Long ago and far away in a land elsewhere, we travelled with a cat. When we originally bought a motorhome we went away only for two or three nights at a time. We had two indoor cats and would leave them at home to keep each other company. They had many litter trays, an automatic feeder and lots of water bowls. All was fine. It never occurred to us that we might take them travelling.
Then one of them died. We could not leave the other alone and by then we were planning longer trips anyway, having got the hang of this motorhoming lark. Thus began Teddy’s travelling life.
It worried us. He was 15 years old. How would he take to it at his age? Well, the answer to that was “like a duck to water”. He travelled for two years and seemingly loved every moment. Then he too died and left us with a cat-shaped hole in our hearts.
We agreed. No more cats. Just Nell. As we downsized the van, it seemed the correct decision. No room for a litter tray in the Roadtrek…
Chloé however had other ideas. She simply moved in with us when we bought the new house.
As time moved on, we had to replace the Roadtrek with another van. The Hymer is smaller than the RT but more spacious and just about offers room for a litter tray. We had hoped that Chloé would travel with us and we tried to familiarise her with the motorhome by leaving the door open on fine days and hoping that she would let herself in. In the evenings we would have our meal in the van and take her in with us. She demanded to be let out. We kept on trying. She made it clear that she was an Outdoor Cat and not to be confined against her will.
Then Dusty came into our lives. We did not mean to keep him. He was half dead, a tiny runty kitten with eyes glued shut. I picked him up, took him home and started to find a rescue organisation to take him in. He survived, I did not find a rescue willing to take him and he remains with us to this day.
Chloé was outraged. She took an instant dislike to the kitten and much of the progress that we had made with her went out of the window.
When it came time to make our first trip away in the new van it was clear that Chloé was not ready to join us. We simply left her at home and took the kitten with us. Chloé had been living independently before we came along and we knew that she would be fine on her own. The weather was good. She was used to living in our outbuildings, we had a neighbour come to check her water and she had a 99 day automatic feeder. All would be fine.
Except for the fact that it wasn’t. It turned out that little Chloé had actually become attached to us and she missed us.
She still wasn’t getting on with little Dusty.
He didn’t really offer much of a threat…
We continued working on the issues but realised that Chloé needed a new home. I tried hard to find her one but was unsuccessful so when it was time to leave for an extended trip over the Winter, there was nothing to do but to bundle both cats up, shove them into the van and hope for the best (whilst expecting the worst.)
With its U-shaped rear lounge layout, the Hymer has plenty of room to place a travel cage in safety. Our cage can be divided into two, for two cats but we rightly thought it far too early to stress the cats by confining them so closely. Dusty went into the cage and Chloé into a travel carrier placed next to it. We sprayed the air liberally with Feliway, took a deep breath and drove off into the unknown.
Ten minutes later we pulled into a lay-by as Chloé had escaped her carrier. It was going to be a long journey.
To be continued…