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Pet Owner Version

Motion Sickness in Cats


T. Mark Neer

, DVM, DACVIM, Center for Veterinary Health Sciences, Oklahoma State University

Reviewed/Revised Aug 2018 | Modified Oct 2022

Motion sickness results in nausea, excessive salivation, vomiting, and occasionally other signs. Animals may yawn, whine, show signs of uneasiness or apprehension, or have diarrhea. Motion sickness is usually seen during travel by land, sea, or air, and signs usually disappear when the motion of the vehicle ceases.

The principal cause of motion sickness is a problem in the inner ear, which has connections to the brain stem. Fear of the vehicle may be a contributing factor in cats, and signs may occur even in a vehicle that is not moving.

In some cases, motion sickness can be overcome by conditioning the animal to travel. See also Introduction to Travel with Pets Introduction to Travel with Pets This resource provides basic information on traveling with your pet, both within the United States and internationally. While the focus is on the United States as the “home country,” many of... read more In others, drug treatment can help prevent motion sickness, provide sedation, and decrease drooling. Some of the medications that treat motion sickness in dogs and people are not effective in cats. Your veterinarian can prescribe an appropriate medication.

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