How to Sedate a Cat for Travel

Your veterinarian can easily sedate your cat before traveling.
Your veterinarian can easily sedate your cat before traveling. (Image: IvonneW/iStock/Getty Images)

Traveling is supposed to be fun, but when you add a cat to the mix it becomes less fun and more stressful. Consider the trip from your cat's perspective: She's confined in a space she doesn't want to be in, she may feel nauseous from the motion and she has no idea where she's going or why. Sedatives or natural calming agents can help your cat travel a little easier.

Calming Remedies for the Anxious Traveler

You may notice how your cat behaves for a simple trip to the vet: howling, drooling, dashing away from you when she sees the carrier. The prospect of spending hours in a car with her like that is unappealing. If you have a trip coming up, discuss a sedative with your vet. The vet will consider your cat's age, medical history and current health to determine if a sedative is appropriate. Acepromazine is a commonly prescribed by veterinarians specifically for the traveling pet; it has strong anti-nausea properties, helpful for a restless or motion sickness prone cat. If you're using acepromazine for your cat's trip, it's wise to start with the lowest dose possible a few days before your trip to see how your cat responds to the drug and determine the appropriate dose.

If you are reluctant to use a prescription tranquilizer on your cat, or your vet considers her to be a risky candidate for a pharmaceutical sedative, consider using cat nip or a pheromone spray. According to Cat World, approximately 55 to 60 percent of cats are affected by catnip. If your cat is in that number, a nip of nip may soothe her nerves before traveling. WebMD notes that some pheromone products, such as Feliway, are helpful for managing stress behaviors in cats, such as spraying, so they may alleviate the stress of travel as well.

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