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Moving across country....Benadryl or Gravol?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hi all,

I have searched the forums for info and advice on how to best make a 2 day car trip the most pleasant (as it can be!) trip possible for my two boys....
They are 2 and 3 and have not had much experience with the car...

I don't drive and we won't have access to a car until DBF comes back the evening before the big drive so I can't desensitize them to the car in that time..( I can possibly sneak in one small trip but doubt this will help)

I have talked to my vet and others and they recommended either Gravol or Benadryl (children's) before each day's travel..

Does anyone have any experience with using these to calm kitties while travelling? I was also going to pick up some Rescue Remedy and use that as well..

My questions are how did you find using Gravol or Benadryl and/or Rescue Remedy and what is the best way to administer it? Pills in a treat or liquid?
And should I get the spray Rescue Remedy and spray it around the truck cab before we drive each day? I have no access to Feliway unfortunately as they don't sell it here...

Any other tips MUCH appreciated!

post #2 of 9
My kitty made her first long road trip about 6 months ago and it went smoothly. I personally have never heard of using Benadryl on a cat. I'd be wary of giving my kitty benadryl because if it knocks people out so easily, I can't imagine what it would do to a kitty. That's just my nonprofessional opinion though. I think in general cats can handle the car trip without any kind of sedative. These are the tips that I was told when I made my car trip and they worked really well:
1) Don't let your kitties eat for a couple hours before you leave. That way they hopefully won't have to go to the bathroom.
2) Try to get your kitties to go to the bathroom before you leave. I was able to accomplish this by changing the litter box before I left because my kitty always likes to go in and mark her territory when the litter is changed.
3) Expect lots of meowing. My kitty meowed for the first hour or so, but she settled down after that.
4) If they don't stop meowing, try putting a light towel or sheet over the carrier (but make sure they're still getting enough air), and they may just go to sleep.
5) Bring along some food and water in some small tupperware. Don't put the food and water in their carrier, but make a stop along the way and give it to them then. Sometimes they'll eat and sometimes they won't.
6) I've heard that the Rescue Remedy works for some. I'm about to try Feliway for the first time when I take my kitty on her first airplane trip. I was able to find the spray at Petsmart.
7) Also, leave their carrier around your house for a couple days before you leave so they can go in and out of it as they please. That way, they may not be quite as scared when you stuff them in there for the trip.

Good luck!
post #3 of 9
We moved our two kitties three times, each trip was 2000+ miles via taxis and airplanes. The last trip was international and they were in their carriers for twelve hours straight. (Not the best situation but we had no choice.)

Our kitties were quiet and ceased all bodily functions until we got them to our new home. I think SnickersMom is correct, though, to expect lots of meowing on a car trip. I personally would buy harnesses and leashes for "pit stops." Ours didn't want to leave the carriers but we were prepared for them freaking and bolting (we had to take them out for customs).

I've found Feliaway to work great in calming cats. I'm in B.C. and our vet carries it. I believe you can also order it online. I've never heard of giving a cat Benadryl and I wouldn't do it. Tranquilizers for cats can be very dangerous also.

One thing that worked very well were the pads I made for the bottom of the carriers. I went to a resale shop and found two old 100% wool sweaters. I cut off the sleeves and sewed them shut all around. The wool is cozy and padded, and if they pee, the wool on top will still feel dry while they are on top of it.

Cheers, from

p.s. I'd never heard of Gravol until I moved to Canada.
post #4 of 9
If going by car, you must have harnesses (the '4-point' kind that not only goes around the neck, but down behind the front legs - harder to wiggle out of and less likely to strangle them) with clip on leashes. Don't open any doors without having the leashes done up and in your hands! A big truck passing (or anything else we're not conscious of) can scare the daylights out of cats and their instinct is always to run... anywhere else but where they are.
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all your helpful suggestions! Much appreciated!
I did see your post to another person on the wool pads, Swampwitch and thought that was SUCH a good idea..I will try and see if I can get some..
Otherwise, I thought of using blankets and towels...

I really am hoping the meowing and crying ceases after awhile. I just know they won't be happy until they are in their new home for a bit

The gravol was mentioned by a vet who seemed to think it would calm them and reduce nausea...?
post #6 of 9
Do you have room in your vehicle for a small cage? If so, how about a small litterbox (maybe they would use when you stop driving) and a couple of cat beds in it.

Are you stopping over-night or driving straight through? If stopping, how about a cat-friendly hotel and let them run around for the night in the room while you sleep?

These are just my ideas -- I have never done this but may someday!

I don't see anything wrong with the Benedryl. If you use a small enough dose, it might just take the "edge" off the kitties. I am taking it right now before bed because I have a cold -- I only take half the recommended dose and it really doesn't knock me out too bad.
post #7 of 9
I shipped my kitties from the UK to Spain, this included car and flight travel. My vet in the UK was against relaxing-type meds. He said the normal reaction would be that they will go into a type of "shut-down" anyway and they would probably sleep anyway. Dino wouldnt be allowed any meds of this type, cos he has a heart-murmer and it would be very harmful to him. So I think your kitties will be fine without meds
Good luck

p.s also see this thread
post #8 of 9
Personally I would give the cats NOTHING. Cats are funny with reactions. Its better to just leave them alone (no meds) and cover the carriers with a towel for them to settle down.

In all the traveling I've done, none of my cats were given anything.
post #9 of 9
Please do not give your kitties Benadryl. I gave it to Fred one time, and it was a horrible thing to watch. He ran around the house screaming like he was in pain for what seemed like forever. I have moved many times with my cats, and have found it is best to just let them fus for a little while, and then they will go to sleep. Music seems to help them relax, too.
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