Our Three Traveling Pets
There are two questions that people ask us almost every time they hear about our lifestyle, how do the pets handle being on the road? and How do you afford it? Today I want to tackle the first question about our traveling pets and how the handle being on the road. The easy answer is that they love it! Of course, there’s a bit more to it than that and I’ll break it down here. If you’re curious about how we afford it, you can see how we saved for this trip here. But for right now, lets focus on our 3 traveling pets
Our Traveling Pets – Pet 1: Dude
We have two cats. Our 10 year old white fluffy cat named Dude, and our approximately 4 year old tuxedo cat named The Baby (not just baby, she knows her name as “The Baby”, haha!).
I’ve had Dude since she was 9 months old and I was 21. I was in University, moved every year and I took her on frequent road trips between my hometown and the city I went to school in. She is used to a mobile lifestyle. On top of that, she is used to change. Between moving apartments, she also has had a variety of animal “siblings” in her life. I’ve fostered animals, taken care of friends pets for a few months here and there, and she has always adjusted to her expanding and shrinking housemates with ease. I think I got it lucky with Dude. She is a very loving, social and adaptable pet.
Our Traveling Pets – Pet 2: The Baby
Right after Devon and I got married, he wanted to get another cat. We looked around and eventually found The Baby at the SPCA. She was about 2 years old from the SPCAs estimation and she was timid, skinny and purred like a machine. We brought her home the first night and slowly got her used to our house. All we know about her is that she had previously been spayed (before the SPCA got her), and that she was found living on the streets. She clearly was used to human affection and we think someone probably dumped her on the street after adopting her.
The Baby had a hard time settling into our home. She screamed in the windows NON-STOP for months. We were at our wits end. Finally, we thought we figured out one of her problems. She had extremely dry skin and it seemed to be paining her. Devon was the only one who could get her to calm down by holding her and rubbing her belly. We took her to the vet and they told us she was in heat! How could that be when she had already been fixed?
Well, we contacted the SPCA and they booked her in for an operation to look around. It turns out, she has a birth defect and only has one kidney. When the initial vet spayed her, they must not have been familiar with this defect as they accidentally left one of her ovaries in. Because there was no kidney, the ovary was further up than typical. With her now properly spayed, she finally started to calm down. We were so relieved. I’m not one to give up on an animal but we were really nearing our wits end with her. I think her previous owners were fed up with her and that’s how she wound up on the streets.
It all worked out though, she is now our rambunctious, lovable little traveling baby.
Life on the Road
I mentioned this backstory because it plays into how they handle being on the road. Traveling with pets isn’t always easy. Luckily, Dude adjusted perfectly. To her, it is no different than being at home. She was timid for the first five minutes and its been smooth sailing since then.
The Baby is another story. She is a scaredy cat and lots of random things freak her out. We introduced this lifestyle to her slowly. We would take the cats to the RV when it was parked in the yard and slowly got her used to the new space. Then we would have her in it while the engine was running. Then we drove up and down the driveway. We slowly got her used to being in the RV while we drove. We also used this Feliway spray that is designed for cats and has naturally calming scents in it. This helped her and she doesn’t need it anymore.
Now? Well she loves it. She’s perfectly at ease, has her favorite places in the RV where she likes to lounge and she loves to watch all the different birds that come to her windows.
A large amount of space in the RV is taken up by their creature comforts. We have their massive cat condo (similar to the one in this link) that they love, two big beds, toys galore and of course their food dishes. Bringing familiar items helped with their adjustment and the condo does duel purpose as it gives Dude the height she needs to be able to jump up on the bed.
We originally bought two cat harnesses and leashes because we thought having them in a smaller space would cause them to need more exercise/want to go outside. We were so wrong. Dude is nearing retirement and has no interest in exploring the great outdoors. The Baby remembers life on the streets and is absolutely petrified of going outside. I think she realizes how good she has it inside, haha!
Our Traveling Pets – Pet 3: Goof
We got Goof a few days after we came home from Africa in October 2017. In fact, her very first collar was actually purchased at a craft shop in Namibia! She was 12 weeks old when we got her. We already owned the van, so she got used to seeing it right away. We ended up listing our house at the end of 2017, and it sold a few months later. So, before her first birthday she was already used to living in it as we moved into it in May 2018. Goof is happiest when she is with us. Since we adopted her, the longest she’s spent apart from us is 24 hours when she spent a night with her BFF Moose and his parents, our good friends, Jackie and Kevin.
There are a few must-haves for us while RVing with a large, young dog like Goof. We purchased this bike mount attachment, which allows us to take her biking while still on leash. She loves to run and really gets into it! We also purchased this dog sledding harness to go with the bike attachment. This harness is designed to not choke her when she pulls and instead redistributes the pressure so that she doesn’t chafe.
Other things that have made RVing easier with Goof is this leash. It’s an umbilical style leash which means we can easily walk with her beside us and be handsfree at the same time. Also, having durable toys for her are essential. We generally stick with Kong brand as she’s a tough chewer.
How Do They All Get Along?
Goof and The Baby have a special relationship as well. They are very close to each other and often play and cuddle. Dude gets in on the cuddles occasionally but she typically prefers sleep over playtime. Goof is half Great Pyrenees which are bred to care for flocks of sheep and small animals. They are protectors and Goof is no exception. She is gentle and nurturing to her kitties and they thank her with head butts and cuddles. It’s really special to see them all together.
All in all, they’ve adapted amazingly well to this mobile lifestyle and we wouldn’t have it any other way.