Natural Sedatives for a Cat

Your cat may suffer from anxiety and stress for any number of reasons. A trip to the doctor, long-range travel or changes in the household can put a cat in turmoil. Your veterinarian may prescribe medication for your cat to help them with these dramatic changes. Though such sedative medications generally work well, they can be expensive and may have side effects. Many cat owners prefer to use natural sedatives, which produce less extreme results and have fewer side effects.

Cat lying on bench in backlight at sunset
Natural sedatives calm your cat for travel, office visits or other stressful situations.
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Cat and vase of fresh catnip
Catnip, when eaten, can provide a natural sedative for cats.
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Catnip or Nepeta cataria is a well-known sedative for cats, according to Cat World. Catnip is a member of the mint family; in fact, if you crush the leaves, you will detect a faint scent of mint. It is easy to grow in home gardens and bears heart-shaped leaves with small, lavender flowers. Breaking the leaves and stems releases a chemical called nepetalactone which triggers reactions in a cat's brain, giving the cat a sense of calm or energetic euphoria. The effects differ depending on the intake method: When cats inhale the catnip scent, they become stimulated; but when the catnip is eaten, it provides a sedative effect.

Kava leaf
The Kava leaf is a tropical herb that can be used as a sedative, but only with the supervision of a veterinarian.
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Kava Kava

Kava Kava, Piper methysticum, is a tropical herb used traditionally as a sedative. According to Amazing Wellness Magazine, you can use it as a natural sedative for cats, but only under the supervision of a veterinarian trained in the use of natural remedies for cats, to ensure the correct dosages. Kava Kava can be toxic to the liver; cats with liver damage should not receive it, nor should pregnant cats. Kava Kava can interact with other sedative medications, such as Valium.

Pure white cat sleeping on white bedding
Natural remedies like catnip, valerian root and kava kava may help your cat sleep or ease their anxiety.
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Valerian root to help ease your cat's anxiety. Valeriana officinalis is a perennial flowering plant has been used for centuries as a sedative to induce sleep. It contains the chemical actinidine, which attracts cats and acts similarly to catnip. Valerian root is an effective sedative for cats, but use it only under the direction of a veterinarian who can prescribe the correct amount for the weight of the animal. Overdosage can cause stomach upsets and extreme fatigue, according to Dr. Jan Becker on Pet Nutrition Info.

Sleeping cat
There are also products that emit pheromones or botanical essences to help calm your cat.
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Feliway is a product designed and used for calming the behavior of cats stressed by common situations. It contains a synthetic form of feline facial pheromone that cats use to mark objects in their environment. The synthetic pheromone is placed into the device, which diffuses the pheromone into the room, producing a tranquilizing effect on the animal. The pheromone is species specific and does not affect other animals or humans.

kitten sleeping
Make sure to ask your veterinarian for any suggestions as alternatives to medication.
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Rescue Remedy

Rescue Remedy is a commercial product marketed for use in calming cats. The product contains botanical essences of flowers, such as Clematis vitalba, Helianthemum nummularium, Impatiens glandulifera and others. In the drop form, a few drops are placed on the cat's tongue or in food. The spray form is sprayed directly onto the cat's tongue. Veterinary experts at Drs. Foster & Smith recommend Rescue Remedy is a good alternative for cats that will not accept pill forms of sedation.