When you’re taking your cat for a ride in the car, you want them to be relaxed and comfortable. But what if you notice your feline companion panting? It might be a cause for concern, and you might find yourself asking, “Should I take my cat to the vet?” Let’s explore what panting in the car means for your cat.
Cats Panting: Not the Same as Dogs
Dr. Crista Coppola, a certified cat behaviorist for SeniorTailWaggers.com, explains that cats pant for different reasons compared to dogs. While dogs pant when they’re excited or slightly warm, panting in cats is a sign of distress. It’s important to understand that your cat’s panting in the car is likely due to stress rather than heat.
Distress and Car Sickness
Various forms of distress can cause your cat to pant, but the most common reason for panting in the car is stress. The unfamiliar car environment can be overwhelming for your feline friend, leading to anxiety and discomfort. Car sickness in cats is also often triggered by the car’s movements, exacerbating their anxiety.
To help your panting cat, it’s crucial to remove them from the stressful situation as soon as possible. If your cat has already started panting, consider pulling over to stop the car’s movement. Otherwise, getting them out of the car environment is the best course of action. You can make the car ride feel safer for your cat even before panting begins by using a cat carrier.
Placing your cat in a carrier for the car ride can help alleviate stress and prevent panting, according to Dr. Coppola. This creates a sense of security for your cat during the journey.
Calming Solutions for Your Cat
The good news is that by calming your cat down, you can usually stop their panting. There are several portable cat calming aids available, such as calming collars or pheromone sprays, that can help reduce your cat’s anxiety.
Consider trying the Feliway travel calming spray from Chewy for $13.99 or the Sentry calming collar from Chewy for $7.65. These products can provide a sense of comfort and relaxation for your cat during car rides.
However, if your cat’s panting persists for an extended period, it’s essential to consult your veterinarian. Open-mouth breathing that doesn’t resolve within a few minutes should be examined by a professional. Your vet can determine if there’s an underlying medical condition causing the panting or if your cat requires additional help to manage their anxiety.
Discuss with your veterinarian the possibility of using drug therapy for car rides if you already know that your cat becomes stressed in the car. They can provide guidance on the best approach to keep your cat calm and settled during these necessary journeys.
So if your cat starts panting in the car, don’t panic. Instead, focus on calming them down and providing a sense of security. If the panting persists, reach out to your vet to find the best solution for helping your furry friend feel safe and settled. Remember, a stress-free car ride contributes to your cat’s overall well-being.
Visit Katten TrimSalon to learn more about cat care and create a harmonious environment for your beloved feline companion.