Friday, October 16, 2015
A road trip from a cat's point of view is really no fun at all. Especially not five days long with at least 12 hours in the car everyday, with very little space for roaming around. Z found herself a good perch, although it changed shape daily with the shuffling of luggage. And I won't deny having caught a cat mid-air as the brakes were hit a bit abruptly. It happens. We all made it safely. But we also had a trick up our sleeve...
0.125mg dosages of alprozolam (i.e., Xanax) in the morning. For the cat, not us. I talked to our veterinarian about Z's 5 hour long panting/panic attacks when we've driven her to Philly, and the vet decided that it's likely just anxiety. So we put our cat on Xanax for 5 days and it really helped.
The Vet prescribed 0.25mg daily, but on a trial run when given the full dosage at once, the Z turned into stoner cat. On the road trip, we halved the dosage and would give her one in the morning and one in the evening if she seemed extra frantic (first day and our only 10+ hour driving day). We were afraid she would have anxiety attacks in the hotel, but she calmed down a little bit once she had non-mobile access to food, water, and litterbox each night.
Access to the Necessities
We offered food, water, and litter to Z once or twice during the ride when we thought she was extra frantic. But she declined. So, in general, Z had no access to food, water, or her litter box until we arrived at our hotel. Cats don't generally relieve themselves in their living space, so we had little problem with this set up. We did invest in a disposable pre-filled litterbox which was key since there was very little space for her full-sized, covered box.
Each morning Z would find a new hiding place. Behind a chair, under the bedskirts, etc. Once, she climbed up into the bed frame and we had to lift the boxspring to get her out. Outsmarting a terrified cat isn't difficult, and once she ingested the anti-anxiety meds, she would pretty much sleep until nighttime. Z would not eat treats hiding pills, so we would put the half-pill on her tongue every morning.
At nighttime, she would take 5 minute naps, wake up, and walk around the car (to what extent possible) crying, for 5 minutes at a time, before going back to sleep. This routine looped for hours, until we finally reached our hotel destination. At this point, giving her another 0.125mg dosage seemed to have little effect, except to extend her nap an extra hour before starting this loop again.