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7 natural cat sedatives for travel

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.

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, according to Cat Behavior Associates. 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 catnip. For some cat, catnip produces a euphoric state. However, other cats, especially males, may become somewhat aggressive when they have catnip, according to Cat Behavior Associates. 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. Catnip that uses mostly stems is lower quality. Additionally, if you give your kitty catnip too often, he can stop responding to it. Cat Behavior Associates recommends only giving your kitty catnip once a week to ensure he will continue to respond to it.

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.

According to The Nest, 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.

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.

Chamomile is used to treat inflammatory bowel disease, relieve anxiety, and alleviate skin inflammation in pets, according to VCA Animal Hospitals. According to PetMD, 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.

Lavender Oil Decreases Stress

Lavender oil contains anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. Lavender is used to help 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.

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.

Flower Essences Ease Your Cat's Mind

According to Little Big Cat, 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.

A Thundershirt Uses Pressure to Calm Your Cat

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 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.

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

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