Although it may seem as if sedation is the best option, we do not recommend pets are sedated for stressful times such as fireworks and travel. Sedatives prevent them from acting normally but actually do little to reduce the fear they are experiencing.
However, we do have a number of products you can try to help reduce your cat’s stress when you are taking them in the car or cat basket.Feliway is a great product that comes in a spray that allows you to spray in the carrier and car. This is a natural product that mimics the pheromones cats release to reassure others and reduce stress levels. If you spray this in the cat basket and car at least half an hour before travel, it should help relax your cat when they enter.
Pet Remedy is another product we have available that works in a similar way but you can actually spray some on your hands and rub it over them prior to travel. This product contains Valarium which relaxes all pets and has even had some effect on us as owners!
If you have tried these products and they have had no or little effect or they get extremely stressed you could try Calmex.
Calmex is a product that uses a combination of two amino acids, a plant extract and B vitamins to help calm anxious or stressed cats. This is a liquid solution you administer to your cat orally at least 1 hour prior to travel. We recommend this product for those pets that dislike coming into the vet practice and we see fantastic results.
Other things you could try are: a combination of these and covering the cat basket with a towel sprayed in the product. Sometimes a darker environment will reduce stress levels.
Noise levels are also very important, keep noise levels as low as possible. There are studies that suggest playing classical music at low levels can help reduce anxiety in pets during their stay in the hospital. So you could try some calming music for your cat in the car.
Most cats really dislike the cat basket, so desensitization of the cat carrier is important. Leave the basket out days prior to travel so that they get used to the box and if possible, try feeding him or her a meal or laying treats inside for them to find so they can associate nice things with the cat box.
Alternatively, if you notice signs of nausea such as drooling or vomiting when travelling, please book an appointment with one of our vets so we are able to prescribe some anti-nausea medication.