8 Tips To Prevent Motion Sickness In Cats
Have you ever been riding in the car, minding your own business, when all of a sudden your cat starts to act weird? Maybe they cry, stretch out their forearms with their paws facing backward, and curl up into a ball. They might even throw up. Motion sickness is common in cats. Some breeds are more prone to the condition than others, and overweight cats and older cats are more likely to suffer from it. But the good news is, there are things you can do to help prevent your feline friend from experiencing motion sickness.
Signs of Motion Sickness in Cats
Your cat may be suffering from motion sickness if you notice one or more of these signs:
It is one of the first symptoms of motion sickness, especially if your cat has never experienced it before. It's easy to mistake this for normal laziness, but there are several things to look out for. If you notice that your cat seems unusually tired or is sleeping more than usual, this could be a sign that something is wrong.
Nausea in cats can cause a condition called ptyalism when excess amounts of saliva are produced, causing the cat to drool or slobber. The drool may be clear but often appears foamy and stringy at first.
The color of your cat's gums can tell you a lot about their health. Pale gums are one of the most common symptoms of motion sickness in cats because their blood pressure is dropping due to nausea. If your cat has pale gums, contact your vet right away because it could indicate shock.
Vomiting or retching
Some cats will actually vomit during an episode of motion sickness, while others will simply retch without actually bringing anything up. Either way, this is a sign that the cat is dealing with an upset stomach that is caused by the movement of their environment.
Trembling and shaking
Many times, nausea in cats causes them to tremble since they feel so poorly. They may also shake if they have a fever from a virus or other illness that may be causing the motion sickness to begin with.
It may be that cats are trying to stimulate saliva production in an attempt to counteract nausea caused by motion sickness.
How Can I Prevent My Cat From Getting Motion Sickness?
You are better off preventing motion sickness in cats than having to deal with it after the fact. Motion sickness in cats can become a recurring problem if you don't take care of it right away. Here are a few suggestions for how to prevent motion sickness in cats.
1. Get your cat comfortable with their carrier. Seat your kitty in a carrier as it helps provide a secure and stable environment for your kitty and prevents distractions for the driver. Keep your cat calm in their carrier and make it a safe place by placing a towel on the bottom, or lining it with a blanket for comfort. Acclimate your cat to their carrier before the trip by keeping it out so your cat can get used to seeing it at home — this will reduce stress on the day of travel as the carrier won't be an unfamiliar object.
2. Avoid feeding your cat right before the trip. If your cat eats before the trip, there’s a higher chance of your cat getting car sick. This is because the stomach is full, and it may cause your cat to vomit or have diarrhea during the trip. If your cat is hungry, give them a small snack two hours before the trip.
3. Keep your cat hydrated. Dehydration can cause nausea and lead to vomiting, so make sure your cat stays hydrated before and during road trips, and always have an extra bottle of water on hand just in case.
4. Consult your vet for advice and medication. Consider using anti-nausea medication prescribed by your vet before traveling in case your cat experiences motion sickness. It should only be used when necessary and under veterinary supervision.
5. Control temperature and ventilation. Keep the air conditioner on to keep your cat cool, but not too cold. The fresh air can also help reduce feelings of nausea. Keep the air vents away from your cat's face to reduce the flow of air when it's breezy outside.
6. Provide lots of exercise and stimulation for your cat. It may be helpful for your cat to exercise prior to travel because it reduces stress levels and helps them use up energy. A tired cat is less likely to be unsettled by outside stimuli. If your cat is active, they will have more stamina and less chance of getting sick during the trip, so take your kitty for a walk or play around with them before the trip.
7. Take frequent breaks on your trip. Even if you have nowhere to stop and rest on the way, it's best to try to slow down and give your cat time to adjust. Stop every hour or so and let your cat stretch their legs. It's also important to keep your cat hydrated by giving them fresh water every time you stop.
8. Bring treats. Have some treats on hand to give your cat during travel time to distract them from any nausea or anxiety that they may be feeling. Treats that smell like tuna or gefilte fish can help your cat feel better during the car ride.
Motion sickness in cats can be a real problem, but there are some steps you can take to lessen the chances of your cat getting car sick. By the end of this article, we hope you feel more prepared and confident when it comes to helping your cat cope with it.