Does Feliway Work to Change Cat Behavior?

High Angle View Portrait Of Ginger Cat Sitting On Street

For a number of years, Feliway has been sold at pet stores, veterinary offices, and internet businesses. You may be aware that it has something to do with cat behavior, but you may not be very knowledgeable. You might be surprised to learn that Feliway is actually a cat pheromone-based product.

What Is Feliway?

The traditional Feliway is an exact duplicate of the feline familiarization pheromone. Your cat applies this scent to the thing when she rubs her face against it, an activity known as bunting. It's your cat's way of letting you know that this is his or her territory and where they feel protected. Classic Feliway is available in sprays, wipes, and plug-in diffuser formulations. The diffusers are the most affordable household items since they may provide coverage up to 750 square feet and last up to 30 days. Sprays can be applied on bedding and carriers. You may also use the wipes on yourself to comfort new and nervous cats if you frequently assist with shelter or foster animals.

Feliway Multicat was introduced to the market following the first release of Classic Feliway. The pheromone in Multicat and Feliway Classic are not the same. Instead, it is a synthetic version of the pheromone that nursing mother cats emit.

Does Feliway Work?

Feliway has always been promoted as a way to manage stress-related undesired in-home behaviour. Inter-cat hostility, destructive behavior, and scratching are all examples of behaviors that might be the consequence of medical issues, but they can also be behavioral issues. Over the years, research have been conducted to evaluate Feliway's claims. These investigations have demonstrated that there are no physiological changes between cats exposed to Feliway and those exposed to a placebo (in terms of heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure, etc.).

However, veterinary behaviorists are more aware that no one product is completely helpful as they understand more about the behavior of cats (and dogs). No "magic bullet" exists. Instead, behavior medicine performs better when a multi-modal approach to treatment is used. In other words, a behavioral issue is best treated using a variety of therapy approaches.

What Can I Use to Improve Results With Feliway?

Combining Feliway with additional anti-anxiety treatments may help you observe a more pronounced improvement in cat behavior, even when Feliway alone may not show any apparent change in cat behavior. Nutraceuticals are over-the-counter medications that mimic pharmaceuticals and make similar claims. Products like Zylkene (hydrolyzed milk protein from cows), Anxitane (L-Theanine, an amino acid found in green tea leaves), and Composure chews are examples of behavioral nutraceuticals (treats that contain a blend of colostrum, L-Theanine, and thiamine). Additionally, your veterinarian may advise a particular diet. Diets like Hill's c/d stress and Royal Canin's Calm can ease your cat's anxiety at home. The Hill's c/d stress is very beneficial for cats with Pandora syndrome (sometimes also termed FLUTD or FIC). Of course, there are also genuine medications that can aid in the treatment of behavioral issues. Your veterinarian could decide to recommend a behavioral drug for your cat.

Get to the Root of the Problem

Naturally, the best way to start in resolving the issue is by identifying the stress factor for your cat. Simple reasons like disliking the type of litter, the box being too unclean, or even just being unable to fit inside because the edges are too high for their arthritic hips might drive cats to step outside the box. Your veterinarian may discuss your litter box configuration with you and offer assistance with any adjustments you might try to make. Extra resources, such as more water bowls, cozy resting quarters, and scratching spots, can help reduce destructive scratching as well as intercat conflict.

Cats want to stand off the ground. They frequently jump on tables and countertops because of this. Therefore, giving "vertical surfaces," such as cat trees, cat shelves, etc., can help prevent counter leaping in addition to adding more resources within the house. In busy regions in a multi-cat home, vertical surfaces can also offer "alternative pathways." If you have many cats and are having trouble with inter-cat aggressiveness, attempt to identify the area of the house where fights seem to happen most frequently. Providing vertical surfaces might help your cats feel more at ease in areas that could feel a little crowded if more than one cat is present (such as corridors and stairwells).

Consult your veterinarian about other options if Feliway isn't producing the effects you'd like in your house. A behavioral issue can occasionally be resolved with something as straightforward as adding another litter box or relocating a cat scratcher to a more secure and convenient area. Your veterinarian can advise you on how to live a stress-free life with your cat.

CITATION

"DePorter TL, Bledsoe DL, Beck A, Ollivier E. Evaluation of the efficacy of an appeasing pheromone diffuser product vs placebo for management of feline aggression in multi-cat households: a pilot studyJ Feline Med Surg. 2019;21(4):293-305. doi:10.1177/1098612X18774437" ;

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