Moving home with your feline friend is often a stressful experience. We are often asked if there are ways to make this a more pleasant experience for the cats involved. In general we would not recommend sedating your cat for travel as most sedatives will lead to disorientation. Some cats can become overly sedate or hyperexcitable and can develop complications from this whilst not under veterinary supervision.
There are however some things you can do to make the trip more pleasant for your cat.
1) Get the travel crate in advance and get you cat used to being in it. Start to feed your cat in their crate for a few weeks before travel to get them to associate the crate with a positive experience. You can also start to close the door on them in for a few minutes at a time whilst they eat.
2) Consider using pheromone products such as Feliway in the travel crate - Cats respond to pheromones (unlike most humans) and these products are designed to make you cat feel more comfortable and safe in a foreign environment.
3) Place comfortable bedding and an incontinence pad(or puppy training pad) in the crate. Your cat may need to urinate in the travel crate if they are locked in for a few hours. These pads are designed to soak up urine and keep it away from your cats fur.
4) Give your cat a meal of wet cat food 3 to 4 hours before travel - Your cat may choose to not eat or drink whilst traveling and soon after when in a new environment. Feeding wet foods promotes short term hydration as well as nutrition(Ensure your cat is used to eating wet food beforehand - do not suddenly change their diet).
5) Ensure your cat has had an F3 vaccine in the year prior to travel (If they are due for vaccination have them done 1 - 2 weeks prior to traveling). Most boarding catteries will require an F3 vaccine prior to looking after a cat. Your cat may also be in an environment where they are in close proximity to other stressed cats who may be shedding cat flu (If a cat has ever been exposed to the herpesvirus in cat flu they can develop symptoms of sneezing and weepy eyes when stressed in future - 98% of cats have been exposed). While the vaccine does not prevent infection it should make the clinical signs less severe.