Psyched About Travel

How To Travel With A Car-Sick Cat

Fifi the traveling cat


SOONER OR LATER ALL PET PARENTS MUST TAKE THEIR FURRY FRIEND SOMEWHERE – to the vet, or traveling with  them on vacation. This can be great if your pet is accustomed to hitting the road with you, but what if he or she isn’t? This is the story of how I finally cured my little cat, Fifi’s car sickness.  “Fif”, the mascot of our Woodstock Airbnb Catnip Terrace Airbnb not only disliked car travel, but she threw up every time I drove more than two blocks with her making each trip a major ordeal for both of us!


NOBODY LIKES TO SEE THEIR LITTLE FUR CHILD in discomfort and so I searched high and low to discover or invent a natural remedy for car sickness in cats that really works. First, I tried  “Rescue” remedy which has been known to  help some pets, but it didn’t make a dent with Fif. Then I used an herbal calming formula and that was a no go. Of course the first thing I did was to feed her hours before the trip so her stomach would be empty, but she still wretched and was nauseated even though nothing came up.20150827_122451

THE IDEA OCCURRED TO ME to just take very short trips  beginning by simply letting her sit in the car with me while the motor was running so at least she’d get used to that part. I’m sure Fifi must have thought this was all part of a new torture technique that I was inflicting upon her as punishment for the mouse that she almost killed the other day (not so).

THE SOUND OF THE CAR MOTOR made Fifi nervous, but she did not throw up: Yea!! Now came the test – I drove one block and all went well, repeated the next day with the same positive result. I continued this route and worked up to 1 mile  with Fifi beside me in the carrier and no vomiting. I was ecstatic! We have this licked (I thought). Well, my enthusiasm was short lived. Two miles down the road, and three blocks from her vet’s office Fifi became sick and threw up all over  herself and the pet carrier. I had the routine down by now armed with paper towels, plastic bags, disinfecting wipes and a gallon jug of water for washing up. Poor Fifi, she couldn’t help it and short of trying anti nausea meds I was running out of ideas.


WINTER WAS SETTING IN and I was making plans to leave for Key West, Fla. If my cats are in good health they usually stay at home  with a wonderful pet sitter, but this year 15 year old Fifi was diagnosed with a hyperthyroid condition and looking a bit too fragile for me to feel comfortable leaving her for three weeks. I  was determined to bring her with me, but the prospect of a long car ride plus the air travel was stressful to even think about. I prayed for a solution, but also reconciled myself to the fact that Fifi and I would just have to just live with her motion or car sickness. 20150723_170728


The morning of our trip arrived and I fed Fifi a little bit about three hours before we left. Slushing through the icy snow I packed the car and after putting her in her little carrier on the seat beside me I suddenly, for some reason, decided to take of my coat and completely cover her carrier with it. I didn’t give it much thought and to this day don’t know what compelled me to do that, but it turned out to be THE natural cure for car sickness in cats !! (at least in Fifi’s case)  With the carrier completely covered so that she could not see outside, we made a one hour plus road trip WITH NO CAR SICKNESS!

WHEN I WAS INVOLVED WITH ANIMAL RESCUE some years ago we were told to cover the feral cat cages or carrier with a cloth to calm them. It never occurred to me that this would help car or what I thought was motion sickness in a cat! Well, it DID.


AFTER OUR KEY WEST TRIP  I have always covered Fifi’s carrier with something that has my scent on it (being careful to leave space for air to enter at the bottom) when we travel by car and she has had had NO car sickness since! I would be interested to know if this works for other pets as well. Do let me know! By the way, you need a special size pet carrier to fly with your pet in cabin and I found that the medium size Sherpa soft carrier fit under the seat  of all the airlines  we used within the USA. 


Fifi on the Lounge Chair in Key West




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