Travelling with your Cat: Travel Sickness

Today’s blog has been written by Jo Woodnutt, a fosterer and final year vet student. Jo enjoys helping out at the charity and sits on our administrator board. She has an interest in feline medicine and is currently fostering ‘Sophie’.

Good afternoon and welcome to the final post in this series about travelling with your cat. This last post is all about dealing with a cat that gets travel sick.

In general it is pretty rare for a cat to get travel sick to the point of needing medication. Anxiety and stress are far more commonly recognised in cats than travel sickness. Despite this, some cats have been known to get very sick even on short journeys!

Signs of nausea in a cat include:

  • Salivating (drooling)
  • Lip-smacking
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tooth grinding
  • Hunching over/standing or sitting in an unusual posture, often with feet close together
  • Yawning
  • Shivering
  • Vomiting (including retching, whether productive or non-productive)

If your pet is one who suffers from these symptoms, there are several things you can do to help. As anybody who gets seasick will know, being out on deck in the fresh air makes you feel much better. Opening the windows of the car so that your cat can have some fresh air can make the world of difference. You should withdraw food from the night before travel so that there is less likely to be reflux with the movement of the car, and you should try to distract your cat with toys if possible.

Another thing that is important is getting your cat used to small journeys. Often, the fear and anxiety are what brings on the nausea and small, frequent journeys can help the cat become used to the car.

As a last resort, and only on the recommendation of your vet, medications can help to reduce car sickness. They should not be used for regular journeys like going to the vet but may be used for one-off journeys such as moving house.

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