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12 Hour Car Ride With Cat (Are Natural Sedatives OK?)

If you are planning a long 12-hour car ride with your cat you may be looking for the best way to make it easier, or if sedatives will help you.

Are car rides bad for cats?

Car rides are not necessarily bad for cats but many cats do not enjoy them. This can be for several reasons such as the fact they are not used to it, feel confined in the car, and the motion of the vehicle.

What you need to prepare and calm your cat

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So, now you know car rides are not bad. But, what can you do to make it easier? How can you prepare better? What natural sedatives can be used? Keep reading for these answers, and so much more…

How do you prepare a cat for a 12-hour car ride?

The best way to increase your chances of a comfortable trip is to be prepared. Avoid just putting your cat in the car and hoping for the best. Here are some tips to help you:

01. Get your cat used to your car

One of the reasons most cats hate the car is because they have never been used to it. Therefore, allow your cat some relaced time just sitting in it.

Also, if you plan a trip in it, avoid the vets. Most cats assume that the destination and it can lead to anxiety or hyperventilating.

02. Use a cat carrier

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Whenever you take your cat out to the car you should be using a cat carrier (Click here to see the reviews, on Amazon #Ad). This will keep your cat safe and secure while you travel with it in the car.

03. Feed before you go

To keep your cat content you should feed it before you travel. If it gets hungry or thirsty on the route it may cause it to get frustrated or anxious.

04. Check if medication is required

Some cats have issues beyond just food and water and feeling enclosed. In these cases, they may benefit from some medication. It’s best to check with your vet for the best options available for them.

05. Stop if necessary

On a long journey of 12 hours or more, you will definitely need to stop off. This will not only give you a break but allows your cat to get a break.

For this stop off you can consider using a cat harness (Click here to see my best one) so it can get a walk with you in control.

Can a cat sedative be placed in your cat’s food for the journey?

A cat sedative can be put in your cat’s food to help make it easier. However, you need to check with your vet first. Some owners may prefer a natural cat sedative.

5 Natural sedatives for long car journeys

Traveling with a cat is a dreaded experience for a lot of cat owners. Not many cats enjoy car or plane rides.

Cats like routine and the safety of their homes. Change stresses them out. While you can leave your cat in the comfort of her home with a professional pet sitter while you go on vacation, there are situations in which traveling with your cat cannot be avoided.

Whether you’re going to the veterinarian or moving to a new home, there are several natural cat sedatives you can use to calm your cat so that the trip isn’t as stressful for her.

Here are some natural sedatives that can be considered:

01. Catnip is an Effective Sedative

Catnip originated in Europe and Asia and is part of the mint family. Cats, large and small, love this herb. Interestingly, approximately one-third of cats do not respond to catnip.

Whether or not your cat is sensitive to catnip is determined by his genetics. However, you won’t know if your cat will respond to this herb until he is between three and six months of age.

Some cats become very calm after getting the catnip. For some cats, catnip produces a euphoric state. However, other cats, especially males, may become somewhat aggressive when they have catnip.

It’s always best to give your cat catnip before traveling so you know how he reacts to it ahead of time.

Look for catnip products that use mostly catnip leaves and blossoms when you’re purchasing it for your kitty. The catnip that uses mostly stems is of lower quality.

Additionally, if you give your kitty catnip too often, he can stop responding to it. Some cat owners say you should only give your kitty catnip once a week to ensure he will continue to respond to it.

02. Calm Your Cat with Valerian

Valerian is native to Europe and Asia, but it also grows in North America today. Valerian root is well-known for its calming effect on humans. It is commonly used by those who suffer from insomnia and anxiety.

Valerian has a much milder effect on cats. Valerian won’t make your cat sleepy, but it should help calm her. Valerian may soothe your cat’s stomach as well when you travel.

03. Chamomile is a Great Choice for Reducing Stress

The chamomile plant is native to northern Africa and western Europe, but it’s grown all around the world today. Chamomile has numerous benefits for humans, including relieving congestion, calming an upset stomach, and relieving stress.

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Chamomile is used to treat inflammatory bowel disease, relieve anxiety, and alleviate skin inflammation in pets.

Research on animals shows that chamomile possesses substances that affect the same parts of the nervous system and brain as anti-anxiety drugs.

Chamomile is given orally to reduce anxiety. Consult your veterinarian for an appropriate dose of chamomile for your cat before administering it.

Pets who are allergic to plants in the Aster family may experience an allergic reaction to chamomile, but the chance of this happening is low, according to VCA Animal Hospitals.

03. Lavender Oil Decreases Stress

Lavender oil contains anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. Lavender is used to helping people sleep, reduce stress and anxiety, relieve irritated skin, and soothe upset stomachs.

Lavender oil can also be used as a natural sedative for your cat. Though lavender is generally safe for cats, you should consult your veterinarian about how and how much to administer to your cat for stress relief.

04. Pheromones Reduce Anxiety

Synthetic pheromone products were first introduced in the United States in 2001.

Synthetic cat pheromones mimic a cat’s natural calming pheromones to help reduce anxiety (Click here to see why many owners choose this one). Synthetic cat pheromone products address a wide range of behaviors related to stress, such as scratching, marking, and aggression.

Cat pheromone products are also used to decrease anxiety and can be used to help ease the stress of moving into a new home, going on visits to the vet, and traveling. You can learn more about cat pheromone products by watching this:

Cat pheromone products are available in sprays, plug-ins, collars, and wipes. You could spray your cat’s carrier with a pheromone spray 10 to 15 minutes before you put your cat into her carrier for your trip. You can also use a pheromone wipe to wipe your cat down before putting her into her carrier.

05. Flower Essences Ease Your Cat’s Mind

Flower essences are specifically prepared extracts from the flowering portion of certain plants.

Flower essences heal stress and disease through energy fields from the inside. Dr. Bach was the first physician to develop flower essences.

Flower essence formulas made specifically for pets don’t contain any alcohol. The nice thing about flower essences is that they begin to work right away.

You can put a few drops of flower essences in your cat’s food or water or directly onto his tongue.

Can A Thundershirt Calm Your Cat?

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A Thundershirt for Cats applies gentle, constant pressure to your cat’s torso, which helps calm her when she’s anxious.

It’s a good idea to acclimate your cat to the Thundershirt before any type of stressful situation, such as traveling, takes place.

Doctors Foster and Smith recommend using the folded Thundershirt as a tray; place some of your cat’s favorite treats on the Thundershirt for him to eat.

Next, put the Thundershirt onto your cat’s back, but don’t fasten any of the straps. Fasten the straps of the Thundershirt when you do your first fitting. Leave the Thundershirt on for five to 10 minutes. During this time, encourage your kitty to move around by trying to engage him in play.

You could also get him to walk around by using some treats. These activities will help your cat associate the Thundershirt with positive things.

Don’t be worried if your cat acts weird with it on

Don’t be surprised if your cat falls over or flops down once he has the Thundershirt on initially. Cats are sensitive to touch and need time to adjust to the new sensation the Thundershirt gives.

Help your cat adjust to the Thundershirt by putting it on him many times before you travel. Gradually increase the amount of time he wears the Thundershirt, and always make the experience a positive one.

In conclusion

Traveling with your cat is stressful, but sometimes it cannot be avoided. If you must travel with your cat, consider trying one of these natural sedatives.

These natural ​sedatives for cats (Click here to see if Benadryl can be used on car trips)will help keep your cat calm, making your trip more enjoyable for everyone.

The trip will also be improved with the best cat carrier, whether if that is soft or hard-sided (Click here to see why I rated this one).

Lindsey Browlingdon