There are instances when we may need a cat sedative for example if we take our cat along with us on a long out-of-town drive or to our travels abroad. However, we don’t want to take chances because we’re not sure how she will handle or react to a change in their environment. The solution: use an over-the-counter cat sedative to make things as smooth as possible.
What are the types of cat sedatives?
At least six types of cat sedatives are acknowledged safe to use nowadays. These are the following:
This over-the-counter cat sedative is often used for cats who are suffering from travel anxiety. It’s also used to treat motion sickness. Aside from being a pet sedative, it’s also known as an anti-histamine for the relief of allergies and insect stings plus it’s also a cough medication.
The sedative’s brand name is Benadryl and the typical dose is 0.5 milligrams per pound which should be taken every 8 to 12 hours. However, it’s best to check with your vet on the proper dosage for your cat. It’s also worthy to note that oral diphenhydramine is not an FDA-approved medication.
It may cause drowsiness and your pet tends to become hyperactive. Other side effects may also include dry mouth, urinary retention, vomiting, difficulty in breathing, and diarrhea. It should not be given if your cat has a prostate problem, glaucoma, high blood pressure, or if it has difficulty in urinating. This medication is not advisable for pregnant or nursing cats. Correct dosage should be given to avoid overdose as it can be lethal and may lead to coma, seizure, difficulty breathing and even death
How to administer:
Diphenhydramine may be given through a syringe in its liquid form. If your pet won’t take it because of the taste you could opt to visit a compounding pharmacy and have the liquid flavored with either chicken or fish. It can also be taken in pill form and can be mixed with your pet’s meals.
This medication is a mild antihistamine for pet allergy relief and also used to treat feline military dermatitis or cat flea allergy dermatitis. It’s also not FDA-approved but a widely-used pet medication and sedative for traveling cats. The usual dose for cats is 1 to 2 mg every 8 to 12 hours but it’s best to consult your vet first on the right dosage for your pet.
The sedative can make your pet cat drowsy and may also experience secondary side effects like vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, dry mouth, and urinary retention. An overdose may lead to coma, respiratory depression, and even death that’s why always consult your vet so the right dosage shall be given. This drug is not advisable if your pet has an intestinal obstruction, high blood pressure, glaucoma, or prostate disease. Pregnant or lactating pet cats should not take it and if your pet is taking other medications like acetaminophen.
How to administer:
It may be taken in either liquid or pill form and takes effect a few hours after intake You can mix it in your pet’s favorite canned meal or you can slip it in your pet’s piece of tuna or chicken slice.
This cat sedative is an anti-anxiety and muscle relaxant medication that works by increasing the release of neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acids or GABA. It’s also used to treat phobias. It can only be bought with a prescription so always consult with your vet if it’s a good choice for your pet. Other names of this medication are Diazepam, Lorazepam, and Alprazolam.
This drug is not recommended if your pet has a kidney or liver problem and if your cat is pregnant or lactating. The downside of this sedative is that it may have some undesirable side effects which may include aggression and agitation. Other side effects may include nausea, vomiting, and respiratory depression.
How to administer:
It’s available in tablet and solution form and the typical dose for cats is 0.125 to 0.25 mg. every 12 hours as needed. The drug takes effect shortly after it’s administered and can be mixed in your pet’s food and can be given via oral, intravenous, or rectal administration.
This drug is primarily given to pets with inflammatory bowel disease. It’s also used for pain relief, as a muscle relaxant, and as a sedative to treat phobias and separation anxiety. It is an alpha-adrenergic type of treatment that stimulates brain receptors. It’s an FDA-approved generic drug that’s available by prescription and it’s best to consult your vet before deciding to administer it to your pet cat.
Clonidine has a fairly mild effect on pets but there are instances where side effects may still occur such as dry mouth, vomiting, constipation, nausea, irritability, low blood pressure, and mood changes. It’s not recommended for nursing, pregnant, and breeding pets and may interact with other medications like acepromazine and prazosin.
How to administer:
It comes in a tablet, injectable, and transdermal form. It may be given with or without food and dosage ranges from 0.05 to 0.1 mg depending on your cat’s weight and should be taken every 8 to 12 hours. The drug takes effect more or less 3 hours after it’s administered.
Serotonin antagonists and reuptake inhibitors or SARI’s are commonly used as a type of sedative for cats especially if they get stressed during vet visits or while traveling. Trazodone is a common type of SARI drug. However, it’s not FDA-approved, thus, always consult your vet first before giving this to your pet as improper usage and dosage could lead to adverse effects like cardiac arrest.
Take extra caution because while the medication is generally safe for pets it may result in side effects such as vomiting, diarrhea, aggression, and lethargy. It may also cause ataxia wherein your pet cat develops an abnormal gait and walks unsteadily. It’s not recommended to use if your pet has kidney, liver, or heart problems.
How to administer:
The drug is in tablet form and may be given to your pet on an empty stomach or maybe mixed with their food. Dosage varies from 10 to 30 mg depending on your pet’s weight and as prescribed by your vet.
This over the counter cat sedative is quite popular among vets and pet owners because it’s inexpensive and doesn’t have a strong taste. It’s originally meant to treat seizures and pain but has also been clinically proven to reduce anxiety among pet cats. It’s particularly recommended if going on long trips with your pet as its effect can last from 8 up to 24 hours.
It’s generally safe and your pet may only experience minor side effects like drowsiness and incoordination. However, it’s best to consult your vet if this is the right medication for your cat. This sedative is not recommended for pregnant or lactating pet cats.
How to administer:
The drug is in tablet and capsule form and you can pulverize it and mix the powder on your pet’s meal. The usual dosage for cats is 5 to 10 mg every 8 to 12 hours. Be sure to consult your vet on the right dosage for your cat.
Why is there a need to sedate your cat?
Your pet cat is prone to stress and anxiety especially if there are abrupt changes in his usual routines and environment. For one, they are territorial animals and they prefer a stable and quiet place most of the time. Here are just some of the reasons why there’s a need to sedate your pet.
- if they’re recovering from surgery or an injury
- to remain calm and quiet while traveling
- for your pet to be able to handle vet visits
- to stay relaxed during grooming sessions
- to reduce self-injury
- to reduce nervousness and fear during thunderstorms, noisy events and when there are fireworks
Travel anxiety symptoms include: agitation, excessive salivation, trembling, constant meowing, scratching, urinating or soiling, vomiting, and attempting to escape
Other over-the-counter cat sedative options
There are many cat sedatives and calming medications that are safe for your pets. These products come in spray, gel, drops, and chewable tablet form. It doesn’t need a prescription and very convenient to purchase. Here are some of them:
1. Feliway Travel Spray on the Go Management Behavior Modifier Spray
The product mimics feline facial pheromones which has a calming effect on cats. It is vet-recommended, reduces stress and helps your pet to manage bad behavior outbursts. Spray 8 to 10 pumps on your cat’s carrier to calm your pet before traveling. You can also spray it on doorways or furniture to prevent your pet from spraying or scratching. However, make sure not to spray it directly to your cat.
2. Zen Kitty Calming Spray
This cat sedative provides lasting relief if your pet has noise phobias and tends to become stressed during vet visits or while traveling. It’s all-natural and contains flower essences and organic hydrosols. To use, simply spray it on the cat’s vicinity and it may also be sprayed directly to your pet’s fur.
3. Pet Remedy Natural De-Stress and Calming Spray
This pet sedative spray is a water-based and ph-neutral formula which makes it very safe to use. The effect lasts for about 6 hours and helps your pet to stay calm, attentive, and receptive. It’s clinically proven, has an herbal aroma and a rich blend of sweet basil, vetiver, and clary sage herbs.
4. Relaxivet Calming Spray
It’s a safe and non-toxic pheromone spray that’s made from natural ingredients like rosemary, geranium, and catnip. It has a fast effect since your cat becomes calm and relaxed in a matter of minutes after it’s sprayed and the calming effect lasts up to 6 hours.
5. Munchie Cat Organic Catnip Spray
This vet-recommended and non-toxic calming spray is made from 100% American catnip. It doesn’t just calm your cat but it can also lure your cat to the carrier or its toys.
Drops / Supplements
1.Pet Wellbeing Stress Gold
This herbal supplement for pets has a non-addictive and all-natural fomula. It’s made from organically-grown herbs like valerian root, lemon balm, passion flower, and licorice root. It helps your pet’s central nervous system to achieve a relaxed and calm state. This non-alkaloid product doesn’t cause stomach upset to your pet and can also be used to treat cat insomnia.
2. Bach Rescue Remedy Pet
This alcohol-free pet calming product has natural active homeopathic properties and a combination of 5 flower essences. It’s suitable not only for cats but also for dogs, horses, and rabbits. It has a non-drowsy formula and highly recommended by vets and pet owners. To use, simply administer at least 4 drops orally to make your pet calm and relaxed.
3. Richard’s Organic Pet Calm
This 100% all-natural, easy-to-use and affordable product effectively relieves your pet’s stress and anxiety. Its natural ingredients include valerian root, passion flower extract, chamomile, and skullcap extract. It has a fast-acting effect and your cat becomes calm, mellow, and able to sleep fitfully.
Nutri-Vet Feline Paw Gel
This calming gel is made from 100% natural ingredients and has no artificial color and flavor. It does not contain petroleum jelly, corn, soy, or wheat. It’s convenient to use and has a salmon taste that pets love. All you have to do is give it to your cat directly or on its paws so it will simply lick it off.
1. Pet Naturals of Vermont Calming Chews
Your pet cat will surely love this product because it’s soft, chewable and flavored with real chicken liver. This is highly recommended if your pet becomes stressed during car rides or vet visits or if it has separation issues. Its active ingredients include L-Theanine and thiamine and you can give it daily to your cat or as needed.
2. Elite Cat Calm
This chewable all-natural supplement helps reduce your cat’s nervousness and makes your pet calm and comfortable. It has a tasty beef gravy flavor and its active ingredients include hops flower, passion flower, and St. John’s wort extracts. It’s safe for daily use and you can adjust the dosage as needed.
Both you and your pet cat can enjoy a stress-free and relaxing travel, visit to the vet, or even a grooming session with the help of vet-approved cat sedative products. Let your furry pet know that you care by making them comfortable and calm by using these effective and clinically-safe products.