Wednesday, August 3, 2016

RVing to Purrrrrfection Part A

Two posts in three days, holy cow, I must be coming down with some, ha ha, not really. Now I want to start with a Part A post on living full-time in an RV with kitty. The reasons it's going to be a few parts is because there are, believe it or not, many parts and components to RVing with a cat. So we are going to talk briefly about getting kitty accustomed to an RV, in Part A.

First I have to show off my baby! That's the most important part! I also have to clarify, Blue goes by many names including, baby, baby boy, poo, and poop. So....don't judge! 
He kind of likes to sit like he's been drinking all day. Pretty sure he has the roughest life! 

He fits, he sits....without fail, every time! By the way, Blue weighs in at just over 17 lbs, so picture giant kitty in itty bitty boxes. 

There is a kitty in that first picture. He loves himself some dirty laundry....Like it's gross how much he likes it!

Case in point! ^
He loves Christmas! Especially when I fill his stocking....yes, baby gets his own stocking...

He's a back sleeper. <3

Okay, now that we have the gross affection of my cat out of the way...for this post, I'm going to explain some of the challenges we have run into. 

Cats are creatures of habit, and like routine, consistency, and stability. Any changes and it can really stress them out. You can tell your cat is stressed out when you see digestion changes (diarrhea or constipation, starvation or over eating). You may also see abnormal behavior which may or may not include hiding under the bed, scratching, biting, hissing, ears flat on head, crying, howling, cowering, panting, shaking. Anything that appears slightly abnormal from your cats usual behavior, could indicate signs of stress. For Blue, I started by getting him acclimated to the RV, I began bringing him out during the remodel, allowing him time to take a look at things and find his favorite nooks and crannies. The stress signs I saw in Blue were panting, scratching, and excessive crying! I mean make you want to scream crying!

By spending some time in the RV for just a few hours at time allows him to get familiar without becoming overwhelmed. Once we moved in full-time he was actually doing pretty well. He was sleeping at the end of the bed like he usually does and minded his Ps and Qs, but then 4th of July happened.....crap. That really really screwed us all over. Since then, unless we follow a strict routine....he is a hellion! He wakes us up every few hours scratching on the screen doors and crying. 
You can't really see it but he has put larger holes into the screen. Thankfully they are small enough we wont have to replace it. 

I went over a week without a full night sleep. Mind you I tried, redirecting his behavior (I have a degree in Psychology so he often gets behavior modification and other 'therapies'), compression, the dreaded water bottle, time outs, you name it I tried my husband and I went on a shopping spree for Poop....yes, at this moment he fully lives up to this nickname! I mean we probably spent $100 just on are a few things we purchased:
  1. Blue Buffalo Chicken & Duck Treats
  2. Feline Greenies Salmon
  3. Feline Greenies Beef
  4. Bolt Automatic Laser Pointer
  5. Mouse Laser Pointer
  6. Jackson Galaxy™ Spiral LED Ball Cat Toy
  7. Catnip Ball
  8. Teaser Toy
  9. Sushi Toys
  10. KONG Catnip 
  11. KONG® Cat Roller Treat Dispenser Cat To

1. Blue Buffalo Chick and Durck Treats; 2. Feline Greenies Salmon; and 3. Feline Greenies Beef

Although cats like consistency in their routine, they need things that keep them busy, entertained and can keep their attention. I know my cat, gets super bored super fast. So by mixing up the types of toys I use in a play session are really helpful....You want to do the same with snacks. Keep it interesting and fun. If they're always having the same treats it's going to get kind of boring for them. For the Feline Greenies Beef flavored, I actually got mine from Pet Smart but it appears they may have stopped carrying them in the past few months because I could not find it on their website. The link is to Amazon.
4. Bolt Automatic Laser Pointer
Probably the best toy we invested in, sort of. Blue loves this thing, and I have to admit I love it too. If I get home really late one evening and don't have time for a play session, I can turn this thing on and it runs for 15 minutes. He'll play with it for several minutes, get bored, then go back to it a few minutes later. BUYER BEWARE: We have had ours two weeks, and it stopped working. I intend to take it back for a new one and will provide you an update later.
5. Mouse Laser Pointer
Another one of Blue's favorite. He loves at bedtime when it's just me headed to bed and I shine it on the bedspread....he will chase it around for a good 5 minutes. And I mean serious chasing! He gets himself so excited :) 
6. Jackson Galaxy™ Spiral LED Ball Cat Toy
I'll be honest, he has yet to use these. Something to note, my cat is super picky and it is possible yours would love these things! I'm hoping at some point he will discover them and utilize them to their full potential.
 7. Catnip Ball
I would recommend spending a little more money on the catnip ball. I purchased this one from Walmart for about $3 Blue has yet to play with it....he usually loves catnip balls (I've gotten them for him in the past) but this one he has no interest in. I just think the catnip isn't very potent. Spending money on good catnip can be worth it! 
8. Teaser Toy
Blue enjoys this toy. During a play session I will often switch every few minutes between this and laser pointer, depending upon his level of engagement. If he loses interest in one I will switch to the other. The link is to general cat teaser toys, each cat will likely enjoy something different...this is a good way to stay consistent but keep things interesting by changing the style of the toy up.
9. Whisker City® Kitty Cactus Cat Scratcher 
 Blue used this the first two or three days we had it, then he stopped and went to the cheap cardboard scratcher. Seriously, my cat is so stinking weird....I'll explain later in this post! I even sprayed catnip spray all over it, and as far as I know, he hasn't really even touched it.
10. Smarty Trail Catnip Mist
This stuff is amusing!!!! I sprayed one of his toys with it, and it got on the rug in front of our bed....he went crazy rubbing himself all over the rug. He looked a little confused as to why is was obsessed with it. He now like to sleep on the rug, and if he's not on the bed that's where I tend to find him. This stuff is handy, especially if you're trying to get your kitty to play with a toy or use a scratcher.

11. SmartyKat SuperScratcher Plus Cat Scratcher
This is Blue's all time favorite thing, especially with catnip on it! He seriously loves this thing! He will sleep on it, scratch on time he even peed on it (completely my fault he peed on it by the way!). The biggest complaint I have about it, it is a mess! Definitely put it some where out of the way because you will end up with cardboard flakes every where! And because Blue ha long fur, it often gets tangled in it and requires a combing. 

12. Sushi Toys
Blue hasn't really had any interest in these, maybe for a split second after I sprayed them down with catnip. I tied the string on hoping that he might be more interested in it....not really. Something to note about "string" cats should not have regular yarn, they like to chew on it and it can get stuck in their intestines requiring surgery to remove it. You want something a little stronger that isn't something they're just want to snack on. My best recommendation are the strings our of hoodies or PJ pants...those work really well and are very durable. It will help prevent your kitty from getting a bowl blockage because it's not really a good chewing size.
13. KONG Catnip
This is my secret weapon! If I give Poo catnip right before bed, he'll get hyper for a minute then settle right down. I give him around a Tablespoon he eats it up, will run around like a rabid dog, then calm down and snuggle up on the bed. Usually he will sleep all night when I give it too him. Again, I recommend investing in the slightly more expensive stuff just because it's going to be a better quality, better yet, you could grow your own *laughs out loud* "like I have the time and energy for that." 
14. KONG® Cat Roller Treat Dispenser Cat To
I like this toy more than Blue does...totally goes with what I believe in psychology, positive reinforcement. In the center of this toy is a cylinder with a hole at the bottom, you fill it with treats and close the toy. On the opposite end of the toy, as you can see, there is another hole. So as the kitty bats around the toy and plays with it, treats fall out, reinforcing the behavior to play with it. I love it!!!! Blue...not so much. 
All of this only scratches the surface...we have a few other things to go over, food, cat box, RV monitoring for safety, other helpful usefull tools, VEHICLE TRAVEL!!!! I could probably write an entire blog just on RVing with a cat, but that's alright....I'll just keep you up to date as we go. 
Now here is where I explain the truth...I can spend hundreds of dollars on my cat in expensive toys, even thousands of dollars....all he wants are hair ties, dirty socks, and ear plugs.

Happy Camping! 






Monday, August 1, 2016

Flooring 101

Hey look!!!! I have time to make a post!! I'm currently in the process of volunteering time at our local university to do research. We are currently researching the relationship between binge eating in impulsiveness in a sample of 12 Wistar rats. Pretty interesting so far. Anyways, you're not here to talk about rats.

I am finally making the long dreaded post about flooring an RV. As you saw in one of my past posts, the major task was taking the original flooring out. To start here are the tools you will need:

  • Metal Spatula
  • Tape Measure
  • Flat Nose Pliers
  • Philips and Flat Head
  • Utility Knife
  • Gloves
  • Pry Bar
You'll also want:
 Bostitch Heavy Duty Precision Claw Bar
Apparently Home Depot discontinued selling the claw bars....I found this gave just enough leverage to get out even some of the toughest staples. And there are A LOT of staples!!!! I didn't get a picture of the 10 staples right on top of each was ridiculous!
In a bit we'll go through the next supply list but this is a pick a corner and begin pulling it up. It will take time, and some effort. I can tell you I got pissed off a few times! 

Some areas will have more staples than others, especially the slide-outs. What you'll need to do is get the pry bar as close to the pile of staples as you can and use the leverage from the bar to push the carpet up. The linoleum is much easier. Gloves are nice because you'll find rusted staples and the flooring in general is pretty icky so both safety and sanitary.

Another one of the most difficult sections to remove was the carpeting off the stairs. They had secured it in place extremely well, with the intent it wasn't going to be removed, obviously, and because it's an extremely high traffic area. 

Because the RV is built in one piece, you'll find areas in which the flooring is actually stuck under walls. You can use your utility blade to cut around it and cut it right up to the wall. Actually works pretty darn well. 

Now comes the tedious part....before you can move on, every single staple needs to be out of the floor. This is where the precision claw comes in handy. At the clawed end, shown in the above picture you can take one of the prongs, place it through the staple and leverage the staple out of the floor. At times the staples may snap and you end up with a little point sticking out, this is when you use the flat nose pliers to pull the single end out. You'll start to feel like you're close to your hand along the top of the floor and I will guarantee you will find more....just a reminder, every single staple has to be out otherwise you will cause damage to your new floor. 

Once all the flooring has been removed, and the staples plucked, you can move onto filling. Here is what you will need :
  • Plastic Wood (I recommend the larger size as you tend to go through more than you realize). 
  •  Sand Paper, 150 Grit, 220 Grit
You will want to look over the floor and find areas that are uneven, contain holes, or have screws that leave sunk in areas in the flooring. When you find one, sand any rough edges, take your metal spatula and get a chunk of the plastic wood.

Then fill the hole, crack, or uneven surface by spreading it across the top....It should fill the hole completely. 

As you can see, as you spread it across it fills the screw hole (oh come on now lets keep it appropriate). Do this for all of the major imperfections and allow it to dry for several hours...I used a space heater to assist in this process. 

Once it's dry you'll sand it with the thick grit to get the rough surfaces smoothed, then final sand it with the fine grit sand paper....You may do this for many areas within the RV, including separation in plywood, 
or to cover seems created when filling floor spaces that will not be solid.
We got rid of the table right in the living room. You can see the metal supports in the living room floor in the top left picture. Eric cut the wholes to squares, then reinforced underneath the area with several smaller pieces under the floor as you can see in the picture to the left. There is a piece screwed into the floor that will provide additional support. Then finally we put in a top piece to make it level with the rest of the floor. In the top right picture, you can see that we filled it with Plastic Wood and allowed it to dry....this let it blend in with the rest of the floor. 

You'll likely go through the RV at once filling the holes, then the following day sanding and filling any additional holes you notice. Keep this stuff handy, as you place the floor you'll find new uneven areas, cracks, and screws that will need to be covered; you will also continue to find staples that will require removal. But we'll talk about that in the next post. 

Anyways, feel free to ask me questions, this is not as extensive a post as I had hoped. I missed out on some important pictures but all well.

For now,
Happy Camping!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Moving In

It's been over a year since my last post although not too much has happened. The slide outs have been replaced, still working on flooring, we are trying to finish up the kitchen, among other projects and daily life responsibilities. 

Finishing the bedroom slide out.

Putting the Windows back in.

This summer has made it challenging to actually work on the RV as most of our time has been spent with family and working on my car. However, I can tell you, we partially moved into the RV over a month ago and I must admit I'm enjoying it. When I say we are partially moved in, I mean that we pretty much just sleep in it, we are still cooking and showering at my in laws. Also because of the weather in Alaska, we have decided the first winter will be boondocked in the yard so we have to come up with some creative ways to get water and drain sewage throughout the winter....which should be interesting....we've been slowly getting more and more settled, especially as the school semester is winding down and our other projects are getting done....I will for sure be writing a post about full time thing with a cat as there are definitely some tricks too it. Ours has found the screen doors *rolls eyes.* I can tell you living in an RV in Alaska in the summer is amazing because we have AC while the rest of the state over heats, we also have a great little space heater that I set to 65 so it will come on during the chilly nights or the rainy days. We also specially made curtains for our room which have helped with cutting out the midnight sun. Other than that I don't have too much new to share but will try to get some updated posts about the remodel here in the next few weeks....

Officially moved in, first night as full timers.

Happy camping!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Death by Trailer

As per usual, I have failed as a blogger and left you at the edge of your seats!!!! How terrible of me! I will start by saying...sorry...for causing you such horrible agony 😉 next I must apologize, this post is from my phone as our internet has cone out, so you may see some miss spellings and odd autocorrects.

Since my last post, we have again done many things. The flooring was so rotted in our bedroom slide out all the word had to be replaced and the floor in the living room slide out was replaced as well.
Glad we found this even though it meant replacement. The wood was composting.
The slide out was held in by that...umm can you say death trap in more than one way?
Our garden!!! The rot was so extensive in the bedroom we were growing things. It is likely we would have ended up very ill or injured had we moved in without fixing these problems.
Just to show how soft the wood was.
As you can see we got some of the flooring in but we had to remove the floor from the slide out.

We still have not completed all the floor upstairs in the bathroom or bedroom. However the downstairs has been completed. 

For this looking for information about it we used the allure cherry flooring and decided to glue it because we aren't sure where we are going to end up. 
Flooring teaser. As you can see the slide out was replaced with a tarp until it was put back in.
When trying to replace the slide out, I nearly dropped it on Eric, so instead my adrenaline kicked in and I dropped it on myself. I didn't know until Eric was back in the trailer and my foot was gushing blood. Ps I hate feet!!!
Before putting the rest of the floor in we decided to cut off part of the island. It opened the space up immensely! So glad we did it. Just make sure when dealing with electrical stuff to unplug the trailer. 

 A note on taking this apart. All we did was saw it up however, because there was a plug in we required some rewording. After attempting to thread the wire back through the floor several times using feeling and hopeful sight, my husband pulled out his bore score and we had success. I will tell you it came in very handy!!!

 As far as actually putting the flooring in, I will have to get back to you. That will require a full post. Now that I have the blogger app on my phone I can write it pieces at a time and hopefully save it. I'm always so busy with school and work that I don't have time for much else. Sorry ladies and gents.

Happy camping!