What are Motion Sickness?
Motion sickness is not a fatal condition for cats, but it can lead to ailments such as vomiting and diarrhea. These ailments can lead to health problems such as dehydration. This is why it is important to prevent and manage motion sickness in cats.
Motion sickness occurs when constant motion disrupts balance and equilibrium. The stress and anxiety from traveling usually cause motion sickness in cats. Cats that are not used to traveling by car may suffer from motion sickness as a result of fear, anxiety or discomfort.
Symptoms of Motion Sickness in Cats
Cats who are suffering from motion sickness may display the following gastrointestinal problems during the car ride:
Cats also display signs of stress and anxiety, including:
- Excessive Vocalization
Your cat may also resist entering the carrier or vehicle due to motion sickness.
Causes of Motion Sickness in Cats
The main cause of motion sickness is the disruption of the balance and equilibrium due to the constant motion of the car ride. The following causes can also play a part in motion sickness in cats:
- Change of Environment
- Noisy Engine
- Stress and Anxiety
- Negative Travel Experiences
- Limited Life Experiences
Diagnosis of Motion Sickness in Cats
It is not difficult to diagnose your cat with motion sickness. You may realize your cat is suffering from motion sickness once you notice the signs of fear, anxiety and gastrointestinal problems during the car drive. A trip to the veterinarian is also helpful in diagnosing your cat with motion sickness. A physical exam can rule out neurologic and behavioral problems as the cause of vomiting or diarrhea. Your veterinarian may also ask questions about how often your cat travels and their reaction during past travel experiences.
Motion sickness does not usually lead to serious medical problems in cats. However, vomiting or diarrhea can lead to dehydration. It also creates an uncomfortable travel experience for your four-legged friend. This is why it is important to diagnose and treat motion sickness before your next car trip. You can easily see the signs of motion sickness in cats, but it never hurts to schedule an appointment with the veterinarian for an official diagnosis.
Treatment of Motion Sickness in Cats
Once your cat is diagnosed with motion sickness, your veterinarian will provide tips on how to treat and prevent it.
Take Your Time
Your cat is not going to get over their anxiety of traveling in just a few hours. It may take days or weeks to prepare your cat for your next car trip. Stay calm and do not scold your cat for excessive vocalization. Signs of visible anxiety is your cue to stop training for the day rather than continuing to stress them out.
Make The Carrier Comfortable
Your cat needs to see that their carrier is a safe, comfortable place. You can start by keeping the carrier next to their sleep area. The next step is to place their favorite blanket, toy or treats inside the carrier. Place your cat inside the carrier for several minutes a day so they can get used to it. Remember to give them plenty of praise during what may be a difficult experience for them.
Move To The Car
You can move the training to the car once your cat is used to sitting in their carrier. Start by keeping the car parked and turned off, and do not turn on the engine until your cat is used to being inside the car. Once your cat is used to the noise of the engine, you can start taking short drives to get them used to the constant motion.
Look Into Medication
Talk to your veterinarian about giving your cat Dramamine before your car ride. Dramamine is known for easing nausea, vomiting and diarrhea on the spot. The medication is safe to give to some pets before traveling, but you should always talk to your veterinarian before giving it to your cat.
Recovery of Motion Sickness in Cats
You can always a schedule another appointment with the veterinarian if your cat is still suffering from motion sickness. You may need to experiment with changing their feeding habits before the trip, so you can figure out if your cat travels best with an empty or full stomach. It may take several car rides to get your cat used to traveling.
There is a chance your cat will not over the anxiety and gastrointestinal problems of motion sickness. You can always find another alternative such as hiring a pet sitter, looking into pet boarding or asking a loved one to keep an eye on your cat.