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RV Cat Litter Box – Storage Ideas & Tips

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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? Spoiler Alert: Cat pee and poop can smell REALLY bad if left unattended. So how do you deal with it?

These were some of the biggest concerns we had before we decided to adopt our cat, Maya. But after two years with Maya, we’ve learned a few things about van life with a cat. And this is especially true when it comes to the litter box.

In this post, we talk about the cat litter box when traveling with an RV. We’ll also discuss ideas and examples for cat litter placement and share our tips on how to manage the cat litter odor.

Let’s get to it.

Which Cat Litter Box Is Best For RVs?

Cat litter boxes come in lots of different shapes and sizes. Some are just an open top box, some have high walls, and others provide a closed box environment. There are even fancy litter boxes that make it look like your cat is sitting inside a space shuttle while doing it’s business.

In our experience, the best cat litter box for your RV is just a simple open top box. We’ve found that boxes that have high walls or those that provide a full enclosure just take up too much air space. This is fine in a traditional house, but in an RV where space is limited, it’s better to just go with a simple space-saving open box.

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More important than the design of the litter box is it’s dimensions. You don’t want to buy the “perfect” litter box only to find out later that it doesn’t fit in the tiny space that you originally intended in your RV. That’s why it’s important to measure the dimensions of the space in your RV first and then go out and find a litter box that fits inside those dimensions.

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 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 cats, 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.

Cat litter box in a drawer of a camper van
Maya's litter box in a kitchen counter drawer

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.

RV cat litter box located under the sink

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.

Kitty litter box located under RV sofa bench.

Does A Cat Litter Box Smell Make The RV 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. But after over 2 years with our cat, we’ve almost never had any issues with bad smells. Below are our 4 tips to manage litter box smells in our van.

1. Clean The Litter Box Twice A Day

Cleaning the cat litter box twice a day, once in the morning and once at night, is a must in order to keep the box smelling clean. If left uncleaned, bacteria begins to grow on the waste material, which makes the odors even worse.

2. Thoroughly Clean The Box Twice A Month

Every two weeks 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. Additionally, once every two months we’ll dump all the sand in the box and refill it with fresh sand.

3. 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.

4. Use High Quality Clumping Cat Litter

If you’re serious about controlling orders in a small camper van, get clumping cat litter. The sand bonds with the cat urine and makes it easy for you to scoop out each day. If you use non-clumping litter (or cheap clumping litter), more urine tends to stay, and fester, in the box. This leads to bad orders forming over time.

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. 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

Cat on camper van kitchen counter

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…)

Read More: Van Life With A Cat – Guide To Traveling Full Time With Pets

Thank You For Reading!

We’re Yuko and Eric! We both grew up in Asia ( Japan & Hong Kong ), we left our jobs and homes in 2018 and started traveling full time from Canada to Argentina in our self-converted camper van since end of May 2019. “Asobo” means “Let’s play” in Japanese. We named our site “Asobolife” because the life is always uncertain and we live only once so it’s important to always keep positive, playful mind and enjoy the moment you are in the present. We also want to use this website to share our road trip and van building experiences to inspire our readers. We hope you enjoy!

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