Travelling in a VAN for 3 months, with a CAT. Are you stupid?
Everyone said no, you have to get someone to look after her you can’t do that. The van will stink of s#%t all the time, gross! How do we actually do this?
We googled, you tubed, read blogs and endless content for hours about this subject and it was really hard to find some definitive proof that this was possible. We weren’t super confident at first about having her in the van, because she’s a cat and CATS DON’T TRAVEL. Cats aren’t adaptable to different situations, cats don’t have the brains to enjoy being in different areas and travelling. What were we thinking? Well, Gertie isn’t just any cat and she totally embraced van life!
We thought we would ease her into it by taking her on 2 & 3 night trips in the van when we were camping in the summer. The first trip we did just a few days after we adopted her from the shelter. We drove to the arctic circle from Marsh Lake, a good day drive to Dawson City and then another good day drive to reach the arctic circle. No joke, this cat literally meowed from Marsh Lake to Pelly Crossing, 4 f#$king hours. Scott and I thought it was cute at first and then her meows started to get so crockey like she was losing her little voice box.
We were just silently thinking to ourselves that there is no way we can take this cat down to California, we would go crazy listening to that the whole way!
I figured out after a few hours that if I covered her in pillows & blankets on the bed, she would stop meowing because she felt safer. After that first loud, meowy bitch of a day she was used to the van and started to want to go for drives.
We set off on our BIG road trip in April of 2019 with Gertie in tow. We were heading down to California in our van that was converted into a camper, it was her safe little home. We had built the whole inside of the van ourselves from scratch, so we built a litter tray section into the front of the van. We made sure we only used top quality litter, paying that extra few dollars made life a breeze and not shitty at all 😉
When we were at Coachella, our boss looked after her as he had a trailer down in Palm Springs. We stayed in Palm Springs for about 2 weeks but as soon as we were back in the van and not staying with air conditioning, we had to head somewhere cooler for us and for Gertie. Joshua Tree National Park was the hottest we felt on our whole trip, it was excruciatingly hot (Especially for our Yukon acclimatized bodies!). We headed onto Arizona and to the Grand Canyon which was ridiculously hot during the day.
We knew that we wanted to do some extended day hikes, so we booked Gertie into a pussy hotel for 3 days while we went and did “human” things! I’m super glad we did because we wouldn’t have been able to explore like we did, and she seemed to love the hotel! On our last day, we picked her up and went back through for one last look at the canyon. She didn’t care about one of the most spectacular places in the world, she just wanted to meet all the dogs.
From Arizona onwards, we headed north and having her with us wasn’t as issue at all. Everywhere we went was usually had cool weather so being in the car was luxury for her. If we were worried, we would take her with us when we went places and even if it was chilly, we had a small portable air conditioner & a circulating rooftop fan that we would leave on for her in the van.
There is always negatives to travelling with a pet like this. We obviously would have saved more money if we didn’t take her, because of the kennels that we had to book her into. On the other hand, we would have had to pay for someone to look after her in the Yukon too.
There was one incident we had when we left the van for about 30 minutes. When we came back she was sleeping up on front dashboard of the van in the full sun, even though we had the fan and air conditioner running for her in the shaded back area, but cats love sun!
We left the parking lot and were driving out of town when a policeman pulled up beside the vehicle and said that someone had put in a complaint that a “lifeless looking dog” was in our car. I had Gertie on my lap in the front seat at that point, so I thought that’s what we were in trouble for! My heart was beating so fast because I NEVER get spoken to by police! I said, um well we have a cat and she’s here, she’s alive and we have an air conditioner and fan for her sooooo…… The policeman was so nice and just said that it was a waste of time and he could see that she was fine. That was the only issue we ever had when it came to having her in the car.
The amount of looks and people we would get talking to us because we had a “cat on a leash” was just getting more and more hilarious. It was literally like Beyonce walking through a crowd of people. Everyone would just look at her thinking she is a dog and then realise it’s a cat and just LOSE THEIR MINDS!
I swear there would be photos all of the internet of Gertie from complete strangers!
Gertie loves to walk on a leash, she will literally run like a dog, walk like a dog and climb trees like a…..oh cat! I really don’t know how this unique little fluff ball ended up at the shelter, but we struck gold with her personality.
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