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We've been seeing a veternarian dermatologist who is about an hour drive away (on the beltway, where it's common to reach speeds of 65 mph). Two of the three cats are fine, but Ginger keeps getting carsick. We have a third (and hopefully final) appointment in a week. What can we do to help her not get carsick?

Sedative medication is not okay for this trip, because she needs to be relatively normally behaved for the vet to determine if she's still itchy (does she chew her paws when she's petted, and where does that happen if it happens).

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Are you sure it is "car sick" rather than "I'm unhappy because I'm in my carrier, not at home, able to do what I want".

With my "baby" I'm sure it is the second and not the first... but to a human they both look similar as they involve crying and vomiting.

Cats in general hate to be taken out of their element and some get a lot more bothered by it than others. Talking in a soothing fashion to the cat seems to help but only a tiny amount.

On the tips from Kai I'd add if the items are favorite things and have an odor on them that could help. At the same time keep in mind that it is likely the cat will pukes and/or pees on the item (so it should be easy to clean).

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  • This was pretty insightful. We went to our normal vet (30 seconds in the car) and she was yelling so I thought maybe the carrier made her unhappy, so we put her in a harness and I sat in the backseat with her to the dermatologist, and she didn't puke. – Zaralynda Jul 11 '14 at 13:42
  • Being confined in the carrier adds unhappiness. I've found they are less unhappy if they are in the car but not in the carrier but that can be very unsafe. My "kitten" would have the habit (the few times she rode that way) to curl up near my feet or near the gas/break petals (not a good situation). Even if there is a non-driver to watch over the cat, the cat can get loose and potentially create dangerous situations. Finally when leaving the car the cat can make a run for it. A second person with a harness should fix these problems though. – Dan S Jul 11 '14 at 16:59
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Cats may also get ill due to stress, so I would try to make sure she's as unstressed as you can possibly make her. Some tips I've found are:

1.Try to make the pre-vet routine less stressful. If you're running around chasing the cat to get them in the carrier right before going to the vet, they'll be more stressed out than if you manage to calmly entice them in. That sort of thing.

2.Get them used to the carrier and the car when you're not going to the vet. This is more of a long term sort of solution, and I know not really applicable to your immediate problem.

3.Make sure her carrier is comfortable. Give her an old blanket that you don't care about, and make sure it's big enough, that sort of thing.

Avoid feeding her for as long as possible before the trip too. I imagine cats, like people, are more likely to get carsick after a meal.

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