Tomcat Ollie (5) travels through Europe with his owner Chantal (30) in their domestic camper. Meanwhile, they have already been to 24 countries. Traveling with a cat is still unusual, of course, and it wasn't natural either. With much patience she got Ollie used to his little house on wheels. Meanwhile, Ollie often attracts more attention in his Designed by Lotte basket on the dashboard, than the tourist highlights where the camper is currently parked.
The traveling circus
Our traveling circus, as I often jokingly call it, went on the road for the first time 2.5 years ago. Back then with my ex-boyfriend Lukas, we converted an Opel Movano van into a camper and hit the road. Interspersed with some seasonal work in the snow, we were on the road for 2 years. Recently, Ollie and I were left together and we have a new home: a Renault Master camper van. For now we are still touring close to home, but we plan to head for the winter sun again soon.
Ollie can usually be found in his basket on the driver's seat or the dashboard, where he always steals the show. At border crossings we are often stopped, not to show Ollie's animal passport, but because they like to do a photo shoot with Ollie. Even at tourist viewpoints, Ollie is often photographed more than the phenomenal view.
Getting used to the camper
Meanwhile, Ollie is the perfect travel buddy, however, this has not always been the case. I got Ollie used to the camper in very small steps. First I visited the camper for a few minutes together with him, built that up to short dinners and sleepovers in the camper, slowly introduced all the camper sounds (water pump on or the roaring engine), then slowly drove some first laps around the parking lot, made some day trips and for the first few months we only drove short trips. So a lot of patience and getting used to it, but as a result Ollie is completely used to his little house on wheels. Ollie actually seems happier and more relaxed than ever. I naturally have a lot of attention for him because we are always out and about together. And Ollie can explore a lot of different nature. He hunts all day long, from mice in Scotland, from lizards in Spain to even a small snake in Albania. What's less nice, he comes and brings each of them into the camper as trophies.
A real cat camper
First of all, my camper has several practical things built into it, think of an automatic feeder, a litter box and a real private den above the driver's cabin. However, you also need to make sure the van is safe, for example temperature controlled. Through insulation, air circulation, a diesel heater, a 12V mini air conditioner and, of course, conscious travel, I make sure the camper is a pleasant home for Ollie. By the way, when Ollie leaves the camper he wears a GPS tracker and if the location is not completely safe; street dogs or a busy road, he is used to going outside on a long leash. But especially now in the Netherlands, he enjoys walking off leash and after a few hours he comes back to socialize in the camper.
When you constantly live on 6 square meters, all cat accessories are actually from the bed, couch or kitchen, always visible. Hence, I was super happy to discover the cool scratching board and basket from Designed by Lotte . Besides Ollie´s favorite items, they are also real eye-catchers in my camper interior. They really make my camper a home!
If you have questions about traveling with a cat or want to follow our adventures, check out Instagram @chanti.and.ollie. For cool products in your camper or your home, you can always look for inspiration at @designedbylotte.