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Traveling with Cats? Since we are a very mobile society and many of us have pets, our animals tend to be well traveled too. Obvious reasons for travel would include moving or even short trips like taking your cat to the veterinarian, but many people take their animals along for pleasure trips and vacations as well.
Sedating Cats For Travel?
This is one of the more common requests from people who plan to travel with their cat, and understandably so.
Cats are much less common travelers than dogs. Hardly anyone takes their cat along to run errands or to the park.
Consequently, when cats get in the car, it is usually to come to the veterinarian, which is not often a pleasurable memory. When people plan on taking their cat for longer distance drives or on an airplane, they often request sedation as a way of making the trip easier.
Unfortunately, sedation is not always the answer. Tranquilizers have variable effects on cats, and we cannot predict which cats will do well and which ones won’t. For a few cats, sedation makes the trip much less stressful. But for many cats, sedation makes the experience worse.
Cats do not understand the feeling of sedation, and many will fight its effects. Often, sedation takes a nervous cat and turns it into a drunk, nervous cat.
What Do You Recommend For Cats That Travel?
The first step is to discuss this question with your veterinarian. Based upon your cat’s medical history, your veterinarian can make the necessary decisions regarding your cat and medications. I like to have people perform a medication trial before they travel.
By giving the tranquilizer at home when you can observe your cat, we can see if the cat does well before you are out on the highway. If she is relaxed and happy, sedating for travel can help.
But if your cat fights the sedation by vocalizing, pacing nervously, and becoming more anxious, you should not sedate the cat during travel.
If your veterinarian does prescribe medication, use it only as directed and never use medication prescribed for a human or another cat. Often the best way to travel is simply to put the cat in an enclosed carrier. The confinement will offer a feeling of security that is usually sufficient to allow a comfortable trip.
Enjoy your trip.