons. They didn’t manage to get it open and take all the food, but those critters are really smart, and it was only a matter of time. I had to choose Plan B. Leave Stanley in the garage, with the auto feeder, plenty of water, and a cat box. He’s not going to like that as much, although he loves to sleep in the garage at night. Since we live close to the coast and the garage is under the main part of the house, it never gets very warm in there. He will be safe and comfortable.

Why don’t we just take Stanley? Three problems.

First, at 17 years old, he’s getting pretty frail. As of the last six months, he can’t get over the fence into the backyard anymore. He hates to ride in cars, and putting that kind of stress on him at this age won’t be good.

Second, he is an alpha male that sprays. A lot. He’s not in the house anymore because of that problem, and we don’t need him doing that in our new RV.

And finally, he’s extremely curious and hard to control. He would be constantly trying to bolt out the door of the RV. The last thing I want is for our Stanley to take off and become coyote food.

Milhouse is another matter. He doesn’t have the bad habits that Stanley does. He’s also a male, but he never sprays. He won’t bolt out the door….he’s allowed outside at home, but he never stays out more than a few minutes, and he never leaves the back yard. He adapts well to just about anything.

So how has Milhouse been taking trip so far?

He didn’t like the car trip out to the storage yard very much. We had him in his carrier. He meowed pretty loud at first, but about 20 minutes into the trip he had quieted down almost completely.

Once we got to the coach and started the drive to the RV Park, we put his carrier under the dinette and opened the door. He just sat in there until we arrived at the park. He was quiet the whole time, which surprised me since the RV moves around a lot more than our Honda Accord.

We did put a harness on Milhouse. In fact, he’s been wearing it for the last several weeks. He hated it at first…he would slink around the house like somebody was pushing down on his back. He got used to it after a few days.

Milhouse exploring the RV. Note red harness.

Milhouse exploring the RV. Note red harness.

Now Milhouse has the run of the coach, and he seems to be adapting well. He’s eating fine, and using his cat box too. He found a quiet place to sleep under the end of the bed.

Milhouse under the end of the bed. Leave me alone!

Milhouse under the end of the bed. Leave me alone!

 

The biggest problem we’ve had so far is keeping the dog from wolfing down her food and then trying to eat Milhouse’s food. They eat at the same time at home, but we always feed the dog out in the backyard, and Milhouse inside. We’ll probably start feeding Milhouse his canned cat food right as we are taking the dog for a walk from now on, so he can eat in peace. Luckily, the dog doesn’t like dry cat food. She leaves that alone.

I don’t know if Milhouse will ever like RV trips as much as he would like staying home, but he is tolerating it already. He even jumped up on the dinette bench this morning for some cuddle time. This is going to work out fine.

The jury is still out on how our dog likes her “brother” tagging along. So far she’s been pretty well behaved. Izzy and Milhouse tolerate each other at home, but now they are in a lot smaller space. Time will tell.

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We won’t know for sure how Stanley fared until we get home, of course. We’ll see.

As of right now, I’m just glad to be here. Great place to write and relax.

 

It's post time! Kicking back in the shade and warm breeze with some Banquet and some music.

It’s post time! Kicking back in the shade and warm breeze with some Banquet and some music.

 

 

Categories: Life on the Road | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “The Cat’s First Camping Trip!

  1. jimmy

    Couple suggestions.. Do you have any high places? Like a fold down bed? That’s where I keep my cat food and cat box so my dogs won’t get to it… Also look into the spill proof buddy bowl they are awesome

  2. Bob

    Jimmy, thanks for the great suggestion! Yes, we do have a fold down bunk up front in our Georgetown 328, so I folded it down and put the cat up there. He loves it!

  3. Pingback: Lake Elsinore – RV Trip #3 | The Two Who Wander

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