When you first decide to bring a cat along for van life, you might be asking yourself how to deal with the RV cat litter box? Where does it go and how much does it smell?
Cat pee and poop can smell REALLY bad. So how do you deal with it?
These are the biggest concerns when it comes to traveling with a cat in an RV.
In this post, we share ideas and examples for cat litter placement in an RV, and some tips to manage the cat litter odor.
Where To Store A Cat Litter Box In An RV
One of the first questions to answer when you decide to bring a cat with you is where you’re going to store the cat litter box. In such a limited space, like a camper van, it can be hard to find a place to keep the litter box.
After all, these cat bathrooms aren’t that small! Plus you have to keep an adequate amount of air space above the cat litter box for your cat to move around.
When thinking about where to place the litter box, it’s important to understand that cat’s, just like humans, prefer to do their ‘business’ in private. So any location that is somewhat hidden and quiet is a good starting point.
Here are some great examples for placement of the cat litter box.
1. Under The Kitchen Cabinet
When we adopted Maya, the only place we could fit her litter box was under our kitchen counter. So we removed the bottom-most drawer and put in her litter box.
This is a great option for smaller RVs, like a camper van. And because the litter box sits on drawer slides, the box is easy to slide out to clean every day.
2. Under The Sink
Placing the litter box under the sink is another obvious choice as it’s in a quiet place, out of the way. Plus there’s usually plenty of space down there to begin with!
The only downside is if you have water tanks under the sink, this may not be an option for you.
3. Under The Bench / Bed
If you haven’t built your camper van yet, building in a little cat bathroom under your RV bench, like in the picture here, is a fantastic idea! It’s space efficient and out of the way.
We would have loved to have done something like this if we hadn’t already built our van before adopting Maya.
Does A RV Cat Litter Box Smell?
One of our biggest questions before deciding to travel with our cat was how bad the kitty litter box would smell in our small camper van. In all seriousness, would our van forever be smelling like a toilet?
But after over a year with Maya, we’ve realized that if properly cleaned daily, RV cat litter boxes really don’t smell at all!
Clean The Litter Box AT LEAST Once A Day
You can’t be lazy here. Your camper’s cat litter box MUST be cleaned every day. Even better if you can do it twice a day. It’s important to not allow the waste material to grow bacteria, which makes the odors even worse.
In our case, we clean the litter box every morning. It used to be a hassle when we first started traveling with our cat, but now it’s become just another part of our daily morning routine.
Thoroughly Clean The Box Twice A Month
Roughly twice a month we’ll take out the sand from the box and give the box a thorough cleaning with warm water and soap to prevent odor and bacteria from forming on the surface of the box.
Have A Proper Ventilation System In Your RV
Air circulation is critical to prevent bad odors from staying in your camper. Our MaxxFan is on virtually 24/7 and plays a critical role keeping odors to a minimum.
Recommended Cat Litter For RVs
There are so many choices out in the market for cat litter sand.
My favorite one is Fresh Step Clumping Cat Litter Clumping Sand because so far this one contains the bad odor the best, and it’s the least messy with strong clumping ability.
Though it might seem like a good idea to get the scented cat litter, we’ve found that the ‘unscented’ version is best because the scented chemicals are so strong that it easily makes the whole van smell like chemicals. Whatever you choose, you have to make sure to NOT choose scented sand.
And if you’re sensitive to chemical smells, scented cat litter may end up giving you a strong headache!
Final Thoughts About RV Cats & Their Litter Boxes
Before we adopted Maya, we thought the cat litter box would be a big issue for van life. But in reality, dealing with her box has been extremely easy.
Once you’ve found a good place in your RV to place the litter box and make sure to clean it EVERY DAY, we’re sure your van won’t be inundated with strong bathroom smells.
(That is unless your cat has got the runs at 2am…)