- My cat experienced extreme motion sickness whenever we took him on car journeys.
- We tried multiple things to help him, including vet-approved herbal supplements.
- A $50 play pen and a litter tray completely changed the way we travel.
Traveling with my 9-month-old kitten, Reggie, became almost impossible when he started experiencing motion sickness earlier this year.
My partner and I often take Reggie to my parents’ house, which is around a 10-minute drive from our home in Glasgow. We spend a lot of time hanging out with my family, and Reggie loves it because my parents have his brother, Reo. They also usually look after Reggie at their house whenever my partner and I have to go out of town.
When we first started taking Reggie in his travel carrier, the motion sickness was somewhat manageable.
His first symptoms included loudly meowing and defecating during travel, which our vet advised us to resolve by refraining from giving him food a couple of hours before a car journey.
The vet also suggested a natural supplement that’s supposed to help pets with short-term stress and anxiety. This seemed to work the first couple of times we used it, but then Reggie’s symptoms reappeared.
We scoured the internet for ideas. VCA Animal Hospitals advises cat parents to get their cat used to the carrier in their home before travel so that it’s not as scary to them while in the car. VCA also suggests giving your cat special toys that they only get to play with during travel so that they associate it with positive emotions.
Nothing seemed to work, and as time went on, Reggie got worse. One time when we were driving, he was meowing so loudly that I took him out of his carrier in an attempt to comfort him. That was a big mistake — he pooped on me. Another time, he threw up in his carrier.
I couldn’t stand to watch him suffer any longer, but we couldn’t avoid car journeys forever.
A $50 playpen with a litter box has transformed the way we travel
We spoke to the vet again earlier this summer, but they wouldn’t prescribe stronger medication for Reggie unless we were going on a long journey.
Not knowing what else to do, I turned to a Facebook group for cat parents.
One person sent me a photo of a playpen with a blanket and a litter box inside that she had purchased for her own cat. It looked spacious and cozy at the same time, and I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it before.
Later that day, my partner and I headed to our local pet store and purchased a playpen for animals that cost £40, or around $50, which was much bigger than Reggie’s carrier as it took up most of the car’s back seat. We also got a litter tray, a blanket to make the space warm and comfortable, and new toys for Reggie to play with.
The first time we traveled with Reggie in the playpen, I sat beside him in the back of the car to make sure he was okay. He was still vocal, but not nearly as much as he had been before. I liked that the pen had a zip at the side and on the roof so that I could open it up and pet him. Reggie had a lot more space to move around and likely wasn’t feeling claustrophobic.
We’ve used the pen a couple of times now, and each time Reggie has used the litter tray. Of course, I don’t want him to feel so uneasy that he has to go to the bathroom, but at least now he will stay comfortable and clean while doing so.
Cleanliness is extremely important to cats, and they’re said to spend 10-15% of their day grooming themselves, according to Pet Helpful.
If you’re like me and have seemingly exhausted all options for your cat, I’d definitely recommend this. I’m no longer afraid of what will happen next time we travel.
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