Motion Sickness
Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff

Traveling with your Cat

A car ride can equal an anxiety attack, shaking, and even vomiting for some pets. And while some cats hide under the car seat, we know of one kitty who was perfectly content to lay on the dashboard and watch the world go by!

Although your pet may exhibit symptoms such as shaking or vomiting, this is not usually what humans experience as car or motion sickness, which is an inner-ear problem. Although some pets can have inner-ear motion sickness, your pet's fear of riding in vehicles is probably caused by a combination of anxiety and lack of environmental control. To your pet, the car is a very noisy moving place that inundates her with all sorts of odors. She does not understand that she will be safe and sound somewhere after the car ride.

Use this easy strategy to get your pet up to speed on travel:

  • Acclimate your pet to the car. Pets are very receptive to repetition. Start by sitting in the car with your pet and a favorite treat. Make being in the car pleasant.

  • Once your pet is no longer frightened by being in the car, turn it on so he can get used to the noise of the engine. Give a treat before and after you turn the car.

  • Get your pet used to the car in motion. Back down to the end of your driveway and drive back up a few times. Remember to include praise and treats if she does not get frightened.

  • Progress to short drives - first, around the block and then, on longer trips.

With this type of systematic progression, your pet should be used to riding in your vehicle by the time you get ready to leave on your longer trip. If your pet simply will not get settled, consider using ThunderSpray for Cats, Comfort Zone® with Feliway® Spray, or Rescue Remedy, all non-prescription products that will help ease anxiety.

  
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