Does Pheromone Spray work for cats

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A cat sitting among cat scratchers.
A Cat Sitting Among Cat Scratchers.

Cats are great companions, but they're also stubborn and some of their behaviors can be troublesome to your household. If you're trying to break your feline friends of bad habits like marking, fighting, or scratching, a product like Feliway may be able to help.

A pheromone spray, Feliway is often used to calm restless cats and correct unwanted behavior. It's easy to use and is species-specific, so you don't have to worry about it affecting dogs or humans. The real question, though, is does it really work?

Artificial Facial Cat Pheromones

Feliway is a product that contains the synthetic version of the naturally occurring facial pheromones of cats. A pheromone is a chemical marking agent excreted by cats to mark their territory and can serve as an attractant to the opposite sex. They're what your cat is spreading whenever she rubs her cheek on you, the wall, or whatever object she's claiming at the moment.

brown white and black cat
brown white and black cat

Feliway has many touted uses, including but not limited to, reducing or eliminating the following behaviors:

  • Urine Marking
  • Aggression
  • Facial marking
  • Stress reduction at the veterinarian, groomer, kennel, or while traveling
  • Scratching on vertical surfaces

There is also a Feliway MultiCat diffuser. This one is designed to help relieve tension between cats who can't seem to get along.

brown and white tabby cat walking on the street during daytime
brown and white tabby cat walking on the street during daytime

Dogs have a similar product called Adaptil (formerly DAP, Dog Appeasing Pheromone), which can be used along with training to deter certain behaviors or calm dogs down.

Feliway can reduce scratching on vertical surfaces
Feliway Can Reduce Scratching On Vertical Surfaces

How Feliway Is Used

Feliway comes in two forms: pump spray and plug-in room diffuser. Neither form is to be used on the cat directly! Instead, they release the pheromone into your home's air, affecting the cat's behavior.

The diffuser is simple--just plug it into a wall outlet and it lasts approximately 30 days, providing coverage for 500 to 650 square feet. It will not cover multiple rooms and is only effective in the open area it's placed in.

The diffuser is useful for overall cat behavior in the house and the company touts it as offering comfort to cats. It's useful in situations where a cat may be shy, hiding, or showing stress by over-grooming. It can also be used to ease the transition to a new home or when redecorating.

calico cat sitting near trees
calico cat sitting near trees
cat on window
cat on window

The spray is to be used on surfaces that the cat is marking. If, for instance, your cat is territorial about clean laundry, you can spray a towel with Feliway and lay it on the clothes. You can also apply it to his favorite spraying spots around the house. It's useful for trips to the vet or when boarding as well.

The spray can be used to deter scratching on the furniture. However, Feliway has released FeliScratch to target that exact problem.

Feliway in Real Life

Some people love this product, while others claim that it doesn't work at all. Of course, we have to take into consideration that every cat has a different personality. The problem may not be the spray, it simply may not be attractive to a particular cat.

Though reviews are mixed, you might want to consider giving it a try. However, keep in mind that many cat behavioral problems also have connections to medical conditions. If your cat is acting differently, be sure to get a vet checkup scheduled so you can rule out health issues.