How to Sedate Your Cat for Travel

Some cats have no trouble traveling or going to the vet, but others do. This is because some cats like their home turf and dislike change. For this reason, they don’t tend to travel well or can get stressed out when going to professional grooming or vet examinations.

When a cat is stressed, they tend to drool, pant and meow during the trip. And this is why some vets suggest sedating the cat. Here are some of the more common medications to sedate your fluffy feline:

1. Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines are effective muscle-relaxant and anti-anxiety medications. The drug works by enhancing the release and facilitation of neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (also known as GABA) activity, which helps your kitty to relax and feel sleepy.

The drug takes effect right after it has been administered. However, you’d want to consult with your vet to be sure if it’s okay for your cat to take this drug. The only time this drug isn’t permissible is if a cat suffers from a kidney or a liver disease.

travelling with cat

2. Chlorpheniramine

This is an over-the-counter medication that is generally used to treat common colds and allergies in humans. And when it concerns cats, it’s used to prevent allergic symptoms. But even though it treats cat allergies, it comes with a common side-effect of drowsiness, which makes it an ideal sedation option for your cat during a trip.

Although it might not be the most effective for relaxing your cat, it is relatively easier to obtain because it doesn’t require a prescription. But if you’re thinking of administering this drug on your cat, who is on other drugs, then it would be best to consult the vet to avoid any disastrous reactions.

3. Diphenhydramine

Diphenhydramine is another over-the-counter drug that is effective in sedating your cat thanks to its active ingredient, Benadryl. And the best part is that it is safe for most cats, as long as you use a smaller dose than what is normally administered on humans.

Vets commonly recommend this drug to cats that have travel anxiety. Not only does the drug keep your cat relaxed, but it also helps treat their motion sickness.

4. Clonidine

Clonidine is an interesting sedative that also provides pain relief and acts as a muscle relaxant to both cats as well as dogs. You’ll need to consult your veterinarian for this drug because it is only available through prescription.

It has a mild effect on your kitty, so you don’t have to worry about him/her acting completely conked out.

The drug takes about three hours before it finally takes effect, so you may want to administer it into your cat a couple of hours before you head out on your trip.

5. Gabapentin

If you’re looking for something cheap, try gabapentin. It was originally produced to treat seizures in people, but it’s also effective in treating neuropathic pain in humans, and also cats and dogs. Interestingly, even though the drug isn’t labeled as ‘anti-anxiety,’ its effects surely are a testament of such, which is why it is used that way for both human and veterinary medicine.

It also doesn’t have a strong taste to it, which means that your cat won’t realize it’s taking medicine, as long as you mix it with their food. You need to administer the drug 2 hours before your trip for it to fully take effect. The effect of the drug lasts for 8 hours, making this an excellent option for long-distance trips.

6. Sleeping Pills

Yes, like humans, sleeping pills can be administered to cats. It is used by veterinarians in order to perform surgery on them because of its sedative effect. Sleeping pills can be obtained at any pet store as well as the internet where a prescription isn’t required.


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