Cats often get anxious enough when they travel in moving vehicles, and bouts of dizzying motion sickness certainly don't help things. On top of feelings of severe stress, cats who are prone to pesky motion sickness tend to experience nausea and extreme feelings of restlessness -- poor things!
If you're worried that your little one is suffering from motion sickness-induced discomfort, pay close attention to any typical signs of distress. Some common symptoms of motion sickness include nausea, vomiting, drooling a lot, antsy behavior, circling, urination, diarrhea, freezing up, constant meowing and yawning. According to The Merck Veterinary Manual, once the vehicle your cat is in stops moving, his symptoms will often quickly subside.
Fear is often the root cause behind a cat's motion sickness woes. When a cat abruptly becomes restless or nauseous during the course of a short car ride to a relative's home, for example, the malaise is often triggered by intense feelings of dread. Perhaps your cat links being in a car with the uncertainty of a veterinarian or groomer visit. Maybe he is scared by all of the rapidly passing strange sights and sounds that he's experiencing through the window. Even if your fluff ball acts like he owns the world while in the comfort of your home, the anxiety of being in fast motion may throw all of that out of the window.
Try to soothe your cat's fears by talking to him in a calm and quiet voice while simultaneously stroking his back. If at all possible -- and you're not the one driving -- keep doing this for the entire trip. Never act impatient or irked by him.
Try gradually to get your scared cutie used to being in a vehicle, especially if you're planning a long car, train or plane ride in the near future. After inserting your kitty comfortably in his carrier, securely place him in your vehicle and remain there sans movement for about five minutes. Ensure your cat has a beloved toy or blanket in full view to calm his nerves. Then, start your car and take him on a brief drive up and down your block. Keep doing this for several days, while gradually making your trips slightly longer every day. To establish a positive link to moving vehicles in your fluff ball's brain, offer him a yummy salmon treat every time you are finished.
If you're worried about your pet suffering from nausea, refrain from feeding Kitty on the morning you leave, the Animal Humane Society recommends.
In the event that your cat shows no sign that he's getting more comfortable with being in the car for prolonged periods of time, speak to his veterinarian about possible use of anxiety-reducing medications.
If you're thinking about taking your cat on a trip that involves an extended amount of time in a moving vehicle, whether a plane or a train, the Animal Humane Society recommends taking some important factors into consideration. Think about your cat's overall bill of health, his temperament and any history he might have with small, confined spaces. If your cat is healthy, relatively laid back and can cope well with carriers, then he may be a suitable candidate for travel. Otherwise, he may just be miserable, frightened and totally nauseous the entire time. Take time to consider the most appropriate option for your cat.