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 pet anxiety medication for cats 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 a natural sedative for cats which produce less extreme results and have fewer side effects.

Kitten sleeping
Natural Sedatives for a Cat
credit: lisegagne/iStock/GettyImages

Try a nip of catnip

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.

Keep him calm with 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.

Soothe her with valerian

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.

Cat stress relief from Feliway

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 natural cat tranquilizer. The pheromone is species specific and does not affect other animals or humans.

Rely on Rescue Remedy

Rescue Remedy is a commercial product marketed for use in calming cats. The product contains botanical essences of flowers, such as Clematis </ahref="http:>vitalba, Helianthemum nummularium, Impatiens glandulifera, and others. In the drop form, a few drops are placed on the cat's tongue or in food. Alternatively, a mist gets sprayed directly onto the cat's tongue.

Don't brew a cup of tea

Although a cup of chamomile tea can be soothing for humans, Anthemis nobilis is toxic to many animals including cats, dogs, and horses according to the ASPCA. The herb is useful to soothe human digestion, but it will do the opposite for your cat. Vomiting, diarrhea, and allergic reactions are all symptoms your pet may exhibit after ingesting the plant, whether brewed or fresh. Chamomile contains feline-toxic ingredients including the natural alcohol bisabolol, as well as irritating chemicals such as anthemic acid and chamazulene. Tannic acid is another chamomile ingredient that is toxic to cats. It's found in many other teas, so remove any soothing herbs that contain the substance off the list of potential sedatives for your cat.