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Take Me Along

Oct 5, 2012 by     2 Comments    Posted under: Tips & Advice

I love traveling with my cats, but my Sphynx cat, affectionately referred to as “Naked”, gets car sick within minutes of starting a car ride. I thought I’d share what I do to try to keep Velvet from vomiting and almost always defecating during the trip.

  1. I try my best to make sure she hasn’t eaten for 6 -8 hours prior to her being placed in her cat carrier.
  2. About 30 minutes before she goes in her carrier I give her ½ of a .25mg alprazolam tablet along with ¼ of a tablet of Cerenia. The alprazolam is to keep her calm and the Cerenia is to stop nausea. I always make sure I follow the medication with a little water to help make sure the medication reaches her stomach quickly and doesn’t irritate her esophagus as she is swallowing.

If this doesn’t work for a cat of yours that gets motion sickness, consider having your veterinarian prescribe acepromazine. It is also given about 30 minutes before traveling and is a great sedative. Your cat’s third eyelid will likely show and your cat might look pretty loopy, so don’t be surprised when your notice an unfamiliar facial expression on your cat when the medication is in your cat’s system.

Another option is to give Dramamine which you can purchase at your local pharmacy. A typical 10 pound cat should get ¼ – ½ of a 50mg tablet. It should also make you cat drowsy. Meclizine (Bonine) is another over the counter motion sickness medication that is doses at 12.5mg per 10 pound cat. For really severe car sickness you can add in a little Cerenia.

Try these medications when you have an opportunity to take a short car ride so you can test dosing and drug combinations. Your veterinarian is your best source when deciding which drugs to use since he or she will know your cat best.

Whichever drugs you use, make sure you are prepared when traveling with a cat that gets motion sickness. I always keep a harness on my cat when she is in her carrier in case a clean-up is needed. I attach a leash before she is allowed out or her carrier that is always lined with an absorbable puppy pad before my trip commences. I have waterless soap for me and even keep disposable exam gloves in my car. Disposable wipes like Clorox wipes work well to clean the carrier and of course, I keep plastic bags in the car as well for storing soiled puppy pads and used wipes until I find an available trash can.

Yes, it takes preparation and patience if you decide to travel with a cat that gets sick in the car, but it is well worth it when you reach your destination and your trip is made that much more enjoyable by having your cat along!

Dr Diane Eigner

Diane Eigner graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School in 1980. Dr. Eigner established her exclusively feline practice, The Cat Doctor, in Philadelphia in 1983, and began offering house call services at the Jersey Shore in 1991. She is a past president of the University of Pennsylvania’s Veterinary School Alumni Society, a Past President of the American Association of Feline Practitioners and is a member of the advisory board of Harcum Junior College’s Veterinary Technical School. Diane has been the consulting veterinarian for the Morris Animal Refuge since 1983. Doctor Eigner’s column “Ask The Cat Doctor” appeared in the Cat Fancier’s Almanac from 1996-2000. Diane joined the Catalyst Council’s board as the American Association of Feline Practitioner’s representative in 2009. She is now serving as the immediate past-chair of the Catalyst Council.

An avid Sailor, Diane loves nothing better than to be at the Jersey shore where she keeps her sailboat, Purrfect, and where she has a second home. Since meeting her husband, Fred Turoff, Temple University’s Men’s gymnastics team head coach, her family life has been dominated by men’s gymnastics. Her son Evan is a level ten gymnast that competes nationally and will join her husband’s division I men’s gymnastics team in the fall.. Diane also shares her life with three very entertaining cats. Though she shouldn’t have a favorite, her Sphynx cat, Velvet, which she rescued at the shelter where she consults, is the cat love of her life. Her integrated home also includes a Welsh Corgi named Twinks, two Cornish Rex cats, Naui and Padi and a Russian Tortoise.

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