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Old 10-30-2013, 03:29 PM   #11
Dia
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Re: Newbie intro post with questions (cats in a PH?)

Nah, once you have bedding on them they're fine. Thanks to a remodeling snafu, we had to sleep on airbeds for about 4 months when we moved into our current house. Cats and beds survived just fine.
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Old 10-30-2013, 04:53 PM   #12
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Re: Newbie intro post with questions (cats in a PH?)

If you're considering possibly doing a bit of a home build, I would check this thread out...
viewtopic.php?f=10&t=6098

Its very versatile and well thought out. It could fit 3 or 4 passengers with captains chairs and has plenty of room for storage. I was originally going to attempt a similar type build, but I found a used SMB with a layout that worked well for my family.

Theres a long wheel base GMC Savanna with a pop top on ebay right now listed at $14,995. Its an '05 but I think it has the 6.0 motor in it which is a super solid motor. It also looks like it has insulation all done and a rear bed platform. Could be a good base to build off of since it already has a pop top.

Theres also an '06 Ford listed at $22,950. It's a similar layout to the EB27 you talk about in your other thread, but its a RB. Due to the height of your family members, the bed layout on this one might suit you well since it goes the length of the van and not the width.
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Old 10-30-2013, 05:39 PM   #13
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Re: Newbie intro post with questions (cats in a PH?)

I'll check those out. Thanks!
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Old 10-31-2013, 11:27 AM   #14
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Re: Newbie intro post with questions (cats in a PH?)

I spent the evening last night reading up on Phifer pet mesh. CCV uses Phifer regular mesh in their poptops, so it was good to see that the same manufacturer makes a pet-resistant product. I couldn't find a single review where someone's pet, dog or cat, was able to destroy the pet mesh. Cats can climb the stuff, but it doesn't snag or tear so they can't make holes to get out. It's also not that expensive, so there may be some home improvement projects in our future.

Then there's Gorilla mesh, a trampoline-style product used in truck tarps, and custom cargo netting made of half-inch webbing straps where we could order it with openings too small for a cat to get through.

Based on the reviews, I think the pet mesh for the PH windows would be sufficient. I'll probably price the pet mesh, the trampoline and/or a cargo net solution for cat-proof screen doors to cover the barn doors and the rear hatch. I bet it wouldn't be that hard to get something that zips up the middle like a tent door, then rolls out of the way for travel.

I'm pretty stoked. This thing is looking like a reality.
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Old 11-01-2013, 10:56 AM   #15
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Re: Newbie intro post with questions (cats in a PH?)

A lot depends on your cats. We have been camping with our Bengal cat since he was 10 months old (we got him when he was 6 months old). We have taken him on every camping trip since then. We also take him shopping on a leash and started that a week after we got him. But, he is a very smart cat. For example, he knows that he can't get out of the van without a leash on and knows that he can't be on the dash of our SMB while driving but can when we are stopped:



When camping, we clip a 15' wire to his harness and clip the other end to the van...he loves to get out and wander around and smell new things.

So, my first question would be...do the cats like traveling (or at least put up with it)? Are they fine with being inside all of the time or are they indoor/outdoor cats? If the latter, are they going to want to be outside when you camp?

A poptop is essential. There will be times that the cats will need to be in the van while you are shopping or eating in a restaurant. At those times (unless it is cold outside), we try to park in the shade. If not, we will put up the poptop and open the windows. With the top down (and even with the side windows open), it will quickly get hotter inside than outside. With the top up and the windows open, it will generally be the same temperature inside and outside in the penthouse although it can be warmer down below. We have been fly fishing in the low 80s and will go back and check on him every hour or so but it is always fine. Our cat has never scratched any furniture or the screen door at home so we don't worry about him scratching on the window screens in the penthouse.

You do need a way from your cats to get up to the penthouse (and get down safely). We have an EB-50 and he quickly learned to first jump up on the sofa, then climb onto the counter in front of the sink, then onto the counter over the refrigerator. From there, he stands on his hind legs and puts his front paws on the ledge around the penthouse opening and jumps up. It is then an easy walk along the narrow ledge to the bed area. (Bengel cats do like to be up high and that can be good while camping.)

We too use air mattresses and he knows that he can't come up to the penthouse until the air mattresses have been inflated and the bed made. We haven't had a problem along those lines.

We also take him with us while snow camping and, although we have a heater, it doesn't come on at night. Get gets under the covers with us in the penthouse when it gets cold. Once the heater comes on, he gets down and lays in front of the vent.

We use duffel bags for our bedding, etc. which are stored behind the sofa. We have a blanket for him which we lay folded over the bags and, while driving, he will spend most of the time there, looking out the back door of the van. He knows not to ever touch the driver while the van is in motion but might come up and see us once in a while or sit on my wife's lap. On some long trips without my wife, he would come up occasionally and jump up on the passenger seat and look out the window for a few minutes and swap stories with me before retreating back to his station in the back.

Besides food and water, we have a litter box for him and a cardboard scratcher. As soon as we stop to camp, the litter box is moved to the floor in front of the driver's seat which gives us more room to move around.

(On one trip coming back from Colorado, we camped at a tacky RV park in Winnemucca, NV and I wanted to get an early start home the next day. So, before going to bed, I moved his litter box to the "traveling position". I woke up very early and, after rolling up the bedding, looked down to see him sitting on the floor where his litter box "should" have been, looking very confused! I showed him where it was, he did his business, and everything was fine again.)

I hope this works out for you. We really enjoy having our cat with us while camping...and he likes it too!
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Old 11-01-2013, 12:10 PM   #16
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Re: Newbie intro post with questions (cats in a PH?)

OK, some cats won't try to claw their way out of an SMB, but any concern of an outside animal trying to claw their way IN? Just curious.


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Old 11-01-2013, 12:35 PM   #17
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Re: Newbie intro post with questions (cats in a PH?)

Critters getting in? Not really worried.

If a bear wants in, he'll get in and it won't matter whether the top is up, down or sideways. We've had raccoons get into our tent before, but they just unzipped the zippers - no shredding needed. I missed a great shot of one sitting on my sleeping bag eating the Oreos some doofus had left in the tent.

Maybe I'm naive, but I don't think having the cats onboard will make the van any more of a critter target than it would be already. If the pet mesh can stand up to cats and large dogs, I'd think it would do pretty well against raccoons and the like, too. Mountain lion? Who knows, but I'd think there would be easier prey then climbing onto the roof of an SMB to try to get at cats inside a PH.

@yvrr - great post, and another gorgeous kitty! Thanks. Our cats are indoor cats, but we have a 2nd story deck where they can roam around and get some sun. There's no way off, though.

We'll have to get them used to the idea slowly - driveway camping in the van, harness training, etc.
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Old 11-13-2013, 05:13 PM   #18
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Re: Newbie intro post with questions (cats in a PH?)

Wish I had a cat in my van when it got that @#$!@DD!@ mouse problem

Since you don't know how the cats would react, etc I'd second the used van idea. They seem to have decent resale, so if you used it for a season and then bailed no biggie.

The parts washer would be a ginormous pain. Heavy, bulky, inflexible. I've got some carts like that in the garage and I'd never consider it in the van without completely hacking it up, and even then lighter materials would be in order. I do, however, highly commend the repurposing concept, just find something much lighter and easy to move.
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