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 > Outdoor "mudroom" to prevent cat from door-dashing?

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xdannigirl

Winnipeg

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Posted: 06/23/19 07:52pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi all! First post here [emoticon]

I want to get a travel trailer that I can haul with an SUV. But before I can do that, I have to take my cat into consideration, as rehoming her is simply not an option.

My problem is that she's a bit of a door dasher. I currently live with my mom and she spends most of her time in my bedroom. Our daily routine pretty much consists of 8am wakeup, I open the door while I get ready for work so she can run around, then I crack open a can of food when I'm done so she comes back, I say goodbye and close the door, and head to work. Then I come back, give her dinner, shower, and then we spend the evening in the kitchen before heading back to my room at about 10, where we sleep with the door closed.

The problem is, anytime I leave her in the room, even if it's just to go to the bathroom at 2am, she tries to bolt when I open the door.

Obviously I plan to equip her with one of those collar tag GPS trackers and a microchip with my info on it (as well as a QR code tag that anyone can scan with their phone to get my info, and a name tag with my phone number on the back), but we all know that things happen. It's hard to find a cat collar that isn't breakaway, so it doesn't take much for them to pull the collar off and then 3/4 of those precautions are useless. Plus, what if she runs into the bush and finds herself face to face with a coyote before I find her? She has zero survival skills. I take her out on a leash sometimes, but she's still very much an indoor cat. She wouldn't last, and that would kill me.

So, while trying to figure out a solution, I had a thought. What if I could buy (or build) a little screen room outside the trailer? Then, as long as I make sure I close one door before opening the other, she can't get far at all and I can just scoop her up if she gets out.

This brings me to my question:

How can I make it so that she can't either squeeze between the addition and the trailer, or run under the trailer out the other side?

I thought about affixing some sort of heavy-duty snaps to the trailer to solve the separation problem, but I have no idea about the viability of that solution and I'm still not sure what to do about the open underside. I kinda doubt permanent skirting is a smart thing to do when I'm planning to move the trailer relatively frequently, but is there temporary skirting? Or could I maybe use the same snap method to attach a screen thing around the bottom, and then use tent pegs to secure that to the ground so she can't just squirm under it?

Any and all advice (aside from "rehome the cat") is welcome!

webwrangler

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Posted: 06/23/19 09:15pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

This isn't really an answer to your specific question, but I have thought about this problem when daydreaming about rv-ing with our two cats. One of ours is a door-dasher, so I understand your problem.

I haven't done it, because my door-dashing cat is older and will never adjust to rv-ing. However, I thought that the way to do it if I could would be to get a "bunkhouse" model trailer, and convert the bunks into cat "jails." It would be a simple matter to use something like the snaps you described, or velcro, and some kind of netting to keep the cats in the bunk area. You could even build a stowable ramp if the bunk is up too high for the cat to jump up and down.

Setting up and breaking down would be a lot easier than what you described.

Then, when you plan to go out, put the cat in jail. When you are in the trailer and sure you're not going out, the cat can come out of jail.

You would have to be aware of not letting temperatures get too hot inside the trailer when you're gone and the cat is inside, but you would probably be doing that anyway.

A drawback to this idea is that there may not be many bunkhouse model trailers that you could tow with an SUV. Lance comes to mind; they have a smaller, lighter bunkhouse model I believe.

My $.02.


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JRscooby

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Posted: 06/24/19 06:34am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have no idea to help with a cat issue, don't have a barn, but that is just me. My brother but a Add-A-Room on his camper thinking his little dogs could use it. Dogs can work a zipper.
I spend most of my sitting time outside, but DW prefers inside. We hang a quilt over the door, and leave it open. Tie a leash to the step long enough for dog to get where she wants inside, or come out at will. The quilt keeps most of heat/AC in...

2chiefsRus

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Posted: 06/24/19 06:50am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We traveled with two cats for several years and had a screen room add on for them briefly. It was not secure enough to hold them no matter how many modifications we did to it. The best thing you can do is start retraining your cat NOW while you are still in a house. It can be done but it will take a lot of effort on your part. Our cats retrained to waiting by the door for us to put their leashes on before we took them outside. I'm not saying it will be easy but better to do it now while still in a house then later when you may be in a trailer. It took us about 4 months of work to retrain ours.


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Posted: 06/24/19 08:54am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Buy a window cage so the cat can be "outside". We just open the window and ours enjoys watching birdie videos.

When we are driving we have a 6' red leash on the cat harness so we know where he is located. You could leave it on 24/7.

Our cat does everything he can to get out so we are careful. He often waits for me at the bottom RV step. Had to pick him up, etc. But recently I grab his tail and direct him up the steps - works great. Apparently this annoys him - when he now sees me through the screen he heads up the steps - Cat getting trained - I hope.

Our cat locater doesn't work very well so we cannot depend upon it. He has a collar and harness full time. I don't think a cat will ever fully adapt to a leash but he's adapted better than 3 years ago.

Expect to spend several years training your cat if not a lifetime!


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Jebby14

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Posted: 06/24/19 09:35am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

cats don't get trained........ they train you.


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opnspaces

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Posted: 06/24/19 10:03am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

It would probably be easier to add some kind of door/room to the inside of the trailer that you can take down or leave open when inside. The outside would be hard to construct as there is room behind the steps and under the trailer to deal with.


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srdeane

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Posted: 06/24/19 07:33pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Here is something to try to keep the cat from rushing the door. It was a great training aid for ours.

Get a can of compressed air made to clean keyboards. Keep it outside (if the biggest problem is upon entering the rv) and have another inside if it's going both ways. When you go to open the door, be ready to give them a squirt of air. Cats hate that sound and should back off immediately. It won't hurt them, just aim it away from their facers.

Do it every time, and soon they will not approach the door at all. If they start rushing the door again, start with a shot of air again, reminding them. As I said, it's worked great for my two cats. They now just move on when we go to open the door.

chuckbear

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Posted: 06/25/19 07:17am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We used the air can training. Our Cali got a shot of air any time she approached the door whether we were inside or out. The air can went outside when we left. Even if we are inside and she starts to the door, the air can goes off and we say "no". She now knows what no means. Once we put on her harness and leash, she knows it's OK to head for the door. It took about a month but soon the training paid off. Occasionally we still have to do a reminder, but not often. Coming in from the outside requires just cracking open the door enough to be sure she isn't poised for a dash. Chuck

Kittykath

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Posted: 06/25/19 07:50am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I too have a door dasher who would be toast outdoors, as she is completely fearless (and clueless) to the dangers of the many critters that inhabit our new property where our camper is kept.

I thought about constructing some type of "catio" or screen room accessible from an open window, but given the distance to the ground, and well, now I have a screenless window to deal with, I opted for a purchased pop-up dog kennel with a floor, with plenty of screening for ventilation. The largest I could find. Cats are escape artists, and I didn't want to bet that she couldn't wriggle under anything that was staked to the ground. She seems content, but it doesn't solve the problem of her wanting to run for freedom anytime I think about opening the camper door.

Since she's not having the collar thing, I simply toss her in a smaller wire kennel in the camper when I know I'll be in and out often. Our camper doesn't have the feature, but perhaps you could use an existing access door, such as a garbage container or laundry door, to create a closeble pet door for her to use to access an outdoor kennel.

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