If you have been reading my blog from the beginning of my journey in 2013, you know I was suppose to be traveling with my cat, Elsie. That first summer she opted out and stayed in San Diego with my house sitter and friend Raquel.
This coming May I am planning on taking to the road for three months. More to come on that adventure. This time I decided that Miss Elsie is traveling with me.
How do I get Elsie (one of the original scaredy cats) and myself ready to travel together in my RV? I have for the past several months taken her out to the Roadtrek, made it comfy and spent the afternoon or evening reading while she explored and got used to the movements of my neighborhood. I wanted to make it feel like her home.
Once she was comfortable with this I then started the engine and took her for short rides. The short rides became longer with destinations in mind where we spent time inside the RV looking out. A few times over the course of last summer I would take her to the bay, open all the doors and windows and have dinner while she first hid under the bed and then gradually made her way to peer out the side door. Any noise or person would send her scooting under the bed again.
Early in February we did our first overnight. We went out to the desert and boondocked. It was just her me and the desert. There was no one close by. First she laid on the bed and peered out the back screened window. Eventually she made it to the screened side door. With great timidness she stepped outside and discovered the desert floor is covered with dirt and sand. This cat has always loved to roll. Well she took off for one of the most major rolls of her life. By the time she was done she looked the color of the desert. When the night sky was in it’s full glory she and I went out and laid on the desert and looked at the heavens.
The following day on the way home we found a place up in a canyon and I took her hiking up the wash with me. I admit this makes me nervous as there are coyotes out there. She was on a short leash so she could not wander far. She again loved exploring and rolling on the desert floor.
Trip two occured about two weeks ago when she and I headed to Patagonia, Arizona. Although timid in campgrounds she did come out from under the covers and look around. I took her for short walks late in the evening when everyone was inside their RV’s. We stayed there for 4 nights. The more we were there the more curious she became. And her world began to open a little at a time.
Here is what I have done so far to ensure the safety and happiness of Miss Elsie.
- She has a halter on at all times except when we are sleeping.
- She is chipped with ID information on all her halters.
- I am going to add a locator to her collar so if she does get away I might be able to find her.
- She always goes out with a leash on. I have a short one and a long leash.
- She has a kitty playpen that I can put her in if she shows interest.
- I have all doors screened and I can add screens to the front windows when camped.
- All her vet records will travel with me and her immunizations will be up to date.
- I am putting a sign on my RV letting people know she is on board.
- I have favorite toys and sheepskins that she uses in the house with her in the RV.
- The litter pan is easily accessible and will be cleaned immediately after use.
- I have a designated place for her food and water.
- Several years ago Jim and I taught her commands. Clap 3 times means come in the house, and she does. Collar, means stop let me put your collar on or take it off. My latest one I started when I first introduced her to the RV and that one is Wait and she does.
This summer when we leave I will travel differently. We will stay in one place for more than a day. I think that will ease her nervousness and I will get to know a place better. I will need to pay attention to someone elses needs and that is not a bad thing to consider.
Elsie was Jim’s kitty. It took her about five months to decide he was not coming back and she changed her allegiance to me. Over these past few years she has been a good friend and a constant in my life when everything else is changing. I am glad to have her along for the ride this summer.
Go Miss Elsie.