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Motorhoming | Family Motor Coach Association

Owners: Steve and Cynthia Ecton, Heber Springs, ArkansasMr. Big and Sugar always are along for the ride.
FMCA membership number: F287228 (we joined in 2000)

Type of pet: two cats

Names/breeds: Sugar is a female white longhair. Mr. Big is a male flame point.

Ages: Sugar is 5 and Mr. Big is 2.

How often do your pets accompany you on motorhome trips?
Every trip, business or pleasure. We have traveled with our cats on business trips for well into 10 years. We would not be without them. They have attended FMCA rallies, have been featured in newspaper articles, and have gone into major business meetings with us, as everyone wants to see them.

What type of motorhome do you own?
A 2006 Tiffin Allegro Bus, quad slide model

What do you like best about motorhoming with your pets?
They are with us and not boarded. They enjoy meeting people and seeing the sites from their plush seats on the dash.

Do your pets have any favorite travel destinations?
New Orleans and Tom Sawyer’s Mississippi RV Park in West Memphis, Ark.

Was it easy for your pets to adapt to motorhome travel?
We always start taking them when they are young. Mr. Big sometimes has a rough first day — he just may get a little sick — but the veterinarian gave us some pills. Mr. Big does NOT like it when one of us gets out to hook up the motorhome or fuel up with diesel.

Do your pets have favorite spots in the motorhome?
Sugar loves her cushion on the dash. Mr. Big usually sits next to the driver (Steve) on a scratch post that has a seat on top.

What are your pets’ favorite toys?
Sugar has a chenille, small white stuffed cat that a customer gave her. She does NOT like the stuffed Razorback hog we have on the dash. Mr. Big loves the octopus toy he carries around.

Have you modified your motorhome to better accommodate your pet? Do you carry any special furniture or equipment?
Yes. Sugar is deaf, as some whites lose hearing. She has a TV/DVD on the computer stand by the side window. We found when she was young, she would watch TV shows. We purchase cat videos and have pictures of her on top of the TV, hanging down trying to get the bugs, mice, etc., shown in the video. She is extremely visual.

We also keep a multi-tier cat scratch post with a couple of sleeping stations between our recliners. If cats have “their stuff,” they won’t scratch yours! We also keep a box of their toys and treats.

While at the Tiffin factory, we had some wonderful technicians. They fixed it so our cats cannot get under the bedroom or living room slideouts. This is something you must keep an eye on with cats. Do not push slideouts in until you can see the cats are safe.

What is your favorite activity to do with your pets while traveling?
Not much, as cats have their own agendas. Mr. Big does enjoy getting out and chasing (hunting) around in parks that have open areas. We DO NOT allow our pets out to bother other people’s rigs. Sugar always remains inside due to her loss of hearing.

Advice for other motorhomers who travel with pets or are considering traveling with pets:
We enjoy meeting other people who travel with their pets. Although our pets are “family,” we do not let them out to bother people. We know some dogs don’t like being left alone and can make a terrible racket when the owner leaves.

If you have cats you must make sure any open place they can squeeze into is blocked. Cats are best with “their stuff” with them. Always have enough posts for them to use as “theirs.” We have never had any cat scratch our coach, as we supply them with enough of their own area. I know … cats rule, but if you do not give a cat a reason to leave your stuff alone, they will get into it.

Also with Cats, you must outthink them. If there is any small area they can get into, usually the width of their whiskers we were told, they will do it. On one of our first trips, Sugar found out she could get in the under-sink cabinet, go over the side trim and into the area where the slideout works. She proceeded to squeeze through a hole and into the bay area under the slide and bathroom. We had to remove a piece of trim under the bay, begging her to come to us. It took hours coaxing her out and we had to spend an extra night at the campground. Cats gets scared and decide to stay put. We again had to block this excess and stuff filling into that hole so it will not happen again.

With a cat, you can’t take off without checking the motorhome first. Any motorhome has some places cats can snoop around and get into. While your back is turned they can sneak into, over or behind a cabinet.

Other comments:
We have had these two cats on some wonderful adventures. Trying to chase chipmunks in California from the dash was the funniest. Sugar is so well known by our clients, we have to take some people out to the motorhome so they can visit with her. They always ask, “How’s Miss Sugar?”

We have used our motorhomes in our apparel business for 36 years and to have our “extended family” with us makes for wonderful travel times. At an FMCA rally in 2006, a West Memphis newspaper came out to do a small story on us and our cats.

Some people will certainly not consider using a huge coach to allow cats to roam, but on cold nights when we’re all in the same bed it is a funny sight. We rather enjoy it.

Take your animal friends with you. After all they are part of the family and FMCA Family, too.

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