You love your cat and hate to see her in distress. Virtually any change in your cat's life - from a loud noise to a new cat - will upset all but a Budha cat. But let me introduce you to Feliway®.
Cats like to be in control of their environments and if they're not, they get stressed. And they act out by scratching furniture, peeing outside of their litter boxes, hiding, spraying, fighting with other cats in the household, and just plain making you go crazy out of your mind trying to figure out what to do for them and about them.
Feliway, a synthetic form of feline facial pheronomes, has been one of the most effective products at reducing or eliminating feline stress. You have seen your cat rub his face on the corners of your walls, your furniture, and even your legs. Leaving his scent around his home is quite normal behavior for a cat. It helps him to recognize that he is in his own space. It calms him. Feliway is an artificial cat facial pherenome that smells like your cat's own pheronomes, an it is very effective at reducing cats' temporary fears, loneliness, aggressiveness, vet visits, and traveling in general.
Nervous cats tend to scratch inappropriate things (image source)
There are a few manufacturers of products that contain Feliway. One of them is named Feliway, and it's made by CETA Animal Health. CETA makes Feliway in diffuser, multiple cat diffuser, a spray, and a sticky liquid to be used to draw cats to their scratching posts.
Comfort Zone is another brand that uses Feliway in its calming products for cats and it is also very popular among cat owners. Like CETA, Comfort Zone makes two diffuser packs - one for cats who exhibit the kinds of fear behavior mentioned above, and another for multiple cats who are territorial and may fight with each other. Feliway and Comfort Zone are virtually the same products, so you can choose either one.
Does Feliway Work?
Feliway has been studied experimentally, as well as well as independently by cat parents. Scientific experiments with Feliway are largely successful at eliminating or reducing feline stress, but there is a percentage (10 to 30 percent) of cats that show no improvement. (source)
This success rate is even reflected in Feliways product reviews on Amazon, where pet parents are largely pleased with the results. Given that the odds are in favor of improvement, veterinarians generally recommend a Feliway treatment before advising a prescription tranquilizer for your cat. (The products are less expensive on Amazon than at the vets, and you don't need a prescription.)
Calming Feliway Diffusers
I like a Feliway diffuser, which you can use in each of your cat's frequented rooms or just the room he spends most of his time. It doesn't have much of an odor to humans, but it's very calming to cats.
Place the Feliway into the diffuser, as directed, and plug the diffuser into a wall.
NOTE: The Feliway may stain carpeting, furniture, hard wood, and other surfaces, so be very careful pouring it into the diffuser.
The scent lasts for about 30 days, after which it should be replaced. The diffuser should be placed in an open area, not behind a door or furniture. This oil is not to be ingested by your pets; if it is ingested, immediate attention by your veterinarian is required.
The Comfort Zone Feliway diffuser is also successfully calming cats and claims 90 percent success at reducing vertical scratching (of your furniture) and urine marking.
Feliway refills are available for Comfort Zone and CETA diffusers, but customers say the refills are interchangeable.
Multi-Cat Feliway Diffusers
If you have multiple cats who fight for dominance, you will want to employ a multi-cat diffuser from either Comfort Zone or Feliway. They contain a product in addition to Feliway that aids in the reduction of friction between cats. The Comfort Zone Feliway is more popular, but essentially the products are the same, although Comfort Zone products are a bit less expensive than Feliway.
This Feliway video provides a few tips on keeping your cats from fighting....
If one or all of your cats also experience environmental tension and urinates outside of his box or scratches inappropriate objects, you probably should use both the single cat and multi-cat diffusers. Feliway multi-cat diffuser refills are readily available.
Feliway Cat Sprays
Unlike most cat sprays that repel cats with their cat-nasty smells, Feliway Cat Spray, remember, contains cat pheronomes, that calm cats down. So yes, you do spray it on areas, like the sofa backs and corners your cat loves to destroy but, as the Feliway is a familiar pherenome, he'll say "Ah, that smells nice and is very soothing. Maybe I won't scratch there after all!"
The CEVA Feliway Spray (above) comes in a large can and travel size, but I would buy a large can, even if you don't have multiple cats. It's a bit pricey, but it sprays approximately 1400 times and does a lot of jobs. Spray about 10 times in your cat's crate and on her bedding. Spray the furniture where she's not supposed to scratch, and the places she marks with urine.
Likewise spray the areas you want to be attractive to her, like her cozy bedding (sprinkle a little catnip in there too!), her wall climbers, her cat tree, and all cat scratchers. Definitely, spray her crate and or, Sleepypod, if she's in the car. Chances are, she'll learn to really like them.
Spray each area 15 - 20 minutes before you let your cat in the room where items have been sprayed. That way, you will give the spray a chance to settle. When spraying your cat's crate and bedding, it's best not to spray other areas in the room at the same time. Do this every three to four days for a few weeks and then less frequently, as needed.
Feliway Wipes by CEVA function like the Cat Spray, but are intended for immediate use, and are more handy to travel with. They are more pricey than the spray, but well worth having for 'emergency' use.
Some customers had great reactions to this product and some did not. One customer asserted that it's a matter of 'reading the instructions,' but check it out, your cats might be drawn to it! When it works, it seems to work well.
I encourage my cat to use his scratcher by sprinkling some very fresh Meowijuana on the base and over the cording.
Even if your kitty doesn't have behavioral issues currently, I recommend you have one of these products available, perhaps the Feliway Wipes, because.... well, you know cats!
That's the buzz for today!