In the van life community, having a companion with you is something that is relatively common. Having a furry friend on those lonely nights can be a comfort to most who have them. If you look at the ratio of van companions, most of them tend to be dogs for security and a best friend. What about having a cat? Well, that is something that is less seen.
I have grown up with animals and always had them in the house. Having experience with both cats and dogs, I would call myself an avid animal lover. Once I moved out of my parent’s house, there were about a good solid six months that I went without an animal. I had wanted a pet of my own and decided to get a cat. When my landlords finally gave me the OK to get a pet, THAT DAY, I went to my local Humane Society to adopt. I looked around to see all of the cats, and this shy little cat was hiding behind a towel. There she was, Bali. I felt it was meant to be, and have loved her ever since.
When I started to look into tiny living options and came across van life, there was an issue. What was Bali going to do? How would she survive in such a small space? Well, that was a big worry for me since I am not the kind of person to get rid of a pet in changing circumstances. I also didn’t want to make my cat miserable just because I wanted to live a certain way. After avid research, I decided to give it a try. There were many success stories on van life cats, so this encouraged me a bit. Once the van renovation was complete, I started getting Bali acquainted with the new space and started spending time with her in the van. At first, she was nervous and hid for a while. She is a shy cat, and not too keen on places she doesn’t know.
While getting her acquainted with the van, I also started getting her used to a halter and leash. She would hardly move and walk when I put it on her. It worried me because this was a way that she would get exercise, and she was not responding well. I didn’t have much confidence at this point because I wanted to have a happy cat who would be okay with this life.
What progress has she made?
Bali has made such tremendous progress over the past five months when it comes to adjusting to this lifestyle. She has gotten much better when it comes to walking on the leash, and I am slowly taking her on more walks. I’ve learned Bali doesn’t like ducks and loves to try to find places to hide while on a walk. She is still timid, but hopefully, over time she will get more used to it. Bali has her little hiding spot under the bed for when she wants quiet time.
Although she hides, she is very active during the day and loves to look out the windows. She is spoiled and likes to sit on our laps at every opportunity and will lay on our chest when we are laying down. She is overall a very happy cat, and she has adjusted to this lifestyle very well. She’s always checking out her surroundings through the windows and chirps at birds. I do my best to make sure that Bali has somewhere entertaining to look at and has little toys to play with.
When it comes to leaving her alone in the van, I still feel cautious about that because of a potential break-in. However, the van is secure and has multiple precautions from being stolen. (Devices that are in the van) The windows are tinted, and I make sure the van is in a safe spot when I leave her. She never is lacking in comfort. The van is fully insulated, and I always make sure she is checked on and taken care of. While it’s cold, we have a heating blanket for her to lay on and when it’s a bit warmer, we open the windows and have fans. I love my cat like a child, so I would never put her in a situation that was dangerous or uncomfortable. #catlady
What’s it like living in a van with a cat?
When it comes to living with Bali in the van, it was most definitely an adjustment. The van that we have is about 60 sq. ft. and that’s about enough room for one person to move around comfortably. When it comes to her things, we always clean up after her. We have to continually be walking over her because she is always trying to get a pet or in someone’s lap to sit on. She likes to play up in the front seat during the night time and sometimes will sing during the night with her loud meows. While she is a clingy little thing, we can’t deny her cuteness.
She is a bit stinky after she uses her box, but that is cleaned regularly to avoid that. I take her on walks when I see her acting like that. When we finish with her walks, she likes to throw a little pout like I did something wrong and hides under the bed. About 5 minutes later, she will come out of her hiding spot acting like nothing ever happened. At night when we are cooking dinner or doing dishes, she is wanting constant attention. Like “Hey, that hand. Yeah, pet me now.” Always.
Living in a van with a cat is an adventure, and I feel so lucky to have Bali. I have a furball to cuddle with on those sick days or days where I just don’t feel well enough to leave the van. She is my little fur companion, and she never leaves my side when I am in there. If you are a van lifer looking for a fur mate, consider adopting a cat. I didn’t think Bali would adapt to living in the van so well, but she surprised me. I plan on writing a guide on how to train your cat to be a van life cat and some tips to make the transition easier for both you and Mr Whiskers. Stay tuned for that.
Until next time,