Traveling With Cats

Six Ways to Naturally Sedate Your Cat

How to Sedate a Cat Naturally

Perhaps your cat is terrified of going to the vet. Maybe your cat gets upset when there’s a thunderstorm brewing outside. Or perhaps your cat hates the sound of fireworks around the 4th of July.

Whatever the reason, you may find the need to sedate or calm your kitty. Fortunately, you can naturally calm your cat without the use of any medications.

Catnip Can Naturally Sedate Your Cat

Catnip, also known as catmint, field balm, and catwort, is an effective natural sedative for cats. However, not every cat responds to catnip.

A cat’s genetics determine whether she responds to catnip or not. Approximately 50% of cats respond to the herb, according to PetMD. Kittens don’t begin to respond to catnip until they are between three and six months of age.

Catnip has a sedative effect for some cats. However, it can make other cats aggressive. Before you try to use catnip as a calming agent in a stressful event, give your cat some of the herbs during a routine day to see how she reacts.

If the herb sedates your cat, give it to her approximately 15 minutes before the stressful event occurs to keep her calm.

Valerian is a Good Alternative to Catnip

If your cat doesn’t respond to catnip, you can try giving him valerian instead. Like catnip, valerian initially produces a euphoric state for cats, which is followed by a period of calmness.

Your cat may be so calm after having valerian that he falls asleep. You can grow valerian or purchase valerian cat toys. Give your cat valerian approximately 15 minutes before the stressful event is to occur to help sedate him.

Chamomile is an Effective Sedative

Chamomile is well-known to relieve anxiety in humans. In addition, it’s often used as an antispasmodic to relieve menstrual cramps. Chamomile is also beneficial for cats.

According to VCA Animal Hospitals, chamomile can be used topically to reduce skin inflammation. The herb can also be given orally as a sedative.

According to PetMD, research indicates that chamomile possesses properties that act on the same parts of the nervous system and brain as anti-anxiety medications.

Chamomile may be especially helpful for cats who suffer from gastrointestinal symptoms, such as gas, bloating, and pain due to anxiety.

VCA Animal Hospitals recommends not giving your cat a chamomile supplement because supplements are not highly regulated.

Some supplements might not possess the number of ingredients specified on the label. Rather, ask your veterinarian for a recommendation on how much fresh chamomile to give your cat.

The Thundershirt Calms Cats

The application of pressure has been effective for calming humans and animals alike for years. For instance, parents swaddle their infants and veterinarians use chutes to vaccinate cattle to keep them calm.

The Thundershirt applies gentle and constant pressure to your cat’s torso to help calm her. You can use it for noise anxiety, veterinarian visits, traveling, grooming, and any other situation your cat finds stressful.

This YouTube video shows how a Thundershirt can be very beneficial for calming cats at veterinary visits.

Before using the Thundershirt to calm your cat in a stressful event, you’ll want to introduce and condition him to it.

Before trying the Thundershirt on your cat for the first time, offer him a treat or some food on the Thundershirt so that he begins to associate it with positive experiences.

Next, Doctors Foster and Smith suggest putting the Thundershirt onto your cat’s back without fastening it into place.

Allow your cat to move around if he wants to, even if the Thundershirt falls off of him. Next, fasten the Thundershirt, and allow it to stay on your cat for five to 10 minutes. You can encourage your cat to move around using his favorite toy or a laser pointer.

Some cats will, “Freeze and Flop,” or act as if they are paralyzed the first time they wear a Thundershirt. Some cats may even fall over.

This is not something you need to be concerned about; the Thundershirt doesn’t cause discomfort. Rather, your cat simply needs some time to adjust to the new sensation a Thundershirt provides.

If your cat does the, “Freeze and Flop,” the first time you put the Thundershirt on him, allow him time to get used to the sensation by putting the Thundershirt on him during non-stressful events and allowing him to wear the shirt for 10 to 15 minutes at a time.

You can continue to encourage your cat to move around while wearing the Thundershirt using his favorite toy or a laser pointer.

Bach Rescue Remedy is Great for Reducing Anxiety

According to The Nest, Rescue Remedy is a homeopathic solution that can be used to treat anxious or aggressive cats.

Rescue Remedy was created in the 1930s by a homeopathic physician named Edward Bach. Rescue Remedy contains five different flower essences: Star of Bethlehem, clematis, cherry plum, rock rose, and impatiens.

The pet-safe version of Rescue Remedy is made with flower essences, vegetable glycerin, and water while the human version of Rescue Remedy is made with alcohol. It’s essential that you only give your cat the pet-safe version, as alcohol is toxic to cats.

To reap its sedating benefits, place a few drops of Rescue Remedy into your cat’s water dish. Alternatively, you can put a few drops into your cat’s wet food or on a treat for her to enjoy.

Cat Pheromones Naturally Cause Your Cat to Relax

According to HeartMD Institute, cat pheromones are created in a laboratory to mimic your cat’s natural pheromones, and they cause your kitty to relax naturally.

You can use cat pheromone diffusers in your home to help calm your cat. Cat pheromone sprays can be used to spray your cat’s carrier 10 to 15 minutes before you have to put him in it for traveling or trips to the vet.

There are situations in which your cat will inevitably become upset. Whether you’re traveling to the vet, there’s a thunderstorm brewing outside, or someone’s setting off fireworks near your home, you can use the remedies listed here to naturally sedate your cat and ease her stress and anxiety.

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