Sorry we have been absent lately, but we have been organizing a change of scenery! Loki and I have decided to move to Denver, CO to explore new opportunities (but really, mountains)!
And I’m sure you’re wondering, how well did a sensitive siamese home body do on a plane ride across the country?
I knew that Loki, as like many house cats, is not the best with traveling. You can imagine being placed in a small box for several hours not knowing where you’re going, what the noises mean, or how long this confusion will last would be very stressful. Of course, I was nervous for my travel, but let’s be honest, most of it was directly related to his welfare and stress. Every outcome that is any outcome ran through my head multiple times a day leading up to it. As a naturally anxious person, you could see how blogging was one of the last things on my list.
If you’re interested in traveling with a cat, I have a couple of suggestions based off my own experience and of course, talk to your vet as they will also have helpful solutions for this stressful time.
When I decided to fly instead of drive, I knew that decision would be way less stressful. Even then, I wanted to try to get his anxiety under control while I started to pack up my things, etc. The more nervous I get, the more nervous he gets, I’m sure any pet owner is familiar with this!
Working at a holistic pet store, I have sold a ridiculous amount of CBD and have ALWAYS had great feedback so I started giving Loki one dose a day with his food 30 days out.
The endocannabinoid system in the brain binds to the hundreds of types of cannabinoids contained within a CBD oil. This system influences many processes related to pain, mood, immune function and much more.
Although I did not notice a drastic difference in his mood, I do think it helped with some of the changes happening around the house and after only 4 weeks, his upper respiratory wheezes have cut in half.
The Right Carrier
We had a hard shell carrier for years, but only bad memories have been made in those (V. E. T.). There are a couple of things to look for in a carrier:
Size Matters: Cats should be able to stand up, turn around, and lay down comfortably within the carrier. This is extremely important as it makes them know they have their own safe space and are not inhibited in any way which could exacerbate anxiety.
Ventilation: Make sure your carrier has mesh or holes in it not only for air, but for light. One thing I noticed is that he felt more comfortable when he could check things out a bit from all angles instead of being cuccooned.
Comfort: Throughout our travel, what made Loki calm down is his interactions with me and familiar smells, sounds, etc. Placing a small piece of your clothing or a blanket in the carrier will ease this anxiety. A month out, I let the carrier sit in my house so that he could go in and out on his own time, getting used to it for the big day
1 Day Out
A Little Extra Help (In Our Case)
I knew what I was getting myself in to. Loki can barely go to the vet without a hassle.
This was not just a car ride, this was an endeavor for him and with my anxiety at an all time high, I knew it would just get worse. That is why we used 100 mg of Gabapentin a couple of hours before the flight. Gabapentin is used in animals as an anti-anxiety and anti-seizure medication. We laid out our options and figured that it is better to be overprepared than a disaster at 30,000 feet.
Gabapentin isi not a tranquilizer. It helps to calm nerves and inhibit anxiety.
The most important thing in all of this…
Know your animal
Look at that little bean.
As his mom, I know how much he can handle and I knew that using Gabapentin was the best solution.
If you think your cat would do alright with a more natural approach, I’d recommend Rescue Remedy as I have heard good things about its effects on anxiety. I would be cautious of mixing Eastern and Western medicines as the effects of both combined has not been completely explored.