After three months in the Winnebago 5th Wheel, we realize the cats just aren’t going to adjust to riding in a truck and make a tough decision.
By Julie Gant
Moving Back for Sanity
Phew! Wow. Well, the past three months have been nuts! If you follow us on Facebook, or read some of our previous posts, you know that we bought a 5th wheel at the end of June, had a fast and stressful move into it, then took off for Wyoming, Montana, the Dakotas, and are now back in Denver.
We’d planned to come back to Denver just for a couple of weeks. I needed to fly out to Maine for a few days, and it would be good to visit with family and friends once more before heading south for the winter. We also knew it’d be a great opportunity to have any warranty work done on the 5th wheel and see how things were going with the Safari’s consignment.
We had a beautiful trip through Eastern Wyoming and Montana, and an absolutely amazing time at Theodore Roosevelt National Park, the Black Hills National Forest, and Badlands National Park. I’ll tell you all about those later in a “catch-up” article (or two.)
This blog is for answering everyone’s questions about why we moved back into our Safari.
It was the cats. Really. I know some of you out there are incredulous that we’d spend all that money just to move back because of our cats. Pet owners around the world will understand. Here’s the scoop.
We thought the cats would adapt to riding in the truck. They didn’t.
In fact, each time we moved they got worse – more anxious. We started out just giving them their same homeopathic travel drops we’d given them when moving in the motorhome. They’d been doing really well in the motorhome – so well that we’d considered not giving it to them anymore; but kept them to ease them into being in the truck. When those were obviously not working and the cats were more frantic with each move, we tried other OTC calming options (other drugs, Thunder Shirts, CBDs, Benedryl) and played around with in the carriers vs out of the carriers and even leashed them once. We put all their favorite blankets and toys in the truck. Nothing worked and, again, they just got worse each time.
It was at the point where I was going to have a break-down (and admittedly had a minor one.) Besides feeling their anxiety and being really upset for them, I also was fearful. They were better out of their carriers (not by much), but I was so afraid they’d get out when we stopped for gas or get smashed by the door (I’ve seen it happen; it’s not pretty folks.) They were also shredding the heck out of my skin when they were out of the carriers. Having diabetes means I don’t heal fast and infection comes more easily, so every deep scratch meant days of attention with alcohol, Neosporin, and oregano oil. I was trying so hard to come up with something, anything, that would help them and was at my wits’ end.
A few days before we were due to arrive back in Denver, Brian suggested we should think about swapping back to the Safari since the cats were obviously not adjusting. Though I’ll say they seemed fine in the 5th wheel – just not the truck. We knew our next year was going to include a lot of driving. We also knew we didn’t want to put them through the trauma of forcing prescription sedatives into them every time and definitely didn’t want them to have those sedatives with all their chemicals as often as would be needed. And we definitely knew we couldn’t do this for the next five years. We felt like it was swap back or stop traveling.
It was hard – really hard – to make that decision. The Winnebago was easier to drive (tow) and has some great features that we love, but we knew it was the right thing to do for our cats and for our own sanity. Luckily, the Safari hadn’t yet been sold (it was on consignment) and we feel the 5th wheel will sell more easily once we put it on the market.
We called the dealership and told them we’d be taking it back. Brian made an appointment to have a tune-up on both the Safari’s engine and its generator, and prep it for getting back on the road. We got the 5th wheel in for the warranty work and winterizing. While Brian was handling most of these details, I had flown to Maine for a few days. The day after I got back, we went right into move mode. Brian had found a spot for a night at our campground for the Safari, so we were able to move our things fairly easily. It wasn’t right next to the 5th wheel, but it was close enough.
The nice thing is that we already knew where everything went! Of course, some of the storage solutions for the 5th wheel were different than the Safari and we’d gotten rid of some things. (Hindsight: Leave all the storage solutions you don’t need for your new RV in your old rig when selling it. People might appreciate it.) Once we picked up the few items we needed, we were able to quickly put everything remaining away and get settled.
The cats? The cats were fine. Great, even! As soon as we got them into the Safari, they recognized it. They went right to all their old hidey-holes and were purring up storms! We had to move the next day and were a little worried they would react badly, but they didn’t make a sound. They curled up in their old usual spots with no problems. Mind you, it was only an hour’s drive; but there was no anxiety! Woohoo!!
Today, five days after starting our move back into the Safari, the cats are happy as clams. We realize now that they weren’t even as happy or relaxed in the 5th wheel as they are in the Safari. For one thing, they have their big sunny dashboard back. They sure do love that spot! They can also run around more because of the open space. They’re playing more, purring more, and generally – obviously – happier.
Lesson learned: Our cats need to stay home. If/when we purchase another RV while we have the cats, it will be another Class A or a Class C.
We still want something a little shorter, but it’s going to have to wait a bit. We need to sell the 5th wheel. (Anyone want a barely used 2018 Winnebago Minnie Plus?)
Then we need to sell the truck and buy a more eco-friendly car and trailer – and take a financial break. We might start looking at something smaller again in 2 or 3 years. Until then, we’re all really happy to be back in Raven’s Haven. Yes, she’s older and needs some more updating; but she’s home.
So there you have it! Feel free to ask more questions in the comments or on our Facebook page.
Thanks for joining us as we live our journey…