Major cat anxiety help

Mochiandme

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Luna was just diagnosed with keratitis which is a chronic inflammation of the cornea possibly due to her feline herpes so she will have regular visits to the eye vet which is 30mins away. The first fright I sped her to the er vet which is the same place. She threw up and pooped on the ride there plus peed on herself while in the vet's care. This time a member on this site said to call her regular vet and get a calming pill (gabapentin) which I did. She still threw up (but that was my fault since I woke up late and fed her before leaving) and pooped on herself but it did keep her calm and let her sleep. Any suggestions with her? Since it's a 30min drive, vet visit, another 30min drive plus a shower when we get home. I really want to eliminate (no pun intended :flail:) the stress of the shower. Her shower screams also scare the other cats and they already hate her. She has her own room but they still sneak in sometimes. I was thinking of a diaper but that might also be stressful and if she does poop, it'll still get on her and she'll still get a shower. I don't know if the gabapentin is even worth it? I won't be feeding her the day of her appointment anymore to see if it helps. Thank you for any suggestions! I'm desperate :stars:
 

di and bob

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Don't feed her the day of the visit. Some cats just won't ever get used to car rides. The gabapentin is very much needed maybe the dose needs to be regulated a little. I got some 'calming' treats for cats on Amazon that worked very well for a cat that had heart problems and needed vet visits. I didn't even give the full dose. Maybe you can clean her with cat wipes, it may not be so traumatizing!
 

Lara13

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I agree. Don’t feed her on the days going to the vet. I use the Feliway Classic spray. I spray it in the carrier 10 minutes before putting my Stormi in it. She used to be so stressed when getting to the vet that she bit the assistant. It works beautifully. Now she’s calm during the car ride and sweet as can be at the vets.
 

FeebysOwner

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Hi. I agree with all of the above. Try arranging appointments later in the day, if that is possible in order to allow her to eat something in the morning. Or, set the appointments first thing in the morning, and then wait to feed her after you get home.

Lowering the dose of the Gabapentin might be a consideration too. There are other calming products to try as well, if the Feliway spray doesn't work. There is one called Bach Rescue Remedy which are drops you rub into a cat's ear to help calm them before a trip to the vet. You can look up additional options by doing an internet search on 'cat calming products'. Not all work on all cats, so there might be some experimenting to do.

A partial bath instead of a shower might also be an option with less trauma involved. I have taken a couple of 'hospital' tubs and filled one with some water and a mild soap and the other with plain water; then I wet a soft washcloth in the soapy water, wipe down Feeby's 'booty', and finish up with rinsing that area with another cloth from the plain water tub. I have a couple of soft towels, one to lay her on, and the other to dry the area. I have also used unscented, hypoallergenic wipes for 'booty duty' as well.
 

sivyaleah

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We use gabapentin for our younger one periodically since she's grooming adverse and, gets fractious at the vet during certain procedures.

The usual dose is 100mg which works well for our girl, caveat is you must give it about 2 hours before your appointment or procedure. We find it takes at least an hour or more for her to start getting calm and drowsy. If you bother her during this time period, it will wind up revving her up again so I leave her be in that time frame.

For car visits, incorporate the 1/2 hour trip to the vet. So if you appointment is at 10:00 am for instance, I'd give the gabapentin around 8:00am. This way, the cat would be right at that 2 hour mark when you arrive and should be fairly compliant by then. The effects last about another 2 hours give or take. This would leave plenty of time for you to get there, have her attended to, and get home again. Talk to your vet about proper dosing for weight/size. We tried lower doses but it did nothing for her at all.

Last, our girl also was diagnosed with keratitis and saw a specialist. We got lucky with her that she only needed about a months course of eye drops. easily done at home. She's been fine since and that was quite some time ago.
 

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I take Jackie to my mom’s every weekend, it is a 40 minute drive. Here is what helped him:

No wet food 6 hours before the trip. A cat that gets super carsick may need to hold off on dry food for 2-4 hours before the car trip.

Keep the engine off until kitty is inside the car.

Lots of cool air blowing can help kitty.

I have perfected giving Jackie scratching/rubbing behind his ears to help his ears pop as we go up and down the hill (it is steep enough that our ears pop every time up/down the giant hill.)

I tried crates. I gave up but I have considered buying him a seatbelt dog harness. He is happiest up on my shoulder with my arm supporting him. So if you can get a driver, getting her a car harness & sitting in the back seat may help.

Bring in the outside air so she can smell where she is.

You can try taking her on weekly car rides to someplace pleasant or just around and then home. That way she isn’t always going to the Dr.

⭐When we get within a 1/4 -1/16 of a mile of Nana’s house Jackie gets all excited& starts sniffing the vents.
 
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Mochiandme

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Don't feed her the day of the visit. Some cats just won't ever get used to car rides. The gabapentin is very much needed maybe the dose needs to be regulated a little. I got some 'calming' treats for cats on Amazon that worked very well for a cat that had heart problems and needed vet visits. I didn't even give the full dose. Maybe you can clean her with cat wipes, it may not be so traumatizing!
Do you know the name of the calming treats? I'm going to try everything out there because she usually also punishes me if any changes happen by pooping next to litter box. I didn't think of cat wipes but that'll be on my amazon list too. I just wish she didn't have an accident and I can just put her back in her room as soon as we get home.
 
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Mochiandme

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I agree. Don’t feed her on the days going to the vet. I use the Feliway Classic spray. I spray it in the carrier 10 minutes before putting my Stormi in it. She used to be so stressed when getting to the vet that she bit the assistant. It works beautifully. Now she’s calm during the car ride and sweet as can be at the vets.
I will definitely try that. I had the plug in but it didn't seem to work - never tried the spray. Thank you for the suggestion!
 
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Mochiandme

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Hi. I agree with all of the above. Try arranging appointments later in the day, if that is possible in order to allow her to eat something in the morning. Or, set the appointments first thing in the morning, and then wait to feed her after you get home.

Lowering the dose of the Gabapentin might be a consideration too. There are other calming products to try as well, if the Feliway spray doesn't work. There is one called Bach Rescue Remedy which are drops you rub into a cat's ear to help calm them before a trip to the vet. You can look up additional options by doing an internet search on 'cat calming products'. Not all work on all cats, so there might be some experimenting to do.

A partial bath instead of a shower might also be an option with less trauma involved. I have taken a couple of 'hospital' tubs and filled one with some water and a mild soap and the other with plain water; then I wet a soft washcloth in the soapy water, wipe down Feeby's 'booty', and finish up with rinsing that area with another cloth from the plain water tub. I have a couple of soft towels, one to lay her on, and the other to dry the area. I have also used unscented, hypoallergenic wipes for 'booty duty' as well.
I'm curious about the ear calming thing. It's on my list. I think I'll have to set them later in the day because she didn't want to eat anything when she got home. She just drinks water. She didn't even want the new temptations squeeze pouch which she loves. Should the dose of gabapentin be lowered with other calming products or should I try each one separate and see the effects?
 
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Mochiandme

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We use gabapentin for our younger one periodically since she's grooming adverse and, gets fractious at the vet during certain procedures.

The usual dose is 100mg which works well for our girl, caveat is you must give it about 2 hours before your appointment or procedure. We find it takes at least an hour or more for her to start getting calm and drowsy. If you bother her during this time period, it will wind up revving her up again so I leave her be in that time frame.

For car visits, incorporate the 1/2 hour trip to the vet. So if you appointment is at 10:00 am for instance, I'd give the gabapentin around 8:00am. This way, the cat would be right at that 2 hour mark when you arrive and should be fairly compliant by then. The effects last about another 2 hours give or take. This would leave plenty of time for you to get there, have her attended to, and get home again. Talk to your vet about proper dosing for weight/size. We tried lower doses but it did nothing for her at all.

Last, our girl also was diagnosed with keratitis and saw a specialist. We got lucky with her that she only needed about a months course of eye drops. easily done at home. She's been fine since and that was quite some time ago.
I gave it wrong this time then. I didn't incorporate the drive lol I wanted her calm on the drive. I will do better next time. She's going to be on eye drops for 2 months but hopefully she'll get better fast.
 
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Mochiandme

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I take Jackie to my mom’s every weekend, it is a 40 minute drive. Here is what helped him:

No wet food 6 hours before the trip. A cat that gets super carsick may need to hold off on dry food for 2-4 hours before the car trip.

Keep the engine off until kitty is inside the car.

Lots of cool air blowing can help kitty.

I have perfected giving Jackie scratching/rubbing behind his ears to help his ears pop as we go up and down the hill (it is steep enough that our ears pop every time up/down the giant hill.)

I tried crates. I gave up but I have considered buying him a seatbelt dog harness. He is happiest up on my shoulder with my arm supporting him. So if you can get a driver, getting her a car harness & sitting in the back seat may help.

Bring in the outside air so she can smell where she is.

You can try taking her on weekly car rides to someplace pleasant or just around and then home. That way she isn’t always going to the Dr.

⭐When we get within a 1/4 -1/16 of a mile of Nana’s house Jackie gets all excited& starts sniffing the vents.
Thank you for the suggestions! I probably won't have her free roam in the car but I might swaddle her in a blanket. I will also try the weekly car ride practices.
 

FeebysOwner

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Should the dose of gabapentin be lowered with other calming products or should I try each one separate and see the effects?
That is a question I am not sure how to answer. I have no idea if they can be combined or not. I just thought a lower dose of the Gabapentin might calm her but not knock her out. So, I guess if it were me, I would try that first.

Hopefully, someone else can come along and advise you from experience about using both items at the same time.
 

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they already hate her.
You've gotten a lot of feedback, but regarding this have you tried cat music for everyone?
if any changes happen by pooping next to litter box.
You're saying she doesn't typically miss? Can you put unscented puppy pee pads down around the litterbox during any times that she might typically miss?
 

Jerseymeow

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Do you know the name of the calming treats? I'm going to try everything out there because she usually also punishes me if any changes happen by pooping next to litter box. I didn't think of cat wipes but that'll be on my amazon list too. I just wish she didn't have an accident and I can just put her back in her room as soon as we get home.
I have a timid cat. I tried "Pet Naturals of Vermont 30 Count Calming Behavioral Support Soft Chews" However, my cat will not eat them. So, you may need to try different brands until you find one that your cat likes.
 

sivyaleah

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That is a question I am not sure how to answer. I have no idea if they can be combined or not. I just thought a lower dose of the Gabapentin might calm her but not knock her out. So, I guess if it were me, I would try that first.

Hopefully, someone else can come along and advise you from experience about using both items at the same time.
My opinion for what it's worth and as a Gabapentin user is that calming treats are not going to help at all in this instance (if at all)

Gabapentin has a very specific amount for best effectiveness. As I already said, 100 mg is the standard for adult cats unless one uses it daily in which case I've heard people say they use smaller amounts.

However, for a one shot kind of thing like going to the vet 100 mg is the most effective amount. And even that sometimes won't work - our girl was so anxious once that it didn't do a thing for her which our vet confirmed is a possibility. Probably also because she had eaten a full meal before we dosed her.

We tried doing 50 mg and 75 mg and neither helped at all but the 100 mg is perfect. I only use the liquid type, not pills so I don't know if that makes a difference.

Any vet should be able to dose the cat properly for their age/weight/size.
 

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I tried gabapentin for the first time for this purpose very recently--to keep my cat calmer during a vet visit. It was like a miracle. My cat gets so freaked out and stressed by the car trip and the vet visit. She seems very sensitive to the sedative/drowsiness effect of gabapentin, so I gave her 50 mg about 2 hours before we needed to leave for the vet appointment. I have never seen my cat so calm in the car before. She didn't even meow. I was so relieved, and I wish I had known about this earlier.
 

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Thank you for the suggestions! I probably won't have her free roam in the car but I might swaddle her in a blanket. I will also try the weekly car ride practices.
You can put Bach Flower Remedy directly in her water, since she does drink water. Try it. She may or may not tolerate that.
Feliway spray is preferred here. I had to airlift cats internationally. It was a 100-mile journey from our home to the airport, partly over sand and boulder road. We lined each carrier with clean foam (bought from a big-box store, often used in pillows) and I sprayed each with Feliway. They did not meow once during the journey (no tranquilizers) and they arrived cool, calm and collected after the flight. I'm sure I was much more stressed than they seemed to be. And they had never been on an airplane before.
We have NaturVet Quiet Moments Calming Aid plus Melatonin "tasty soft chews" "calming aids" "Helps Reduce Stress and Tension" "Promotes Rest and Relaxation" bought at Petco. To be honest, I'm not sure how effective it is. It was put in my cart and I paid for it by mistake. My cats have really never been high strung. But you might try these treats given as directed. Quiet Moments® Cat Soft Chew - NaturVet
 
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Mochiandme

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That is a question I am not sure how to answer. I have no idea if they can be combined or not. I just thought a lower dose of the Gabapentin might calm her but not knock her out. So, I guess if it were me, I would try that first.

Hopefully, someone else can come along and advise you from experience about using both items at the same time.
I will be trying everything mentioned here but not all at once and see what’s best for Luna. Thank you!
 
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Mochiandme

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You've gotten a lot of feedback, but regarding this have you tried cat music for everyone?

You're saying she doesn't typically miss? Can you put unscented puppy pee pads down around the litterbox during any times that she might typically miss?
No I haven’t tried cat music but that sounds like a good idea. She has a tv in her room but I have to set everything up. If she gets mad or stressed from something, she’ll miss. If another cat goes after her, we’ll find poop next to her litter box. She always had issues with the litter box, but it seems to be much better since she has her own space. She used to poop on the carpeted stairs and was almost put in the shelter by my mom until we took out all the carpet and no more issue. The peepads are a great idea though because her room is carpeted and it’ll be easier to clean! Thank you!
 
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Mochiandme

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I have a timid cat. I tried "Pet Naturals of Vermont 30 Count Calming Behavioral Support Soft Chews" However, my cat will not eat them. So, you may need to try different brands until you find one that your cat likes.
Thank you for the suggestion. I will definitely look into those. Luna is a treat hound lol.
 
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