Cats and Motion Sickness

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Gastrointestinal Distress Related to Motion in Cats

Humans are not the only species to get car sick. Cats also get a queasy stomach when traveling in the car (or even by boat or air).

Symptoms and Types

Cats show their uneasiness in various ways. The first signs of motion sickness may be:

  • Excessive drooling (ptyalism)
  • Crying out in distress
  • Immobility, or acting afraid to move
  • Vomiting or regurgitation
  • Urinating or defecating


There are several potential causes of motion sickness in cats. One possible cause of motion sickness can be emotional (behavioral), and linked to a bad travel experience in early life. Many cats feel insecure when taken out of their indoor environment infrequently.


Once neurologic, behavioral and other causes of vomiting are ruled out, the diagnosis of motion sickness can be easily made by the cat's veterinarian. The history of the cat's reaction to traveling usually points to the problem.

  • bad travel experience
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A type of drug that is known to calm an animal or put it to sleep


The return of food into the oral cavity after it has been swallowed

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