02/21/2018 | tips and tricks
Whether it’s to bring your cat to the vet or because you’re heading away on holiday, each time you have to take puss in the car, your heart sinks. From high-pitched meowing and howling as soon as you start the engine, to drooling, vomiting, urinating and even defecating in their transport cage, the experience is nothing short of catastrophic. Like many cats, your favourite ball of fur suffers from motion sickness. But don’t despair – a number of solutions exist!
Two main causes of travel sickness in cats
Just like us humans, cats may experience an upset stomach when travelling by car due to an inner ear problem. The inner ear is made up of organs that are essential for keeping our balance. When they aren’t functioning correctly, they cannot analyse the car’s movements properly, which can lead to nausea. As the structure of the inner ear slowly develops over time, motion sickness is more likely to affect young cats, gradually disappearing as they get older.
Use positive reinforcement techniques
There are several measures you can take to prevent your cat from feeling sick in the car. First of all, place their transport cage on the floor: this is the safest spot and is the least subject to vibrations. Drive smoothly and avoid braking suddenly. Avoid playing music too loud and remember to turn on the air conditioning or open the windows. These different measures can help your cat to relax, but they won’t solve matters completely if they are very stressed when travelling by car. The best solution is to gradually accustom your cat to travelling by car. This involves using positive reinforcement techniques which will gradually help your cat get used to travelling by car.
Some tips to help ease motion sickness
By gradually getting your cat used to traveling in the car, you will reduce their level of stress, which is an important factor when it comes to motion sickness. In order to reduce the risk of vomiting, you should also be careful to only feed your cat light meals over the days preceding the trip and avoid feeding them in the 2 hours prior to departure.