How To Sedate A Cat For Travel : A Useful Guide

Most cats hate travelling. They always seem to feel stressful during the journey. Cats prefer the routine at home and do not like change. Perhaps, the stress they feel when meowing, drooling, and panting while travelling is the cause. In such a situation, cats require much care. This is the reason why veterinarians recommend that sedating cats during a trip is a better option to help them to sleep.

Therefore, in this article, I will be showing you how to sedate a cat for travel

Cat sedatives are drugs that help your cat to sleep during a long trip or flight. Because most cats feel uneasy and nervous while travelling with them, Sedatives keep them calm and ease the tension they might feel by making them sleep. When administering cat sedatives, always take into consideration the difference between those specifically designed for cats and anti-anxiety drugs for humans.

You can also try sleeping pills, diphenhydramine, and benzodiazepines to sedate your cat. Still, veterinarians will always recommend you to use cat sedatives so their mental state will not be harmed.

How to Sedate A Cat For Travel: Your best Options

There are six main types of sedatives that veterinarians recommend for cat owners who are planning to travel with their cats. 

They include the following:

Sleeping Pills

sleeping pills for cat

Just like humans, cats have sleeping pills. Several kinds of sleeping pills are available on online stores that don't require a prescription. Don't buy these pills on your own due to likely side effects that might affect your cat's health. Please don't make the mistake of giving them sleeping pills that are meant for humans, as this might disturb the natural sleeping cycle of your cat. Administering human sleeping pills to your feline friend puts its health at dangerous risk. If you want to go for a long trip with your cat, always consider consulting your vet doctor for a sleeping pill. Your vet doctor will recommend the safest sleeping pill that will not put your cat’s health into risk, so you don't need to worry over any adverse side effects.



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Benzodiazepines are class of sedatives administered to both animals and humans. This drug causes your kitty to feel sleepy and relaxed. The dosage should be smaller, considering the cat's small size. Don't give this drug to your cat if it's pregnant or suffering from kidney or liver disease. Keep in mind that it is only by prescription that Benzodiazepine should be used. Also, this drug usually causes some adverse side effects to your cats, which include: aggression, vomiting, agitation, and stressful breathings. But the side effects are not deadly.



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For humans, chlorpheniramine is used to treat allergies and the common cold. In the case of cats, it is primarily used to treat symptoms of allergies. But what makes this drug perfect when treating allergic symptoms is its sedative side effects. You can use chlorpheniramine to sedate your cat during the trip. This drug doesn't need a prescription, and it's available on online markets. But we do recommend you consult your veterinary doctor before administering this drug to avoid any adverse effect on your cat due to other drugs it might have taken.



This drug functions as a muscle relaxant and pain reliever to both cats and dogs. You can only administer Clonidine by prescription. The sedative effect is mild, and the dosage depends on the weight of your cat. (0.05milligrams for small cats and up to 0.1 milligrams for bigger cats.)



Originally, this drug was developed for the treatment of seizures in humans. It can also be used to treat neuropathic pain in dogs, humans, and cats. Vet doctors recommend it as an excellent sedative for cats because of its taste, which is not healthy, unlike other Sedatives. So your kitty is unaware that it is taken any medication if you mix the drug with food. Dosage for big cats should be around 85 milligrams and 65 milligrams for smaller, older, and sick cats. Make sure you consult your veterinary doctor before administering this drug to your cat. Administer this drug to your cat 2 hours before the trip.

Are There Alternatives To Cat Sedatives?

Sedating your cats should be the last resort because it may be harmful to alter the mentality of your cats. In case you’re planning to travel with your feline friend, you should try to make your car a less frightening place for your cat. They will make them feel safe in such a situation since no one can see them. You can also cover part of the carrier with a thin clothe because your cat’s breathing rate goes high when it is nervous or afraid. Another beneficial thing you can do is take your cat on a short practice ride in the carrier so your cat will acquaint itself with the trip.

But if your cat still feels nervous and scared after numerous experimental practices, then you should consider sedating your cat before travelling with it. But before administering sedatives to your cat, visit your vet doctor for proper ways of doing this because bad habits of sedating cats can pose a severe health risk to them.

Use of Calming Collars For Your Cats

SENTRY Calming Collar for Cats

If your cat usually tends to be frightful, anxious, tensed, and nervous while travelling, visiting your vet doctor, etc., calming collars are designed for such situations to relieve stressful behaviors in them using right behavior pheromone technology. After placing the collar on your cat's neck correctly, make sure to wash your hands properly.

4 Best Calmer Herbs For Your Cat Before The Trip

If your cat always gets agitated and nervous during a trip with it, and you don't want to use a sedative, you can apply these calmer herbs. You can find calming herbs in diverse forms like dried flowers, tinctures, essential oils, etc. And among these forms, dried leaf or flower is edible because it has no alcoholic content like the rest. To administer calmer herbs to your cat, put it inside a tube collar with the herbs inside.

The five best calmer herbs recommended for your cat are Hops, Chamomile, Valerian, and Catnip.


When you want to sedate your cat for travel, the most effective way is to administer your cat with sedative drugs, although this has its side effects. Another alternative method of calming your kitten before a trip is using calmer herbs. Your decision should depend on which options you think might be the best for your cat and give you rest of mind.

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Mike Stiven

I'm a pet owner, blogger, and writer from the Massachusetts. I've worked at the Alpha Dog Training Center, a dog boarding and training facility, and also shared the knowledge garnered over the years with a good number of pet sites. As a firm believer that great care has to be given to pets, beside sharing my whole experience in this blog I also work as volunteer at pet stores during the weekend.

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