Yes, Feliway works for stressed cats and some studies attest to reduced spraying on vertical areas like walls and doors in up to 90% of cases. There was also a reduction of conflict and aggression among cats in a multiple-cat household after just a week’s use of Feliway while at least 84% of pet owners surveyed attest to improvement in their cat’s relationship with one another.
However, some cats didn’t respond positively to the product which shows that there is no magic bullet or “one size fits all” solution or treatment for stressed cats.
What is Feliway and how is it used?
Feliway mimics facial cat pheromones that felines emit through their facial glands when they feel calm and relaxed and when communicating with other cats. Cats rub these pheromones on objects and people as a means to mark their territory and also relieve them of stress and anxiety.
These are the products under the Feliway brand:
1. Feliway Classic
It comes in a diffuser and spray version and used to comfort felines at home and alleviate signs of stress like scratching, hiding, and urine spraying. It is recommended and used by veterinarians and is clinically-proven safe to use for cats. The diffuser version is used by plugging the diffuser unit with a vial in an electric socket and should be used continuously 24 hours a day for optimum results. It covers an area of 70 square meters but shouldn’t be placed behind doors, curtains, or furniture.
The spray version helps calm and relax your cat during vet visits or while traveling as well as to provide additional support for the Feliway diffuser used at home. It’s used by spraying directly to your cat’s carrier at least 15 minutes before allowing your cat to get inside. Make sure to re-spray after every 4 to 5 hours and to use at home, simply spray it on doorways, window sills, cat-flaps, and other objects in the home where your cat may usually spray urine.
It is important to note that it should not be sprayed directly to your cat and should never be sprayed while your cat is inside the carrier. Also, it shouldn’t be sprayed on scratching posts as it will prevent your cat from using it.
2. Feliway Friends/ Multicat
This Feliway product comes in a diffuser version and specifically formulated to prevent inter-cat aggression. It’s a good choice if you have multiple cats in your household that tend to be aggressive towards each other. The product reduces conflict between cats living together and resolves aggressive behavior like fighting, chasing, blocking, and staring at each other. It’s recommended by veterinarians and clinically-proven as safe for cats.
It is used just like the Feliway Classic diffuser and should also be refilled every month to ensure constant harmony between your cats. What’s unique about this product is the fact that it uses a mother cat’s pheromones in her mammary gland area that bond the newborn kittens together. Using the synthetic version of these pheromones has been proven effective to resolve inter-cat aggression and the cats become bonded and eventually get along with each other.
This Feliway product encourages your pet feline to express their natural need for scratching at specific areas where you want them to scratch such as a scratching post. It is clinically-proven to teach cats where to scratch by applying it on your cat’s scratching post and drawing 2 or 3 lines. One pipette should be used daily during the first week and 1 pipette at the beginning of the 3rd and 4th week. Make sure to position the scratching post in an area where your cat usually rests or stays.
The Feliway Spray may be used to complement it and you should use the spray in areas where your cat should NOT scratch. When applied, the product sends out visual and territorial messages to your cat which encourages her to scratch only in that specific post.
Does Feliway work for stressed cats?
Feliway products have been proven to work for stressed cats. Pet owners who have tried it noted that they have seen results in as early as one week and to achieve the full effect it’s recommended to be used for at least one month. However, there have also been cases where some cats didn’t respond positively to the products which just proves to show that the level of effectiveness varies from one cat to another.
Some cat experts also suggest that the products may be complemented with other anti-anxiety therapy methods as well as a special diet to address anxiety and stress among cats. They also recommend resolving the causes of stress by providing more resources such as extra litter boxes, water bowls, comfortable napping areas, and scratching posts, especially in a multi-cat household.
Does Feliway have side-effects?
No, since it’s formulated specifically for cats it is non-sedative and does not affect people and other animals. However, always make sure to keep vials and refills away from your felines as it may be harmful if it’s ingested and the spray version may be toxic if sprayed directly to your cat’s face or body.
Should Feliway be used forever?
If the aggressive behavior or signs of stress have been happening for a long time already, and if it involves multiple cats, then you may have to use the product for more or less 3 months and even longer. However, there have been some pet owners who intend to use it forever to maintain the calm and relaxed demeanor of their felines.
No matter how you try to keep your pet cats comfortable, well-fed, and happy there may come a time where they may tend to be anxious or stress. This could be due to certain changes in their routine or your household, the arrival of a new family member or another pet, or you may be moving to another home or place. Even habitual routines like a visit to the vet or a car ride can stress your felines.
Feliway products help reduce stress and diffuses aggression among multiple cats so long as it’s used properly and in a continuous manner. While there may not be a 100% guarantee that your cat’s behavior will improve quickly, it’s best to also complement it with veterinarian-approved methods to ensure positive changes.