This past weekend was the first trip out for this year in our still mostly-new Grand Design Imagine 2800BH travel trailer (prior travel posts can be found Here ). They don't love being in the truck as much as they do the Jeep, but Siada and Malik still have the same routine of sleeping after a few minutes of fussing. Layla likes to bellow in your ear, and also is the one who most prefers to be out of the crate in the car, so keeping her on a harness to let her explore cuts down on the fussing somewhat. (I was asked for general some tips on traveling with the felines, so will include those at the bottom of this post.)
They DO love the camper though. The panoramic windows are their favorite part, because they can lounge in the sun and watch the neighbors' tiny chihuahua dogs (and day dream of snacking on them). There is plenty of room in the Imagine for them to run, climb and play, so I still think that it was definitely the best decision for us to switch from a Super C to a tag trailer.
We did, however, have a new experience this weekend. Saturday evening when we were all chilling by the fire, the snack-dog owner came over to us to warn us not to be surprised if we saw faces pressed to the windows of our camper when we went inside it. Apparently the kitton clowder make for a spectacular sight in the evening when it is dark out but the lights were on inside the camper. He said that they were watching "Wild Kingdom" while relaxing at their own fire. lol
We did have one terrifying moment when we got home where a third of our Wild Kingdom almost made an escape. We had just backed up the trailer, and I was walking back to the truck and I see the BigMan furiously rolling up the windows while yelling something about ESCAPED CAT! I then saw Malik quite proudly strolling along the backs of the truck seats checking out the view. My stomach dropped.
I then had to get IN the truck without letting him out (as the BigMan could not reach him) and once I did I discovered that he had blown through the top zipper on his crate. I took Layla (still in a harness) out of her box, handed her to her papa, and wrestled the beast into Layla's crate and then dashed in the house with him. NOT the stress that any of us needed! (And I still stand by these particular crates for the girls but for a much bigger, stronger cat, they just simply do not work.)
For training for travel, I have some information included in the post HERE. For our current travel process, see below.
When we go back and forth between the house and the cabin, the ride tends to be 2.5 hours. As long as we time the travel right (during their normal afternoon napping hours), these champion felines can easily make a 2-3 hour trek without potty stops and because it is bedtime to them, they are not even particularly interested in eating. When the trip is longer, I keep a small litterbox, with a liner in it, in a heavy lasagna pan (which sits inside a shallow cardboard box). I do not use a regular litterbox because we have one percher, who will flip over a small plastic litter pan if she stands on the lip. Cats do not want to mess in their own bed, so usually will start fussing when they need to go. At that point I extract them from their crate and let them go do their thing.
One of the keys to easy travel is to be prepared for anything. To do this I keep a travel kit (essentially a diaper bag) full of necessities in the car. In it are:
Traveling in the truck with three cats (with one of them being massive) is a little more difficult. We only have a crew (not king) cab, so there is just enough space behind us for the crates. If it were two cats, I would just stack the crates (maybe with a bit of museum putty between them to prevent sliding), and use the remainder of the floor space to put a litter box and a small set of un-tippable water and food dishes. As it is, we have two on the bottom level, and the third (Layla, since she is the one who wants to roam in the car), on top of them. If we were making a very long trip, we would need to stop and let them out in the camper for a bit along the way to do their thing.
Once we get to our camping space, I take them out of the truck, and sit the crates in the camper while we adjust things. As soon as possible, I get the slide-out out, and let them out of the confinement. As I mentioned in earlier posts about our Imagine trailer, we deliberately got a model with 2 doors. This allows us to close off the bedroom so that we can enter and exit from that door, while the cats have the run of the main portion of the trailer. Because we do have a couple of door-darters, we would have to lock them in the bedroom, if we only had one door (normal cats might not care about that at all, but three active Savannahs could tear up the house that way)! I do have friends who are full-timing with a Bengal cat who is very well behaved and who does not try to dash out, so they have no worries about coming and going with her inside. It really is about knowing your cat's personality and working for solutions to that best cater to it (because we all know that cats are not going to change for us, lol).
On April 14, Mr. Malik has been with us a whole year. I still cannot believe how fast time has gone by, just as much as I cannot believe that I am honored to have another loving F1 boy in my life. He is the most social, loving, handsome little dude.
He is also a bit bonkers, but we knew that when we signed on for all of this! How many Savannahs, and for how man years, does it take to make you officially an experienced Savannah owner? I am pretty sure that at some point we definitely cross that threshold! LOL
What else is going on? Well, someone exploded the favorite banana in the bathtub, causing it to leak catnip all over the place (which caused the BigMan to worry about having to shower in catnip tea). They still play with the deflated banana husk though, and I could not find a new one at the pet store so I procured a hot pepper instead.
All I can say is that that is one wacky pepper, getting Layla so hopped up on the 'nip that she totally thumped Malik and drove him up into the cat tree afeared to come down!
They eventually made up though, which was pretty adorable, and he learned that he definitely needs to share the 'nip with Layla.
Siada, of course, just watched their shenanigans in mild amusement. She cannot be bothered with such frivolous games as she is better off spending her time judging the rest of us or just generally being perfect.
Friday was the big day. It marked Siada's total release from her probation. She was cleared in early March to slowly resume "normal activity" (though I am not really sure the vet understood exactly HOW much activity is normal for a Savannah). The Princess was still on lock-down while we were at work (in a bedroom though, not her prison cell). We allowed her more and more "run free" time every week. This Friday was the last day of any sort of containment.
And that meant this weekend she got to take a short walk outside again, the first one since October. I put her little vest on her, and the minute the leash was clipped on she went and say by the front door and waited. I was so surprised she remembered! Walkies is really the only time we use that door at all and it has been months, but she is the smart one of the clowder so she knew what was up.
We told her we will be camping later this month and I think she is already getting excited.
In other news, Siada is not the only smart one. Malik figured out doors and helped himself to a whole bag of cat treats. When I mentioned this, someone asked about Layla being smart, and, well, I said that our darling little BESTDAYEVER Layla finally learned her name. ;-)
Savannah Caretaker who is honored to do the job.