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Find information on animal health topics, written for the veterinary professional.

Motion Sickness in Cats

By William B. Thomas, DVM, MS, DACVIM (Neurology), Neurology and Neurosurgery, Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, University of Tennessee ; Kyle G. Braund, BVSc, MVSc, PhD, FRCVS, DACVIM (Neurology), Veterinary Neurological Consulting Services

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 In others, drug treatment can help prevent motion sickness, provide sedation, and decrease drooling.