Managing Cat Travel Anxiety with Diphenhydramine

Cats travel is not fun. Going for a trip, no matter how long or short, can cause a cat a lot anxiety, which may be helped with the use of Diphenhydramine.

Tips for Traveling with Cats

A cat should always be restrained in the back seat of a vehicle. Cats, being the skittish creatures they are, may try to hide themselves in places of the car that can cause a dangerous situation (like under the brake pedal). A frantic cat may scratch people in the car and run around in an attempt to escape. Cats who feel they are in danger may also begin to cry or howl, which can cause a lot of added stress to the driver.

Even cats that can be good passengers need to be restrained in some type of carrier because he can become a projectile object if a driver slams on the brakes or there is an auto accident. Cats should never ride in the front seat as they can sustain serious injuries if the airbags deploy.

Managing Cat Travel Anxiety with Diphenhydramine

Cats that do not travel well may need help from a medication that has sedative effects. Diphenhydramine (Benadryl®), often used as an antihistamine, is often recommended to pet owners that have cats with travel anxiety. Diphenhydramine has sedative qualities that can help a cat feel more relaxed. This drug can also treat a cat that may have motion sickness while traveling.

A Diphenhydramine dose typically consists of 0.5 mg to 2 mg per pound every 8 to 12 hours. However, this drug should only be used under the advisement of veterinarian so corrected doses can be recommended and administered correctly. A vet should know about all other medications a cat is taking so dangerous drug interactions can be avoided. Cats with glaucoma, high blood pressure, difficulty urinating, or prostate problems should not use Diphenhydramine. Cats that are pregnant or are nursing should also not be given this drug.

Along with Diphenhydramine, the carrier in which a cat is placed for travel purposes should be as familiar and comfortable as possible to help ease any nerves. Experts recommend placing something soft and familiar in the crate. For example, one could place a blanket that has the cat or owner's scent on it along with a familiar toy. Since cats like to see everything going on around them, place the carrier so the furry traveler can face out the window or see his owners well.

While traveling, talk to the cat in a soothing voice and let the cat smell you by placing your hand up to the carrier. As the effects of the Diphenhydramine start to kick in and the cat calms down, his good behavior could be rewarded with his favorite treats. Cats, too, enjoy their comfort foods.

Traveling with a cat is not as easy as packing-up a car and going to a destination, especially if the cat has anxieties about being in a car. Using Diphenhydramine can help a cat feel more relaxed and comfortable, which will help the driver/cat owner feel more relaxed and comfortable.