Bus Life with a Cat!
In 2018 we adopted a silly, grumpy 10 year old lady cat named Kiki. Since she has been blessing us with her personality, laziness and spirit.
When we decided to go full time bus living we were terrified of what the transition would be. She has had two previous homes and due to her past she doesn’t do well with changes. We had moved apartments since we got her and it took her two weeks to stop hiding and even then her presence was very little during the day. Plus, she absolutely hates the car.
Fast forward to today and she is currently taking a nap under the sun in the dashboard of the bus with absolutely no cares in the world. Kiki is also now a partly outdoors cat and let us brag, a very well behaved one.
This adventure we are on is so much also her adventure. We have noticed a difference in her behaviors since the move, she is happier and you can truly tell having a blast.
So here are some tips we wanted to share about how to transition your kitty to bus life!
1. Introduce the change
Ideally have your kitty walk the bus throughout your build so they can slowly get familiar with the space.
Like we mentioned before Kiki hates the car, when we were building the bus was almost 40 minutes away and it was simply not a good idea for us to drive her since we knew she would be in panic the whole time. What we did instead was bring back tools, tool bags and small similar items so she can start getting familiar with things in the comfort of our home. Every appliance or decoration we bought for the bus made a pitstop in the house so she could get familiar.
2. Create a special space
When building you want to maximize your space as much as possible but don’t forget to give your kitty the space she / he needs. Cats are very territorial and also love a dark and secluded space to call their own.
Kiki has her own room, talk about spoiled, it's under the bed where we keep her litter and also some blankets she likes. She accesses it through a hole on the side and it gives her privacy and a room to run too when scared.
3. Prepare for their move
So you built their space and introduced them to the change now it's moving time. We made sure we didn’t bring Kiki until we had all her stuff in place and some extra familiar items like blankets and our clothes around. She did run straight for her room upon arrival but to our surprise she started to come out and explore just within hours. We are certain it has to do with the fact that she had been familiarized with the items and because she knew she had a space to run too. In our previous moves we didn’t follow those steps and therefore think is the key!
4. Take it slow
If possible we recommend you don’t move in and start driving right away. To slowly introduce the different parts of living in a bus. Allowing them to get comfortable before adding movement and travels.
On day two we started by turning on the bus, just so she could get familiar with the experience and slowly added to it moving a few blocks at a time.
5. Give them time and treats
With time and patience they will start to adjust to their new normal so don’t get anxious if they go hiding or complain. Reassuring good behavior with treats also works with cats, so use it to make them feel safe and to let them know that all is good.
Their favorite treats always help them know they can relax and get comfortable.
6. Outdoors training
With the right time your kitty will start to get comfortable with their new home and they might start to want to explore their new backyards. if your cat has mostly been an indoor cat or you like us don't know much of their past this might be a bit scary. Make sure you only try this when you are in a location you feel comfortable and familiar with. Getting them comfortable with a leash and harness is probably the best place to start at, try putting it on at home and reassuring good behavior. Just like dogs, cats respond to cues. Set up a noise or word to use when they are going too far and doing something they shouldn't. We have found in our experience that a clap works best!
If your cat is big on the outdoors consider a microchip or at least a tag to be prepared for the worst case scenario.
Truth is that only you know your kitty and what is best for them. We hope this guide gives you direction on how to start the transition and what to be ready for. We do believe that cats like all animals pick up on your energy, so when they see you living your dream and being happy they will resonate with that.
Remember too that its an adventure experience for them as well, so give them time and enjoy this journey through their eyes as well!
If you have any further questions, comments or want to chat more don’t hesitate to reach out to us!
Fiorella, Zach & Kiki