Is Ativan on the list of things that are OK to give your cat?
Cats are territorial creatures, they might even attach more importance to the territory they live in than the loving owners that take care of them. Your cat probably loves you very much, of course. Their territorial and sensitive nature can often make any sort of excursion an extremely stressful affair.
In addition to their usual discomfort of being in new places, cats are extremely sensitive creatures. Their ears can perceive a far larger amplitude of sound than ours, so that a car engine is probably deafening to them.
Some cats get so stressed that their owners fear they might suffer a heart attack at any moment. A heart attack might not be likely, but stress has been shown to be harmful to humans and cats in all kinds of ways.
Can I Give My Cat Ativan? Answer: Not Without Consulting a Veterinarian
We have access to an array of medication that can help us deal with anxiety and stress. Ativan is one of them. Ativan is the brand name of a drug called lorazepam which is used for the short-term treatment for anxiety or for sedating aggressive patients. In principle, it has the same sedative and anxiety reducing effects on cats.
It is always difficult to predict the effect of medication not specifically designed for pets, so it may be better to use alternative methods to sedate your feline friend. Lorazepam in small doses is normally not toxic to cats. Nevertheless, it is a drug that can have adverse effects such as a loss of balance and coordination, so consulting a veterinarian before giving it to your pet is always a good idea.
Some veterinarians offer the possibility to sedate your cat in case you travel with them. These services are expensive and you may decide to sedate your cat at home. As mentioned before lorazepam in small doses is usually not dangerous to cats. If you decide to use it to sedate your feline friend before he or she tears you apart in a clawed tornado it is always best to be cautious.
Ativan usually comes in pills of 0.5mg. Veterinarians generally advise to start with one quarter of the pill and see how the cat reacts. If more sedation is needed give the another quarter of the pill to a maximum of half a pill every 24 hours.
Effects and Precautions
As with any medication it is always best to first consult a veterinarian. Ativan reduces anxiety and induces a relaxed state in the user. This includes relaxing the muscles and mind to such a degree that there may be some dizziness and loss of coordination. Caution should be used when giving lorazepam to cats that have respiratory problems. It hampers the respiratory drive and should not be given to cats that suffer from problems such as acute asthma.
Pets traveling by airplane, where there is a change in air pressure, should not be given lorezapam because it interferes with their ability to regulate their breathing and heart rate to accommodate for changes in pressure. Cats that have displayed allergic reactions to other sedatives or ingredients present in the tables should not be given lorezapam. Lorezepam is highly addictive and has unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, so should not be used more than once in a few years to prevent your cat from becoming a junkie!
Sedation is not the only technique to reduce the stress a cat experiences during travel. One of the first step is getting the cat to feel comfortable in whatever container they are traveling. This can be done by putting familiar objects inside the carrier, like their favorite blanket. Additionally, provide them with lots of treats when they are in the carrier to give them lots of positive memories.
If you are going to travel by car you can get your cat accustomed to the location slowly as well, by first just taking them to the car several times and then progressively increase the time spent in the car and even take a few short drives. It is a lot of work and takes advance planning, but it is certainly worth it. There are also pheromone sprays available that mimic those of a cat. The pheromones communicate to the cat that the environment is safe and secure which reduces their stress considerably.
Avoid Medication if Possible
Although you may fear your cat will die of a heart attack, it is best if you can calm them without the use of medication. Medication can always have unexpected side effects, although Ativan is generally quite safe for cats. Alternative methods may not be quite as effective and easy, but they are guaranteed to keep your cat healthy, while perhaps reducing their stress to manageable levels. If you decide to use Ativan always be cautious with the dose and if possible consult a veterinarian first.