HOW DID WE DECIDE TO BRING NALA INTO THE BUS LIFE 😻?
We thought about sending Nala home (France that is). However, being in the heart of COVID-19 pandemic really made us questions that plan.
The thought of risking her being stuck in a different country (or even more than one) due to all the flight cancellations was breaking our hearts. When you think that many people are still months later being stuck overseas, really made us wonder how long a cat could be suffering the same fate.
In addition, who knows under was conditions she would have been looked after!
So, that thought was quickly abandonned.
So, we starting thinking about the feasibility of taking our fur baby with us into bus life.
We obliviously turned to the Internet & found out that more people than we thought had already done it very successfully.
We thought as long as we can keep her safe (being the N1 priority) and if she likes it, why not?
HOW DID WE PREPARE FOR HER ARRIVAL 🚌 ?
We ordered Nala a harness & leash, a tracker, name tag & a travel bag/ bed (for which we sewed a blackout sun cover). Once we received all the above, we started getting Nala used to her bed/backpack (it really help to leave her blanket with her smell in there).
Most importantly we made sure that Nala was getting accustomed to her harness. She pretended to be dead a couple of times & became really noisy too, but once she understood we were not gonna take it off she stopped acting and was jumping up and down chasing her toys around the house.
We took her to the vet to make sure all vaccinations were up to date for such a lifestyle & also checked her Microchip.
Like for us we also prepared a little first aid kit for Nala (you can buy them already packaged or you can create your own).
Of course, we checked for every possible escape route & danger within the Bus.
We were lucky enough that the bus was pretty much ready to go so once we replaced all fly screen for stronger material & secured all draws to avoid opening during travel the bus was 100% safe for us.
We did do some modifications on the bus for her:
We created her "quarter" under the banquette.
We glued some ropes on the table foot, so Nala has a dedicated place to do her claws & does not destroy the bus (&it’s actually turned out really pretty & fit well with our decor theme).
I was really worried about having Nala in a metal box under the Australian heat, so we tinted all windows to the legal standard.
Stacked up on ice pack to leave in her bed to cool her down.
Bought a tiny air conditioning unit that runs of water.
We replaced all curtains with blackout sun fabric that we sewed ourselves.
We also had to soundproof the driving part of the bus (for Nala sensitive ears).
Secured all draw so there would be no chances of them opening while driving.
We managed to create a secure place for her to wait for us to set up camp (we basically created a door for the bedroom).
NALA'S FIRST BUS EXPERIENCE
First, we got her used to be in the car while driving (since she was even used to that), that took a lot less time than we anticipated.
So, we introduced Nala to the bus, so she could start feeling like home (without taking it hitting the road).
We then took her on test runs, she was a bit confused at first but she made us know she LOVED 😻 it really quickly. The only issue we encountered on her first time meeting with the bus was the noise level in the bus despite us soundproofing the driving section it was still too loud for her. So we soundproofed her "quarter" (underneath the banquette & put her travelling bag in their. We added extra ventilation in their and she felt right at home.
It was then a done deal, she was coming with us 👏🏼 & we decided to document her trip with us to help other people taking this lifestyle with their pets 😉.
Travelling with Nala just meant we had to put her safety & well-being first. Get organised & plan ahead (always looking up vets nearby camp before going & checking if she was allowed to be at the camp).
But we get paid for all our efforts in cuddles & purrs so we can say it’s worth it ❤️.
USEFUL LINKS & TIPS
Supakit harnesses are in my opinion the best cat harness on the market.
They are light and perfectly fitted for cats (avoid especially harness with Velcro since the noise is rather scary for cats).
Findster tracker is so great!
No monthly fees (which is pretty unusual), real-time GPS with no cell coverage needed (exactly what we needed for the great Australian outdoor) & is waterproof (which is always a plus even for a cat tracker).
Cat Explorer: Cat explorer is present on a lot of different platforms, they have great blogs, Insta & podcast.
Supakit Blog: Supakit also has a great blog covering a lot of different topics related to travelling with cats.
Harvest Hosts: Harvest hosts presents us with tips for RVing with cats.
Adventure Cats: Adventure cats is also present on a lot of different social media & offers us many stories and tips.
1Bike1world: Dean & Nala's adventures are ones of the most inspiring ones we see online.
Every time we have a little hick-up on the road we think of them & realise that if Dean can travel the world on a pushbike with his rescued cat Nala then we can surely travel Australia in a Vintage bus with our very own Nala.