While some cats enjoy traveling, most cats find the experience overwhelming and stressful. A stressful cat makes the journey more stressful for everyone involved, so your cat must remain calm. How do you calm your cat while traveling?
In order to calm a cat while traveling, it is important to prepare the cat to certain aspects of traveling and provide a comfortable environment both within the carrier and car. By completing these steps properly, owners can drastically reduce the anxiety of cats during travel.
This article provides information on calming your cat while traveling and how stressful cats find traveling. It also explores the necessity of sedating your cat for travel, what you can give your cat for a long car ride, and the best calming aid for cats. To conclude, there are tips on making them comfortable on long car rides.
How Stressful Is Traveling for Cats?
Cats are not only territorial, but they are also creatures of habit. Your home smells and looks familiar to them compared to cars that smell strange, move quickly, and are noisy.
The unpredictability of travel stress many cats. You can see their distress in how they scratch their carriers, wanting to escape, shake, yowl loudly, vomit, or even faint.
When you feel anxious about traveling, your cats can also pick up on your emotions, increasing their stress levels. So do all you can to ensure stress-free travel for you and your cat.
Should I Sedate My Cat for Travel?
With adequate preparation, you can reduce the stress of traveling for your cat. More often than not, cats do well without medication during travel, and vets only recommend sedation if your cat gets moderate-to-severe stress during trips.
If your cat becomes loud or vocal, drools heavily, pants, or has seizures when traveling, then sedatives might be very helpful. For healthy cats, prescription sedatives are usually used only under specific circumstances because they are strong.
Only use prescribed sedatives, and please be sure that your cat has no reactions to them before using them for travel. Test run the medication at home long before your trip.
What Can I Give My Cat for a Long Car Ride?
A long car ride can stress your cat if it dislikes traveling, and even cats who enjoy traveling need some comfort to deal with the journey.
If your cat experiences severe anxiety and motion sickness, you can have a vet prescribe medications for these conditions. Administer them in the proper dosages and at the right time before departure.
You may have to opt for long-lasting medications instead of short-acting ones to eliminate having to give another dose every few hours. Calming herbal tonics can also calm your cat for long rides.
If your cat cannot stay in a carrier for long hours at a stretch, stop every few hours to allow your cat to play outside the carrier. Please keep the cat on a leash or harness to prevent it from getting lost when you let the cat out.
Most importantly, give your cat a comfortable environment with as much interaction as you can provide if you are driving. Your love and reassurances will help calm your cat.
What Is the Best Calming Aid for Cats?
While many products are safe and effective, no one works for all cats. You may have to experiment with a few options to see what fits your cat. Listed below are the best calming aids:
- Feliway® pheromone products. Feliway sprays, wipes, and diffusers are some of the best options for cat owners who use calming aids.
- Sentry calming collar slowly releases pheromones to the cats, contributing to reducing their anxiety.
- Thundershirt® snuggles your cat, and it is like swaddling an infant.
- Richard’s Organics Pet Calm are liquid drops that you can add to your cat’s water or put on their paw for them to lick.
- VetriScience Composure is a treat that soothes your cat’s nervous system and improves brain health.
- Buprenorphine® and Alprazolam® are some anti-anxiety medications your vet may prescribe as a calming aid.
Note that collars stress some cats, so only use a calming collar if your cat is used to wearing them.
How Can I Make My Cat Comfortable on a Long Car Ride?
Most of the things you can do to provide comfort for your cat during car rides are done before the trip begins. A few others happen during the journey, and the variety of choices allows you to mix a perfect routine for your cat. Here are the steps to take:
- Choose a good carrier
Seeing as your cat will spend a lot of time in this carrier, pick the best fit for your cat. It should be sturdy, easy to carry, have proper ventilation, and be neither big nor small.
- Get your cat comfortable with the carrier
Incorporate the carrier into your regular home furniture and slowly introduce your cat to it. Keep it open at all times and encourage your cat to go in and out. Once your cat is comfortable doing that, try closing the carrier and carrying it around the house for a bit.
When this has been settled, take a short drive and subsequently increase the duration of each drive until your cat is comfortable staying in the car for long drives.
- Fit the carrier with your cat’s favorite blanket and toys to provide comfort and tools for activity during the trip.
- Place a potty pad at the bottom of the carrier to absorb any potty accidents your cat may have.
- Pack food and water and your cat’s favorite treats. Try not to feed your cat right before you start on a journey, as this may upset your cat’s stomach.
- Maintain an ambient temperature in your car, cool in summer and warm in winter. Use a light cloth to cover your cat’s carrier if the sun’s rays are hitting it directly.
- You can spray pheromones in your cat’s carrier and your car a few minutes before you drive.
Cat carrier training is best done when your cat is a kitten, but it is also effective for adult cats. Traveling does not have to be highly stressful for your cat, so make every car ride as soothing and enjoyable as you can for your furbaby.