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    Motion Sickness Keeps Your Cat from Being a Road Trip Companion


    Anyone with a pet knows how fun it can be to bring our beloved furry friends on the road with us. Traveling with a cat sounds like a great time. Unfortunately, though, many cats have a strong aversion to traveling and will usually get sick in the car, turning a fun road trip into a gross pit stop in order to clean up your backseat.

    Motion sickness is extremely common in cats, usually resulting in vomiting and/or diarrhea. Your cat may also wail loudly and appear to be in distress, drool and pace or appear restless while inside your vehicle.

    The cause of motion sickness problems is largely to do with anxiety. Cats love sticking to their daily routines but travelling puts a big dent in that. Major changes to the furniture in your home can send your cat into an anxious frenzy, so it’s no wonder that being in a car with new surroundings passing by would be so stressful for them.

    Additionally, car rides are often associated with going to the vet—a traumatic experience for many cats. Even if you aren’t taking your cat to the vet, they might associate your vehicle with a trip to the vet and get scared and sick.

    Kicking feline motion sickness to the curb

    The best way to help your cat get over its motion sickness is to just travel with it more often. By showing your cat that traveling can be fun and by getting it used to being in your vehicle more, it will begin to become desensitized to the environment changes and settle down.

    For younger cats, traveling can become a routine with time and patience. However, traveling with older cats is probably not a great idea if they have displayed a history of motion sickness, since getting them used to traveling at an old age may be extremely difficult. Also, if your cat has extreme anxiety, you should also probably avoid traveling with it unless it is absolutely necessary, so that its health isn’t affected by the added stress.

    You should always travel with your cat in a cat carrier. Having the carrier in the car is important, not only for your cat’s safety, but so that your cat has a safe space it is familiar with to “hide�? in. Unfortunately, many cats are terrified of their carriers even when they are in the house.

    Move the carrier into a room in the house where your cat spends a lot of time to help your cat get familiar with it. Place treats and toys in the carrier to show your cat that it is a safe space and to get it to associate the carrier with rewards. Place comforting items into the carrier, both while you’re familiarizing your cat with the carrier and while it travels in the car. Items like used T-shirts, blankets and old toys can help remind your cat that the carrier is safe and is an extension of your home.

    When your cat is willing to be in the carrier, you can begin to take it on very short trips in the car. The key here is to build up the length of the trips. Start very small with just a short movement, like moving your car out of the garage or moving from the driveway to the street. Reward your cat with a treat after each trip.

    Once your cat is more familiar with being in the car, you can begin to take longer trips. Eventually, your cat should be able to handle hour-long trips without getting scared or sick.

    Additional motion sickness tips

    Sometimes, your cat is going to have days where it is more scared to travel than others. While you train it to travel, and even while it’s on trips with you, try out some of these tips to make the trip a little easier on you and your feline friend.

    • Promote calm: Give your cat a calming supplement before taking it on a trip in the car. These supplements can help your cat relax during the stressful situation until it realizes that traveling isn’t so bad, after all.
    • Avoid food: Don’t give your cat food for a few hours before you leave. If your cat has an empty or near-empty stomach, it won’t feel as compelled to be sick, and you’ll have one fewer mess to clean up.
    • Let in fresh air: Open the car windows slightly to let in cool, fresh air while you drive. This may help ease some of your cat’s nausea.
    • Limit visibility: You shouldn’t cover your cat’s carrier completely while in the car, as the lack of sight can stress your cat out even more. Instead, cover the sides of the carrier so your cat is only able to face forward in the vehicle. This might help keep its nausea to a minimum and avoid overstimulation.

    Some cats will never be able to overcome their motion sickness, but many can, especially if their problems are rooted in anxiety. By being patient with your cat and helping it overcome its fears of traveling in the car, you should be able to take your furry best friend on trips as often as you’d like.ки�?ти дл�? контуринга лицаwinperst

    Meet Our Expert

    Dr. Janice Huntingford

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