meds for long car trip?

Kat WhickerKat Whicker ToledoMember Posts: 1,695
edited 17 March, 2009 in Cats & Travel
we are moving our cats an hour away soon. The last time we moved it was also an hour and it was an hour of hell! i had to keep pulling over to calm down tiny and clean up her barf. she hates car rides. She dosnt mind the cat carrier but as soon as the car turns on she flips. bad. shes been on alot of them and has never gotten over it. Ive tried putting a blanket over her but she flips out even more. she pukes or poops everytime. so i was wondering if anyone has used meds to calm down a cat for a trip? it would be a one time thing only used for when we move


  • edited 10 March, 2009
    You could give her Rescue Remedy. It's an over the counter herbal medicine. You would just give maybe 2 drops about an hour before she is going in the car. It works wonders for me and my animals.
  • Sabrina SalisburySabrina Salisbury PrescottMember Posts: 197
    edited 12 March, 2009
    We're doing a 3-day cross-country move next month :)) So be glad yours is only an hour :) Nashville HATES car rides too, though he just yowls and tried to dig out of his carrier. I'm trying out a pheromone collar and so far I like the results. It has a calming effect on cats, comes in sprays, plug-ins and drops too. Here's the collar info: SentryHC Good Behavior Calming Collar for Cats Product Description: Sustained release calming pheromones that go anywhere your cat does for up to 30 days--including vet visits, groomers and more. Petsmart Price: $14.99 Effective for both at home and on the go, this collar uses synthetic feline facial pheromones to help cats in fearful or stressful situations (separation anxiety, visitors, other household cats, loud noises, new baby, vet visits, traveling). This collar provides a convenient alternative to diffusers which are limited for use in the confines of a designated room. How does it work? The pheromone collar mimics the pheromone that the mother cat produces to calm and reassure her kittens. Cats recognize these pheromones throughout life. It mimics the natural way to help cats cope with new and fearful situations.
  • Annalisa Conserti-JonesAnnalisa Conserti-Jones Member Posts: 5,234
    edited 12 March, 2009
    With my cats, we have sprayed Feliway inside the car from day 1 if the trip is going to be more than 5 minutes. This has helped them travel on multiday car trips. Feliway is a pherormone that only cats can smell. It calms them down considerably in stressful situations (I believe there are sold in pet stores under several name brands, but I'd go for the real deal if you can). What also helps a lot for us is that we do practice car trips beforehand, that way by the time travel occurs, the cats are used to the routine of getting in the car, hearing car and road noises, and so forth. It's an important step of familiarizing your cat with travel, and you have to start it all over again if you haven't traveled for a while (we will be moving this summer, so I will probably start taking the cats on short around town car trips in April). Also, I find that the more stressed I get about transporting the cats, the more they pick up on the stress and act out in the car (but mine do not do much more than meow a lot at this point), so practicing the car ride helps you know what to expect from your cats and relax about it. As for medications, there are medications your vet can give you, but they are somewhat strong, so they really should be last resort (i.e., if feliway and car training don't work at all), and the instructions need to be followed to the letter. You will need to monitor for a lot of signs of distress during sleep and after they wake up, plus on some cats they will work to achieve the opposite effect, causing them to be more agitated and active than usual. It's a small percentage of cats, but you never know, so you need to test out the meds in advance. To be honest, I got meds for Boris last summer, anticipating we might fly out and would need to be sedated, but then decided against drugging him up and just took him to destination via car, because the possible side effects of the sedatives kind of worried me. Never had to use them, and I'm kind of glad I didn't.
  • Sharon DaltonSharon Dalton Member Posts: 3,728
    edited 13 March, 2009
    Several times a year, I take my 3 to my mountain cabin, a drive of about 5 hours. Nothing I've ever tried on Mordred works. I've sprayed the insides of all carriers with Feliway and put a Feliway diffuser in the car. Mordred still hides. :( I've tried Valium, which had a paradoxical effect: my normally timid cat hissed at me when I tried to pick him up to put him into the carrier. And he hid throughout the entire trip anyway. I've found Rescue Remedy to be useless; I might as well rub water into their ears. If you find anything good, please let me know. I do remember the Valium worked on my cat Kalli several years ago; the vet had told me to give her half a 2-mg pill, which I did - and that was useless; she'd meow with every single breath after only an hour. I pulled over and gave her an entire pill, and that did quiet her - but it was three times the recommended dosage. If you find anything that works, please share; I'd love to find *something* that works!
  • Lisa DausmanLisa Dausman Member Posts: 5,216
    edited 13 March, 2009
    How soon are you moving? :D
  • Valerie DurhamValerie Durham Member Posts: 8,724
    edited 15 March, 2009
    All the other posters have good advice. Oddly, my Maine Coons don\'t mind car rides at all. Totally silent, zone out. My problem is with Harvey attacking cat show judges (and yes, he\'s going to be retired at the end of April, thank goodness). Rescue Remedy did not work. I haven\'t gotten my hands on Feliway yet (in Japan you have to get it over the Internet). Valium made him look drunk and had no effect on his hostility. I haven\'t tried Xanax yet (by the way, at least in Japan, the Valium and the Xanax prescribed for cats are the same as those prescribed for humans), but I suspect that, Xanax being a benzoadiazepine tranquilizer like Valium, it would be useless as well. But you never know. I received some kind of mysterious calming medicine (which I think was probably a benzo) from a cat show person a while back, and that DID work. But he wouldn\'t tell me what the drug was. I would go with Boris\'s suggestions and try less extreme methods first, but when all else fails, go to your vet and get an actual sedative. Not a benzo, but something that puts cats to sleep. I can\'t remember the name of what has been recommended to me, but better a sleepy cat than one who is puking and pooping.
  • Kat WhickerKat Whicker ToledoMember Posts: 1,695
    edited 15 March, 2009
    not for a few weeks. i might try some feliway, its just that stuffs 30 bucks. i wish i could try it first to see if it worked before i got a big bottle. we'll see. thanks for the suggestions
  • Tara WTara W St. PaulMember Posts: 939
    edited 16 March, 2009
    Have you ever tried putting her where she can see out the window while you drive?
  • Annalisa Conserti-JonesAnnalisa Conserti-Jones Member Posts: 5,234
    edited 17 March, 2009
    Boris is so pacified by Feliway that he's preternaturally quiet. All he wants to do is sleep near the smell, and he has. We've used it for a 14 hour trip, and it made him very calm for a good part of it. So get the Feliway, spritz it in the car, and start taking rides now. Maybe then by the time you move Tiny will have changed his mind about the car. Boris will never love car rides, but he now tolerates them. He's realized that nothing bad happens, and mostly it's just boring. I also let him free roam (I know, I know, but both my cats feel less stressed if they can look out the window every once in a while), because then he can find his own comfort spot (he usually hides under my car seat most of the time, actually). Maybe being locked up in the carrier and therefore not being in control of where she is could be making her more stressed than the car ride itself.
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