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So as I said in my introduction we have a large fur family. Let me introduce you to the pack. (*Note – We prefer to only take in rescues to our family as there are so many animals in need out there)
Tucker James – Tucker is a chihuahua/maltese mix who I have had since he was 7 weeks old. He is my oldest fur kid. He loves his family but fiercely protects it as well. He has no fear and as is custom with small ankle biters he has no clue about his size. He believes he is a rottweiler in sheeps clothing! I drove 3 hours one way to pick him up from a rescue in North Augusta, SC. He and his siblings were brought into a shelter at 2 weeks old. Unable to care for nursing puppies they shelter called a local rescue, who happened to have a nursing mother in their care. The couple who came to adopt his brother actually happened to live in an adjacent city to ours and we have kept up with them over the years. Even got them together last year (2016) to celebrate the boys 8th bday.
Annalese Marie – Lese was adopted from a rescue in Murray, KY. We were living in Clarksville, TN. We drove 1.5 hours away to pick her up from their local humane society. Her and her siblings had been left outside by the parent dogs owners during the first cold night of the season. Unfortunately a few of her siblings didn’t make it. She had worms for weeks despite being de-wormed several times from being so flea infested when the officer found them. She is my “schizophrenic” dog but I love her non the less. She was exactly 8 weeks to the day when we adopted her. She was only 1.5lbs when we adopted her, she was SO tiny! And just look at that smile on my husbands face! She is now approx 10lbs. Still scared of everything but has the sweetest disposition. Everyone who meets her falls in love.
I found Zelda, a Purebread Sheltie, on an old dirt road in Hartwell, GA on 3.30.2011
When I found her she was shivering, wet, matted and hungry. She let me pick her up and into the car we went. She spent her first night with her new family (myself, Austin, Lil Bit – my brothers dog, and Tucker James) at my dad’s lakehouse. She fit in perfectly, just like she’d been there all along. My brother named her Zelda due to her 3 legs and the Triforce symbol (meaning 3) that is in the game. He’s a big gamer nerd. She’s the sweetest dog around and loves to get petted and spoiled. I call her my little referee because if two of any other dogs are playing together she will lightly growl and break it up. She only likes it if it’s her that’s playing. She’s a bit of a brat that way. haha
We are guessing on her age when I rescued her but the vet estimated about 2 years old when I found her back in 2011. She gets around great. Although she is aging and having a little more trouble getting up and down on that back leg. I guess as you will see later in the post, I have a thing for crippled or handicapped animals.
Now onto the kitties……
Graycie Lou Freebush – I found Graycie, who I affectionately call Mitten Kitten hiding in a truck engine next to my neighbor’s house. I had gone to take care of their cats ironically but kept hearing a meowing. I tended to the cats then went on a search for this sound. I finally saw two legs hanging down by the wheel well. I grabbed them and scooped her up. What another little thing! She must have only been 5-6 weeks old at the time. I immediately went to the pet store and got all the needed supplies. Now mind you at this time I was NOT a cat person! I would of course help one in need and we had fostered kittens before, but when I picked her up I fell in love. She was completely healthy with the exception of some ear mites. She and I have a special bond. Of course now she’s the size of a horse and feels the love not only in her heart but in her stomach! lol
Arya – My second cat I got was Arya. She is very special. Not only is she a beautiful Siamese but she’s a completely blind Siamese. Long story but she was born without any eyes. Bad breeding. Which we didn’t know she was bred until we got to the house to pick her up. (Another long story I won’t get into) Although this doesn’t stop her one bit! She never grew very big and is only about 5lbs full-grown. I wound up finding out she’s a Seal Point but not just any, she’s a Modern Seal Point Siamese. She is named from a character in Game of Thrones. I’m sure there are some fans out there who know exactly why she’s named after this character. For those of you who are in the dark Arya’s character goes blind in the show at one point, and her nickname is also “cat” so it only seemed fitting to name her that.
Ygrette – Yes another Game of Thrones character! OK so a short back story. Her adoption wasn’t thought out very much. We had stopped at a Petco in Flagstaff for some dog food and cat litter. My 1st mistake there. Well as we were heading to check out I spied the little cat adoption place they had. Before Michael could say anything I was holding an adorable little grey female furball. He walked over and I handed her to him. He sighed. We put her back and left the store. I sat outside for 10 min convincing Michael we needed to add her to our family. 20 min later we were walking out with a 3rd kitty addition to our family. She was 3 months old when we adopted her at the end of November 2016 and she’s still small holding at about 5lbs and it’s May 2017. The story about her name is Ygrette lives North of the wall. Those who live North of the wall are called Wildlings. One of the Wildings wound up being Jon Snow, my all time favorite characters’ girlfriend. Her name? Ygrette! It was a perfect fit because when she plays and wrestles she is a little Wildling!
Here is a pic of all the girls together. I don’t get this photo opportunity very often but when I do it’s the sweetest ever!
Ok so now you’ve met the gang let’s me show you how I manage to keep all these animals happy in our RV. First of all I have A LOT of toys! A full basket of doggie toys and a separate one for the cats! I also have several scratch posts! I also have made a few alterations for the babies. First I built some steps. The only one who could really qualify to use them would be Arya, but even she knows the RV so well I can see her even managing to get up to where I feed them. I originally, when I just had Mitten, made these stairs and platform for her so the dogs couldn’t get to her food but she could. I put it at first on the dining table but fatty Tucker managed to figure out how to jump from the couch to the table. He has since not tried doing it again and I am now feeding all three girls on the table.
Not sure why he stopped unless he just doesn’t have the courage anymore. I also have turned the second bathroom into the “kitty closet”. I put a wooden board on top of the tub and got a extra-large litter box from Petsmart. With 3 cats XL is the only way to go without having to clean it out 3-4 times a day. I put an inexpensive rug runner from Walmart on the outside metal stairs to prevent the dogs from slipping when they go up them. I have industrial strength velcro under them so they stay attached to the stairs and don’t move. Plus the fact they could see out the back of them scared them so that helped that as well.
Here are a few more things we added to the RV to make it comfortable for the cats. We have a hide-away bed in the buunkhouse, and two cat scratchers in there as well. The cardboard one I screwed into the wall then glued the cardboard insert in the frame with a few drops of hot glue. This way I can easily remove it when it comes time to replace it but when the cats scratch on it won’t come out.
We have updated the bunk house with a few more toys since this post was originally made. Updated Aug 2017
I also got some lattice, painted it red and screwed it into the front screen door. This way if the animals get excited about something outside they can’t get out if they push out the screen on accident. Also allows for me to still safely keep the front screen door open for a nice breeze on cool days.
I also have this great little spot for keys, sunglasses and leashes at the front door. I call it my drop zone. There for when you first walk in the front door.
I also recently made a cat door in the bathroom door from the bunk house into the kitty closet. Had some spare wood lying around and some stain. Cut a hole in the door and covered it with the wood frame. This way if we have company I can actually close the door to the kitty closet but they can still access it.
Not everyone has the extra room in a second bathroom for their kitty cats. A very common question in my FB group is where do people house the cat litter box. While searching Pinterest I came across this post with instructions on how to install a litter box in the basement of your RV for your cat. I’ve heard of people doing this before. We would do it if it weren’t for all the things we keep stored underneath in the basement. You can go his website to view instructions for this project.
TravelingKids.com also made some adjustments to their Class A with concern to the kitty litter box. Check out how they built a cabinet that houses the litter box. They drew up plans and everything! Very unique and inventive.
Also this article from Gone with the Wynn’s talks about how to travel with cats while living in an RV. Check it out!
Another item that you can buy to help ease your mind and heart about leaving animals in your RV is THIS. It’s a temperature monitoring system. I plan on getting one for our RV but now since I am a stay at home wife I don’t see the need. We rarely leave our dogs for long periods of time and if we do we are very careful to check the weather for the day and adjust accordingly. I also have someone who will come and walk the dogs and check on everyone if I do have to be gone for a longer period of time.
What’s great about this product is that you can monitor the temperature in the RV from your phone. I have heard a lot of people, especially in the RVing and Pets FB group I am a part of, who use similar devices. I have looked at many devices and I liked this one the best. Here are the specs.
- Track Temperature (-40°F to 125°F)
- Track Humidity (0 – 100%)
- Receive text and email alerts
- Battery operated, place it anywhere
- Connects directly to wifi network
- No gateway devices required
- Easy 3 minute setup
- Set hi-lo triggers for alerts
- Customize alert messages
- Monitors /alerts battery levels
- Monitors /alerts if wifi signal lost
- Unlimited history of sensor readings
- Set frequency (1-12 times hourly)
- No fees or subscriptions
- Access from anywhere via web browser
- Free Android & iPhone mobile apps
- Alert multiple users
- Supports multiple sensors
- Set C° or Fahrenheit
- LED light on when taking readings
- Requires 2 x AA alkaline batteries (included)
- Battery life: 6-12 months (depends on settings)
- Money-back guarantee
- Made in America
- Friendly, knowledgeable support.
One last thing. Here are two wonderful video’s I came across. One of my fellow full time RVer’s shared this couples blog (WeretheRussos.com) and I came across this fantastic video concerning having dogs (works with cats too) and how to manage living full-time with them.
The second one is another full timing family called Keep Your Daydream. Here is a great video they made about RV life and doggies.
Do you have pets? If so what kind? And how many? Leave me a comment below. I’d love to meet your four-legged fur-babies!