5 Natural Cat Sedatives for Travel Anxiety [2024 Guide]

Safe and Natural Cat Sedatives for Travel Anxiety are very important during flights, Just like us humans, cats too get stressed out from time to time, especially during airplane travels. Especially because flight brings a lot of change in air and environment, things can easily set off your cat. While air travel stress for cats can’t be avoided, you can still calm down your cat using natural sedatives.

What are Cat Sedatives?

Cat Sedatives are a type of medication lighter than local anesthesia. They don’t send the pet into a deep sleep but in a partial sleep and alert condition. Sedatives help in calming down your cat during flight and medical process where they would usually have behaved highly stressed.

Cat Sedatives are only used under high-stress conditions. While road and rail travel might not need any sedation, for air travel, it is essential.

Is there a natural sedative for cats? Yes, Natural sedatives have been in use for cats for ages. These products are nothing but the stress-relieving plants that humans commonly rely upon.

5 Natural Cat Sedatives for Travel Anxiety [2022 Review]

Some cats get easily stressed as a part of their demeanor, while others freak out due to environmental changes. Though fortunately, there are several effective remedies, both natural and commercial, for helping cats calm down.

Here is the list of the top 5 natural cat sedatives/ remedies that will help your pet during air travel. Have a look:

Valerian is a perennial flowering herb native to parts of Asia and Europe. Its root has a long history of serving as a sedative for both animals and humans. Valerian aids in relieving stress and anxiety in cats. It first promotes play and exercise behavior and later aids in a night of relaxing sleep for your kitten. Individuals can feed (or allow to smell) to their Valerian half to an hour before the flight.

Valerian Natural Cat Sedatives

1) Valerian

Either look for pure Valerian root, or there are some Verlaine root oil and other commercial products available for use. Because cats are smell sensitive, a small amount of product will go a long way. And since Valerian is safe for cats, individuals can repeat its use (if necessary).

Catnip Natural Cat Sedatives

2) Catnip

Catnip or Nepeta cataria is a mint family herb. It is native to the Middle East, Central Asia, part of China, along with southern and eastern Europe. Catnip leaf has a special oil known as ‘Nepetalactone’ that causes behavioral changes in cats. It basically mimics feline sex hormones that lead to signs of affection, relaxation, and happiness. Smelling Catnip leaves/ oil also aids in relieving pain, anxiety, and stress in cats.

NOTE: Catnip’s effect isn’t the same on all cats, and it may differ depending upon their genetics. Also, most cats, until they are 6 months or 1 year old, won’t react to Catnip.

Caution: Avoid high/ heavy doses of Catnip for your cats since it can lead to health issues, including vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, etc.

Lonicera Tatarica Natural Cat Sedatives

3) Lonicera tatarica

Lonicera tatarica is a bushy shrub and a species of honeysuckle. It is native to parts of eastern Asia (Himalayas), Siberia, and North America. commonly used for anxious cats since it aids in reducing stress and calming the brain.

It is non-toxic safe, and no adverse effects have been reported yet. Individuals, before taking their cats on a flight, can give them some dry/ fresh Lonicera tatarica to smell. This will calm them down during the journey.

Note: Consult a vet first before using Lonicera tatarica as a sedative for cats or other pets. 

Caution: Refrain from using any other species of honeysuckle as a sedative for cats. Since this plant can prove toxic, we strongly condemn its usage on humans and animals both. 

Kava Natural Cat Sedatives

4) Kava

Kava or Kava Kava is a crop native to the Pacific Islands. This plant has a long history of medicinal and traditional use. Kava has mild anxiety-reducing effects and is known for its usage as a sedative, muscle relaxant, and sleeping aid.

However, since Kava is toxic for the liver, do consult a vet before giving it to your cat. Avoid giving overdose and also make sure you do not mix it with any other nature or commercial sedative. Kava is banned in Canada, Great Britain, and Germany; thus, learn about its legal usage before proceeding further.

Chamomile Natural Cat Sedatives

5) Chamomile 

Chamomile is a daisy-like plant that comes in handy commonly as herbal infusions for beverages. Humans have consumed it for centuries as a remedy for several health conditions.

As per lab researchers, Chamomile act on the same parts of the brain and nervous system as any other anti-anxiety drug or commercial product will. Today due to its anti-anxiety properties, several individuals today expose their cats to Chamomile. 

NOTE: Never give chamomile flower to your cat since it might induce vomiting, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal issues.

How do natural sedatives work on cats?

Natural sedative works on cats similarly as that to humans. Cats have a vomeronasal gland in the roof of their mouth, which works as an extra scent organ.

This special gland lets scents/ smells collect in the cat’s nose and mouth and then travel to its brain. It, in effect, makes natural sedatives work easily on a cat’s brain, providing them relief from stress, anxiety, and pain.

Sleeping pills for cats travel

Are they similar to sleeping pills for humans? Several individuals think that sleeping pills for humans and pets are the same, but in reality, they are not. Cats and humans have different metabolism, internal system, and sleep cycle. Even a small dose here and there might harm the cat’s sleeping cycle and even bother their mood.

Sleeping pills for cats are quite common in the medicinal line. Pet doctors often use sleeping pills on cats before their surgery. However, because these pills can be harsh, it isn’t advisable to use them without a doctor’s recommendation. Also, choosing random pills on the internet isn’t safe thus, always follow a doctor’s prescription.

NOTE: We do not recommend giving sleeping pills to cats without a doctor’s recommendation.

What over-the-counter medicine can I use to sedate my cat?

There are several over-the-counter sedatives for cats that you can safely rely upon. These sedate make things easy and as smooth as possible.

Here are a few over-the-counter cat sedatives for travel. These options are safe and sound for use on cats before you take them on a flight.

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Diphenhydramine is an antihistamine and a very common over-the-counter cat sedative. It comes in handy commonly for cats who are suffering from travel anxiety, airplane stress, and motion sickness. Its calming and sleep-inducing effects also prevent nausea that often occurs during cat travel.


Acepromazine is an anxiety relief medicine that is often given as an injection in the veterinary clinic. This over-the-counter sedative can be used with cats before taking a flight.

Though it can cause low blood pressure, consult a veterinarian about your cat’s condition before using Acepromazine. 


Feliway is a cat sedative that comes in the form of spray, wipes, and diffuser. It contains cat pheromone, thus aiding calming and sleeping emotion in the pet. Since it has no side effects, you can spray it one or two times daily during the flight.


Trazodone is another over-the-counter cat sedative that aids in anxiety relief. Cat parents can use it before air travel, vet visit, and grooming visit.

Though even when it is a safe and popular choice, avoid using it as a pair with other sedatives. Or do not give Trazodone to cats who are suffering from heart disease. 


Gabapentin is a safe over-the-counter cat sedative with minimal or almost no side effects. Because it is a light medicine, you can pair it with other sedatives for better results. Gabapentin helps in sedation, anxiety relief, pain management, and seizure control.

Hemp Oil

Hemp Oil is an oil extracted from Hemp seeds. It comes with endless health benefits and also behaves as a sedative for cats and dogs. Hemp Oil, since it is a mild sedative, you can use it before short travel, vet visit, and grooming session. 

Can I give my cat Benadryl before travel?

How much Benadryl Can I give my cat to sedate? Benadryl is a medicine that comes in the form of tablets and syrups. It is quite common amongst humans, mainly for cough and light fever.

Benadryl isn’t actually a cat sedative, but it has light effects on cats, similar to that of sedatives. Also, because it is a safer formula giving it to cats has a good safety margin.

Always consult your vet before giving Benadryl to your cat as a sedative. Only a professional can suggest the amount and number of doses of Benadryl for cats.

NOTE: Before giving Benadryl or any other sedative to your cat, do check with your vet and airlines. It is because many airlines refuse carriage to a sedated pet as altitude can cause breathing difficulties.

Cat sedation vs. Anesthesia

Sedation and Anesthesia are often confused. However, sedation is not anesthesia. Sedative drugs are often used to relax the patient before giving anesthesia.

However, stronger sedative drugs are also used to calm patients before x-rays, imaging, and minor surgery. Cat sedation is used for calming kitty before taking flights. In contrast, Anaesthesia is used before medical procedures.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I sedate my cat without a vet?

For sedating your cat at home without a vet, you can use Natural Cat sedatives. There are quite a lot of options available, including Chamomile, Valerian, Lonicera tatarica, Catnip, etc. Or you can also use any over-the-counter cat sedative. You can find a lot of options from the list above.

How can I get my cat to sleep naturally?

Humans are diurnal, whereas cats are crepuscular. This means humans stay active during the day and sleepy during the night. In contrast, cats appear active during the twilight period. Thus, when you try to wind up the day, your little canine buddy will gain all energy and begin its meow meow through the house. However, you can make them sleep during the night hour naturally. All you need to do is, keep the cat awake longer during the day hours. Let them take fewer naps and, if possible, indulge them in any physical activity during the evening hours. Doing so will induce sleep naturally in them.

Does Pet Naturals Calming work?

Pet Naturals Calming is a stress-relieving product. They help in managing everyday stress and behavioral issues with L-Theanine, Thiamine, Colostrum Calming Complex, and more. It doesn’t work as a sedative but aids in spot calming and leveling down the stress, also very effective for dogs who are suffering from anxiety.

How can I sedate my cat for travel?

Yes, you can sedate your cat before travel, especially air travel. However, make sure you check with the airlines before. There are several airlines that don’t allow cats to travel with sedation.

Wrapping up…

This was all for Cat Sedatives. Though before following any of the articles from the internet, do consult your vet. Sedation isn’t the safest method and might cause any adverse effects to the pet.