What Causes Cat Anxiety
According to The Cat Coach, Marilyn Krieger, a certified cat behavior consultant based in Northern California, cat anxiety can stem from many causes. A change in routine can be very jarring for a cat, says Krieger. New situations, an unfamiliar environment or a previously unknown animal can all cause stress. Even a home remodel or a raised voice can cause anxiety, depending on the cat.
Mikel Delgado, a certified cat behavior consultant and cofounder of Feline Minds, a San Francisco Bay area company that offers cat behavior services, adds that anxiety is different from fear in that its a sustained condition. There’s a difference between cats that get scared during fireworks on the 4th of July and cats that spend a lot of their time stressed out or afraid of what may seem like nothing, she says.
If your cat does have anxiety, this can take many forms, from hiding and refusing to eat to urinating and defecating outside of their litter box. On the other hand, cats that are comfortable in their environment will eat, drink and sleep in the open, they’ll interact with their people, they’ll play with toys, and theyll generally be out and aboutnot just hiding and slinking around all the time, Delgado explains.
How To Sedate A Cat Naturally
Are you worried that your cat may become anxious, aggressive or hyper during your road trip or to visit the vet? Theres no need to panic because you can sedate your cat safely without the fear of having side effects. There are numerous ways to sedate a cat such as the use of over-the-counter medications, however, this could result in nasty side effects like vomiting, diarrhea, and drowsiness. Most pet owners are now turning to natural ways to safely sedate cats. Here are some of the popular options on how to sedate a cat naturally:
Best Collar: Sentry Calming Collar For Cats
Delivery Method: Collar | Key Ingredients: Cat pheromones
Releases pheromones which is very effective
Works for 30 days
Some cats get irritated by collars
Similar to the diffusers and calming sprays, calming collars work by releasing pheromones that ultimately work to help calm your cats nervous system. The manufacturer claims this collar has been shown to reduce excessive meowing and fear of loud noises and curb bad behaviors in clinical trials. Satchu notes that having a collar on can stress some cats out, which defeats the purpose of the calming aid. However, if your kitty is used to wearing a collar, this is could be a good option for you.
Delivery Method: Treats | Key Ingredients: L-tryptophan, chamomile flower, dried cheese, dried chicken liver, green tea extract, rosemary extract, salmon oil
Picky cats might not eat them
The price of calming aids can add up quickly, especially since they require regular refilling. If youre looking for a budget-friendly option thats still high-quality and highly-rated, these ThunderWunders Calming Cat Chews fit the bill. Theres 100 in the chews in the container, so they break down to less than 20 cents per chew. Each chew contains three of the main ingredients Satchu recommends for calming your cattryptophan, chamomile, and rosemaryas well as other ingredients like dried chicken liver and dried cheese to entice your kitty to actually eat them.
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Risks Associated With Giving Cats Anesthesia
There are always risks that come with any surgery, but the risks are very low thanks to the experienced veterinary team here at Metropolitan Veterinary Center. However with proper care and supervision there are virtually no risks of complications due to the use of a cat sedative. Our veterinary staff ensures that risks are minimized by performing careful and consistent monitoring throughout the entire time feline patients are under cat anesthesia.
Tips For Traveling With Cats
1. Spend time to train your cat to stay calm.
As mentioned above, the best way to deal with travel anxiety in cats is to manage their behaviour. Take some time to gradually expose your cats to traveling, providing plenty of positive reinforcement with the use of treats and affection.
Not only will your cat benefit from the time you put into this, staying calm is a requirement if you are planning on taking your cat on a flight. In order for cats to travel in the cabin with their owners, they must stay calm on the flight otherwise they risk being sent into the cargo area of the plane.
2. Exhaust your cat before travel.
Try to exhaust your cat a little by increasing the level of activity before your trip. Have an extra play session before you trip.
A sleepy cat will be less prone to getting stressed out when traveling. Exercise also helps shed some layers of anxious energy.
3. Limit access to food and water before travel.
Limit your dogs access to food. Therefore, itll be less likely that they will need to defecate or urinate when traveling.
Additionally, some cats may experience motion sickness if they eat just before traveling.
This is particularly important if you are taking your cat on a flight. Air Canada suggest feeding your cat four to six hours prior to departure, as a full stomach may cause discomfort during travel.
4. Get your cat used to its travel carrier.
6. Leash train your cat .
7. Pack all the essentials.
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Gabapentin To The Rescue
Gabapentin has been used as an anti-seizure medication, as well as a treatment for diabetic neuropathy pain in people. One of the side effects is sedation. We learned about using gabapentin as an anti-anxiety medication in cats from our local veterinary cardiologists. They had good experiences with this technique and felt that the medication was very safe.
As with any medication given to effect, weve learned that doses vary with different cats. In smaller, older or sick cats, we generally prescribe 50-75 mg in larger cats, 75-100 mg. This is given 3 hours prior to a visit, so 2-2.5 hours prior to leaving your house. The tiny tabs can be mixed with a small amount of baby food and given via syringe. Just ask us to show you how.
If you are unable to give your cat the medication at home, we can schedule your cats visit on a weekday morning. That way your cat can stay with us for a few hours so we can give a sedation injection. We try to minimize this, but in some cats it is needed. This can also be done for for the occasional cat where gabapentin doesnt provide enough sedation to get the desired effect.
How To Sedate A Cat For Travel
Some cats are a bit more anxious than others. Traveling can be a stressful experience for an adaptable cat, making it extremely challenging for a cat that struggles with anxiety. So can you sedate a nervous cat for travel?
In this article we will discuss the details of how to sedate a cat for travel, and discuss our favorite tips for a stress-free travel experience.
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Travelling With A Pet
Cats can be difficult animals to travel with. While dogs may love travelling to different places, viewing is as a new form of adventure, cats love to stay at home where everything is peaceful. This is why it is important to take some extra care when travelling with cats and to consider taking some medicine to calm cats for travel. While cat lovers might be a little reluctant to give such medicine to their pets, the formulas are not harmful. Additionally, you are not doing a favour to your cat by taking him/her on a trip without providing medication. The stress and anxiety will do far more harm.
My girlfriend travels with her dog all of the time in the car and on the plane. Travelling on the plane is a topic for another article because there are significantly different rules. However, it is good to know that people use sedatives successfully and the experience for both owner and pet is better. She usually gives nessie the medicine an hour before take off and is causes her to be calm, sleepy and much less nervous.
Some Considerations About Liquid Benadryl
The problem with liquid Benadryl is that they will taste it a lot more than a capsule or a tablet which as a result they will be more likely to foam at the mouth . The odor can also put off cats as they really dont like the way that Benadryl smells.
If you want to avoid this foaming phenomenon then you just administer it at the back third of the tongue. You want to avoid letting the medication hit the front of the tongue which is what causes the foaming.
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What Are The Alternatives To Using Cat Sedatives For Travel
Like humans and dogs, any cats respond really well to various herbal stress-relievers. However, of course every cat will respond differently, depending on their size, weight, breed and temperament. What works for one cat may not work for yours.
In the same way that chamomile tea has been found to relax us humans, its also a good way to help calm cats. Chamomile helps the brain relax without dangerous side effects that cat sedatives for travel can have. In fact, there have been studies to show that it has a relaxing affect on many different animal species.
The scent of lavender oil has also been tested in cats studies have found that it has a relaxing affect. You dont want your cat to ingest the oil, so you can just give your cat a little whiff of it before travel, or put a drop of oil on your cats travel blanket.
Valerian is another herbal remedy often used by humans to treat insomnia, is also recommended for cats. Rather than affecting the brain directly, Valerian helps to reduce tension and anxiety.
Over the counter options
Some nutritional supplements have been found to have a relaxing affect on cats. These include L-theanine, melatonin, or s-adenosyl-methionine which can all be bought over the counter.
As mentioned above, Valarium relaxes both pets and humans. There are a few different over the counter products that contain Valarium, such as Pet Remedy and Calmex.
Study: Gabapentin Reduces Stress In Cats Before Veterinary Visits
Cats can suffer from severe fear and stress when being transported to the veterinarian or while being examined once there. New research indicates that use of the medication gabapentin can significantly reduce signs of stress and increase compliance with the veterinary exam.
Gabapentin is an inexpensive medication originally developed to control seizures in humans. It is also used to control neuropathic pain in humans, dogs, and cats. While it is not labeled for use for anxiety, it is increasingly used for that purpose in human and veterinary medicine. It does not have a strong taste and is usually well accepted by cats when given in liquid form or with treats.
Despite its increasing use in animal practice, research into its efficacy in cats has been recent and limited. In this study, published in the Nov. 15. 2017 issue of Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 20 healthy pet cats, ranging in age from 1 to 16 years and with a history of signs of stress when at the vet, were brought by their owners for two veterinary visits one week apart.
The cats were randomly assigned to receive 100 mg of gabapentin or a placebo capsule containing lactose powder before the first visit. The capsules were given 90 minutes before they left for the vet. The treatment was reversed for each cat prior to the second visit.
In their discussion of the study results, the authors concluded:
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What To Know When Your Cat Needs Anesthesia
There may be a time when your cat will require a procedure or surgery for his or her continued health, treatment or diagnostic purposes. We understand the thought of sedation or anesthesia for your cat, can be stressful. Rest assuredm your cat’s anesthesia will be carefully planned, administered and monitored by the veterinary team at Metropolitan Veterinary Center. Knowing some basics about sedation and anesthesia in cats will help to ease your mind while your cat is under our care.
Cat sedation or anesthesia may be necessary when a procedure needs to be performed that is delicate, requring the patient to be still for their safety, or may cause pain or distress that is beyond what a cat should comfortably tolerate awake. We want you to feel absolutely comfortable with our hospital, staff and recommendations. Any time a cat sedative or anesthesia is being recommended we want to reassure you that our veterinary team is here to answer any questions you may have and provide any assistance that will make the procedure easier for you and your cat.
We make it our priority to ensure that your cat is in optimal health before any cat sedation or anesthesia is performed. Therefore, our veterinarians will sometimes recommend and often require preanesthetic testing such as blood work, before the procedure to ensure that we have a complete picture of your cats physical health.
When You Should Sedate Your Cat
Though sedating your cat can come useful in many times it does have some side effects. So you should only sedate your cat when there this no other replacement for it.
Thats why you have to know properly when you should sedate your cat and when you should not.
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How To Sedate A Cat For Car Travel
Minimizing the upsetting events for your territorial-minded cat is the goal when you need to travel. Taking your feline friend away to an unfamiliar place or visiting the vet or even a new house is terrifying.
Luring it to accepting that you have to travel is a challenge. Plan the move tactically to avoid stressing out your cat.
Most cats get stressed when traveling. They try to hide in dangerous places like the pedals.
Others are known to howl throughout the trip. There are even scenarios where cats try to escape and start scratching the car. That can stress out the driver and cause unnecessary stress.
To avoid all that, you have to sedate your cat. It is recommended that travel sedatives be given 1.5 to 2 hours before the travel.
The common method most cat owners use to administer the sedatives is oral with food. But if you are dealing with a picky eater, you may want to explore other means.
What To Expect The Day Your Cat Receives Veterinary Anesthesia
You will receive a specific set of instructions from your veterinarian before your cat receives cat anesthesia or undergoes any surgical procedure. We will discuss with you any risks of veterinary anesthesia. Here are some things to keep in mind as you arrive with your cat for the surgery:
- Fasting is recommended the night before any cat sedatives or anesthesia are administered.
- Follow any specific directions given to you by Metropolitan Veterinary Center.
- Depending on the type of procedure, our veterinarians may recommend additional prescription medications while your cat recovers
- Ask any questions you may have and our veterinary staff will provide answers and help to ease your mind before or after the cat surgery is performed
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Cat Sedation Side Effects: How Your Kitty’s Behavior Might Be Affected Temporarily
Depending on the medication and dose as prescribed by your vet, your cat’s behavior could range from Zen and sleepy to very groggy with difficulties walking. “Talk to your vet about the expectations and potential side effects of sedating medication. Sometimes, it is advised to perform a trial dose of the medication ahead of time to assess your cat’s response prior to its need.” Pankratz says.
For lighter doses of sedation, Pankratz says you can expect your kitty to return to normal behavior in about five hours or so. Stronger doses and medications could take up to a day to fully wear off. While your kitty slowly becomes more aware of her surroundings, and she gets her cat-like reflexes back, Pankratz recommends keeping her in a safe space. While a familiar space is best, surrounding her with familiar objects such as her favorite blanket can also provide comfort.
How To Know If Your Cat Is Anxious
Above all, cats hate having a loss of control. They simply like doing their own thing, as opposed to dogs who are more subservient. Here are some signs that your cat may be anxious
- Hides in a dark place
- Starts defecating often in irregular places
- Vomits frequently.
- Starts to pant or breathes heavily.
- Makes excessive noise.
If your cat is anxious, then there are other ways aside from medication that can calm them down. Many cat lovers report success with catnip and valerian root. This can serve to relax them somewhat during the journey. However, cats with severe travel anxiety might be better off with heavy duty medication. Below are some of the more well-known medicine formulas to calm your feline for stress-free travel.
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Dosage Forms Of Gabapentin
There is no specific veterinary form of gabapentin for pets, and it is always the human medication form that is used in an extra-label or off-label manner, which is common in veterinary medicine.
The most common form of gabapentin is a capsule containing powder, with the prescribed amount mixed with canned or soft food.
The 100mg capsule is the most common size prescribed for cats. Gabapentin also comes in a 50mg/ml liquid form that does require refrigeration.
The commercial liquid form may contain the artificial sweetener xylitol. While not toxic to cats, xylitol is toxic to dogs, so be careful with this form if theres a pup in your home.
To make dosing easier, especially for smaller cats, gabapentin can also be ordered as a compounded medication in different forms by your veterinarian.