Cat Sedative for Travel Everything You Need to Know

Are you considering traveling with your feline friend? If so, then you’ll love this cat sedative for travel post. I’ve done a bunch of due diligence to bring everything right to you to help you understand how to sedate your furbaby.

Cat sedation can be a great way to relieve the stress and sickness that can be caused when traveling via plane, train, or automobile. Some cats just do not do well during travel and will meow and moan the entire trip.

It’s totally possible to help calm them down and enjoy the voyage together.

What Are Cat Sedatives?

They can either be natural or medicated over the counter products that will help keep your furry friend asleep or calm during stressful situations. Many people use these methods to help their kitty stay calm or relaxed while traveling.

There are different methods to use when sedating your kitty and we’ll be taking a look at the various methods to use.

Can I Sedate My Cat for Travel

This is a controversial topic among everyone, and yes it’s totally possible to sedate a cat. There are several over-the-counter and natural products you can use.

I’ve put together a list of a few of the options as well as the dosage amount and side effects from use.

Cat Sedative for Travel Over The Counter

Diphenhydramine (Benadryl)

Contains sedative qualities that can help your cat feel more relaxed, and can even help with motion sickness.

When using this for your cat, make sure that you place your cat a familiar carrier that they’ve used. Place their favorite blanket and toy that has their scent or your scent on it.

This will help them stay relaxed as the Benadryl wears off.

Dosage: Allow 0.5 mg to 2 mg per pound every 8-12 hours.

Side Effects: Loss of appetite, a decrease in urination, drowsiness, dry mouth, diarrhea, and vomiting.

Gabapentin and Clonidine

An inexpensive medication that was originally developed to help control seizures in humans. You should give it to your cat about 1-2 hours before going to vet, traveling or whatever causes anxiety in your feline.

A single dose can last for about 12 hours.

Dosage: 100 mg or a placebo capsule containing lactose powder

Side Effects: Owners may experience their cat vomiting, suffering from ataxia, and hypersalivation all of which should be resolved within 8 hours.


It’s a low-cost antihistamine that is used to treat cat allergies. It comes in the form of capsules, tablets, and syrup. It can cause drowsiness in a cat and sometimes used as a mile sedative.

Dosage: Do not exceed 0.25 mg/per pound every 8 hours when using a sedative.

Side Effects: drowsiness, vomiting, lack of appetite, and diarrhea.

What Is A Safe Sedative for Cats?

Most owners don’t want to use medicine to dose their feline friend. As you can see above, most of them come with side effects that can make your baby feel bad.

None of the methods that I shared above have been known to cause long-term lasting side effects. Most of the side effects will wear off within 8 hours.

If not, you’ll definitely want to contact your veterinarian to have your feline friend checked out. You may also want to check with your veterinarian to see if they can prescribe pet anxiety medication to help your cat stay calm while traveling.

How Can I Naturally Sedate My Cat

If you don’t feel comfortable giving your cat over the counter medicines then here is a list of some natural sedatives to make your travel a much more pleasant experience.

Nip of Catnip

Catnip or Nepeta cataria has been known to be a great sedative for cats. Catnip contains the popular essential oil nepetalactone that is known to drive felines crazy.

Nepetalactone causes a hallucinogenic effect that is similar to LSD or marijuana. It is a member of the mint family when you crust the leaves, it has a faint scent of mint.

To use it as a sedative, you’ll want to make sure that your cat eats the catnip. If they just inhale it, they will become stimulated.

Side Effects: Catnip is completely safe for cats. However, if they consume too much, they may vomit and have diarrhea. The side effects will go away after you stop feeding them and with some time.

Kava Kava

Kava Kava, also known as Piper methysticum, is a tropical herb that has been used as a sedative. When using it as a natural sedative for cats, make sure that you’re using it under the supervision of a veterinarian trained in natural remedies for cats.

They’ll know what dosage to use. If you use too much, Kava Kava can be toxic to the liver. Do not give it to your cat if they are pregnant or have liver problems.

Side Effects: Can be toxic to the liver if given the wrong dose.

Cat Stress Relief From Feliway

Feliway is clinically proven, and veterinary recommended. It is a natural product that is used for calming anxiety behavior in cats. You’ll want to place the diffuser where your kitty spends most of the time.

Make sure that you add the synthetic pheromone into the device. Once your cat is exposed to the diffuser it helps calm them and can even be used as a cat tranquilizer.

Side Effects: None

Rescue Remedy

This is a commercial product that is marketed for calming cats. The product contains botanical essences of flowers such as Clematis, which is known to help anxiety in cats.

Add it to their food before your trip and this will help calm your kitty.

More Cat Travel Tips

These are some great tips is you’re taking a long road trip with your feline.

How Long Does A Sedative Last On A Cat?

Most sedatives will last between 8-12 hours. Before giving your cat any type of sedative, make sure that you understand the proper dosage.

If you’re not sure of which sedative to use, don’t hesitate to contact your veterinarian. They will be able to guide you in traveling safely with your feline member of the household.

How Do I Calm My Cat On A Road Trip

If you’re going on a short road trip, according to Amazing Wellness, you can smear butter, tuna juice or meat baby food on your cats front paws.

They’ll go into grooming mode and will automatically calm down.

You can also try playing with them. Getting a cat to play can take their mind of the stressful situation and help them relax.

Just spend time with them. Your kitty is anxious because they are in an unfamiliar surrounding. Taking some time out to let them know everything is okay, can help them relax.

Conclusion Cat Sedation for Travel

Being a cat lover doesn’t necessarily mean that you shouldn’t enjoy going on vacations or taking long car trips. Hopefully, these tips can help you make your cat less stressful when traveling.

Felines are not used to traveling, but hopefully, some of the tips on this article can aid you in calming your pet.

Related Articles

References and Further Reading

VetInfo – Managing Cat Travel Anxiety With Diphenhydramine

Dr. Dawn Ruben – Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) for Dogs and Cats

Julia Wilson – Catnip (Nepeta Cataria) Everything You Need to Know

Vera Tweed – Calming Pet Anxiety