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Cat living in a van

Posted by rivkadr (My Page) on
Mon, Oct 22, 12 at 16:05

I'm just wondering if anyone else thinks this is a bit cruel, or if I'm just being overly sensitive.

Last week, I went to a nearby store, and came across a guy living in a small RV-like van. He has a young kitten (I'd estimate around 9 - 10 weeks old) that he is keeping in the RV with him. When he is at work or otherwise busy, he keeps the kitten locked in the RV with only a couple of small windows open.

I originally came across the kitten when my husband and I almost ran it over in the parking lot. The kitten had a collar with the RV license plate on it; when I took the kitten back to the young man, he explained that it was currently the kitten's "play time". My husband and I came back later that day and offered to buy the kitten from him, and give it a good home that would not involve living in such a tiny space and running around a busy parking lot. The young man refused, and stated "I got the cat specifically to live in this environment." He also explained that the kitten was perfectly happy living inside the RV, and that it was fine being locked up there while he is at work all day. The temperature where I live has been in the 70s and 80s lately; I can't imagine how hot and stifling that vehicle is for the kitten on the really hot days. When I told him that allowing the cat to roam the parking lot wasn't particularly responsible, he stated that he would stop letting it do that -- I'm not sure which is worse...the cat potentially getting hit by a car, or being locked up inside a hot RV for hours on end.

I contacted Animal Control in regards to the situation; when I called back about it, they told me that they checked into it and the kitten was not "in distress" and that there's nothing else they can do.

Currently, the cat is:

- living in a space that is smaller than my guest bathroom; the RV is piled full of stuff like some kind of hoarding situation, so it's likely pretty much just living in this kids' sleeping space
- it was allowed to wander a busy parking lot; we almost accidentally ran it over ourselves. Not sure if it's continuing to wander the parking lot or not.
- it's confined to a hot vehicle with only a couple of windows cracked for several hours at a time

I have no doubt that the young man loves this kitten, but the above behavior is at best irresponsible, and at worst inhumane, in my opinion. He seemed to feel that the entire situation was a bit of a joke, and that living in an RV with a cat was an experiment of sorts.

I guess at this point, there's not anything I can do, but it sure makes me sad. It doesn't seem like much of a life for the kitten.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Cat living in a van

well, i sure don't understand how animal control says it's ok. if YOU parked your car next to this RV and left a kitten in your car all day, would that be ok with animal control? i see no difference unless he is running a/c in the summer and plans to heat it in the winter.

does the RV stay parked in the same place day after day after day? if this is some sort of "permanent" living space for this guy, maybe a letter to the local newspaper calling attention to the kitten's situation would be appropriate.


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RE: Cat living in a van

That is so sad and I don't understand why he did not take you up on your offer, he sounds selfish. Or maybe he is lonely and got the kitten for companionship. Since he's living in a van, he has probably fallen on hard times and is trying to get back on his feet again? If so, things might improve for the kitten once he has enough money for an apartment.


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RE: Cat living in a van

It just occurred to me, maybe you could offer to foster the kitten for him until he is able to find better accommodations? That might sound better to him than relinquishing custody altogether.


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RE: Cat living in a van

I think it's unlikely that he would be receptive to any communication from me at this point, since I called Animal Control on him.


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RE: Cat living in a van

I think it's wrong to subject the kitten to very high temps. Other than that, I have no problems with him owning it. I used to live in a shoebox studio apt. & had a cat, who was a pretty happy cat.

A lot of homeless people are very lonely & it would be a huge comfort to me if I were homeless to have a pet, someone who loves me & doesn't judge me, etc. Maybe if the vehicle were ventilated, parked in the shade, and/or had a little fan going, the kitten would be better off. It's better than a lot of pets receive sadly. At least it's not being abused.


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RE: Cat living in a van

My first thought was MYOB. Sorry, but it was. For all you know the cat my be perfectly happy with this man. He at least is leaving windows open for the cat when he is gone & is not letting it run loose while he is out. I too would be offended by your offer. Perhaps you should have given him a suggestion for a better area for play time.

I find it interesting that no one is concerned about a human being living in the little, cramped RV in a parking lot.


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RE: Cat living in a van

I'd hope that animal control gave him some advice on keeping the temperatures comfortable for the kitten.

As far as space goes, the kitten has a lot more room in the RV than a shelter cage.

Where does the guy have the RV parked? Is there space for the cat to go play that isn't in the parking lot? It might find a safer place on it's own to play.


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RE: Cat living in a van

As far as space goes, the kitten has a lot more room in the RV than a shelter cage.

Sure, but not as much as space as a home; you make it sound like the only options are the RV or a shelter -- we offered to give the kitten a good home. And at least in a shelter, the cat wouldn't have to worry about roasting to death (it's going to be in the mid to high 80's for the next several days). The guy lives in a parking lot in a massive suburban shopping area; if the kitten leaves the parking lot, it will just be in another parking lot. Or in the middle of a busy street.

I find it interesting that no one is concerned about a human being living in the little, cramped RV in a parking lot.

I guess I didn't make this clear in my first post; after talking to the kid, we found out that this is not some guy who lost his job and is living in a van because he has no other place to live. This is a hipster college kid who is working in the same place that he is living, and going to the community college across the street. He's living in the van because it means he can live within 30 seconds of his job, and 5 minutes of his school, and doesn't have to pay rent.

That's 100% his right to do, if he wants to live that way to save money. What I object to is his choosing to bring a small kitten into such a living situation, as some sort of experiment, and because he thinks it's "cool" to do.


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RE: Cat living in a van

you left out a lot of pertinent info in the OP, OP. But the crux is of the matter is, you're moralizing his right to own a cat. If AC doesn't do anything, you may have to swallow your pride & let it go. It's still true whether you like it or not, that a van/RV is lot larger than a cage, and there are MANY MANY cats waiting for homes in shelters, the reality is most won't get them. There are also a lot of animals that suffer mistreatment, and it doesn't sound as if he's mistreating the animal. He may not be caring for it in your preferred way, but that's you judging him.We can't control many things in life, I suggest you put your energies towards something you can have meaningful impact on. This probably isn't one of those things.

I'm not trying to slam you here, but feel the need to play devil's advocate. This situation can be viewed in a couple different ways.


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RE: Cat living in a van

I'm not planning on doing anything about it, or putting any more of my energies towards it. I've already done what I can by calling Animal Control. I merely brought it up as a topic for discussion, and to see what others thought. Thank you for your input.


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RE: Cat living in a van

I have always felt that it's our duty to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves--children, the elderly, animals--when we see abuse. I once called child protective services when I found two children under the age of 5 swimming and shivering in a flooded playground structure in January. I asked their names and found their mother sitting 50 yards away with her back to them, unconcerned. I couldn't live with myself if I hadn't reported it. I just wish there'd been cell phones then so I could have called 911 and got immediate action.

So I don't think you are out of line in trying to protect a kitten who is let outside to play in a busy parking lot. You are an advocate for animals and you have a big heart.

Doesn't the town have ordinances against people living in a parking lot? It is private property. If he doesn't care about the kitten's safety, maybe he'll care about how the poor person who runs over the kitten will feel.


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RE: Cat living in a van

thanks riv. Lots of food for thought in this thread all.


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RE: Cat living in a van

Not the best place for a kitten but if it is getting love, food & shelter it's better than being a stray. Leting it play in the parkinglot has got to stop though.


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RE: Cat living in a van

I am sure the cat will end up pregnant to impregnating another cat.


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RE: Cat living in a van

One thing Ive learned in life - sure, you have to know when to back off, but I will never apologize for speaking up when something seems a bit off or not right.

As human beings, we are not solitary creatures, we interact with each other - for better or worse - and I reserve the right to give advice esp. to those younger than myself. This is one of the perks of being an older, post menopausal woman. You can say just about anything to anyone - even the most outrageous things!

The thing is, you can't control what other people do with the information - but at least you can have your say.

I was young and stupid once and did lots of things that werent very responsible. Sometimes things people say to each other in passing can have a profound effect later on that you will never know about. This guy may think you're nothing but a busy body but then again - you cared about the well being of his kitten so he may come to have some appreciation of that.


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RE: Cat living in a van

Kashka kat, truer words have never been said!

"Sometimes things people say to each other in passing can have a profound effect later on that you will never know about."


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RE: Cat living in a van

The guy lives in a parking lot in a massive suburban shopping area; if the kitten leaves the parking lot, it will just be in another parking lot. Or in the middle of a busy street.
People are allowed to live in parking lots in your area?? If he's allowed to set up shop there, why not pick him up some cat play tunnels so the cat can run safely around the RV. They have collapsible tunnels that can be hooked together and wouldn't take up too much space in his home. Kitty can get some fresh air, exercise and be safe at the same time. They also advertise cooling mats for dogs that don't require any power that a cat could sit on in an RV. If the kid holds a job and goes to college, he must have something upstairs. It sounds like he was just in need of some guidance - first pet maybe? I called animal control on these people once that moved into an apartment (no dogs allowed) so they left 2 big dogs in the CAR. They said the car could be considered a kennel. Not much help I'm afraid.

And if you were willing to take this kitten because you could give it a really nice home.....there are a lot still left at the shelter you could save from the fate of an RV :)



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