If your purring pet is more scaredy cat than ferocious feline or if your cat’s separation anxiety is at an all-time high, she may benefit from pheromones. It’s not uncommon for cats to experience anxiety, especially when there are changes to their daily routine. While anxiety is not unusual, it can lead to cat behavior issues like excessive meowing and inappropriate scratching; it can be challenging to know exactly how to calm a cat and stop this kind of behavior. If your cat keeps meowing for no reason, or you witness changes in their behavior, calming pheromones can help by easing stress.
Stress affects cats both physically and mentally. It can exacerbate existing physical conditions, and cause behavioral problems. A stressed cat will act out, but there are ways to keep help cats feel calmer even when introducing cats to your home. You can’t always eliminate stressors, but you can reduce anxiety with pheromone sprays or diffusers.
Common Cat Stressors & Symptoms
Cat anxiety can stem from external causes like visits to the veterinarian, new family members, moving to a new home, travel or a change in their daily routine. Cat separation anxiety is one common cause of cat stress. A symptom of cat separation anxiety includes wanting to be at your side at all times, and following you from room to room. Other signs include sulking, hiding, or putting herself between you and the door when you attempt to leave. A cat meowing a lot is another sign of cat anxiety. Cat anxiety symptoms can include inappropriate urination, defecation, chewing or scratching, or vomiting, lack of appetite and excessive grooming.
How to Calm a Cat with Pheromones
Pheromones communicate things like territory and dominance to other cats, but can also calm stressed cats. “Pheromones are a scent hormone that is emitted from the mother cat that has comforting qualities,” says DVM and veterinarian to the stars, Dr. Jeff Werber. “Pheromones bring cats back to the sensation they experienced when they were with their mother,” says Dr. Werber.
Feliway Multicat Diffuser contains ingredients that replicate a cat’s natural, calming pheromones and help manage negative behavior caused by stress, such as scratching and urine marking. This diffuser can also decrease the frequency and intensity of tension between cats in multi-cat homes.
“Pheromones come in handy in any situation where there’s stress or anxiety. Fear or aggression can also be relieved through the use of pheromones,” says Dr. Werber. “The calming effect takes away fear, aggression or anxiety, so pheromones can be used anytime a cat is having a behavioral challenge or acting out.”
In a 2001 clinical trial, scientists studied the effects of Feliway pheromones for feline urine marking. The clinical trial found that Feliway pheromone treatment had a 77% success rate in addressing feline urine marking.
“At our practice, when we have a cat that’s fearful, we’ll sometimes spray ourselves, towels or table with pheromones to offer relief,” says Dr. Werber. “Around 80-90% of cats will have some response to pheromones,” according to Dr. Werber.
How to Calm a Cat by Administering Cat Pheromones
In addition to pheromone diffusers, pheromone sprays can help pet parents with a stressed cat. “The most common ways to administer pheromones are through a spray or diffuser, which provide a constant calming effect,” says Dr. Werber. Feliway Cat Spray can “spot treat” problem areas where your cat has urine marked or scratched. The pheromone spray can be used on bedding and in carriers to help calm cats where they rest.
“Psychotropic drugs and natural products can be used to reestablish a more stable emotional state and improve trainability in animals that are anxious, fearful or overly reactive,” says Dr. Gary Landsberg, DVM and Director of Veterinary Affairs and Product Development at Cancog Technologies. “A variety of natural products have been used to treat anxiety. A product that has published studies indicating potential therapeutic effects to calm and reduce underlying fear and anxiety in cats is the feline cheek gland pheromone product, Feliway,” says Dr. Landsberg.
You may need multiple diffusers in your home—try one diffuser in the living room and one in the bedroom. Diffusers are refillable, so you can keep the pheromones going. One bottle of the Feliway Cat Diffuser lasts approximately 4 weeks.
Multi-Cat Pheromone vs. Single Pheromone
The calming facial pheromone is beneficial for situations where a cat is urine marking or destructively scratching in a home. That kind of negative behavior is caused by stress, and is a very common problem. Facial pheromones create a safe and familiar territory for cats, and calms them in the process. The multi-cat pheromone, based on the mother cat’s lactations, is best for multiple-cat homes where cats are exhibiting tension and conflict.
Cats meowing or acting out could be a sign of stressed cats. Since common stressors can include any changes to your cat’s daily routine, eliminating stressors may not be possible.These cat supplies can help address anxiety in your cuddly kitty. Get your cat back, and keep her calm with relaxing pheromones.
Michelle McKinley is dedicated to creating informative pieces that help pet parents train, care for and love their cuddly companions. She operates a digital ad agency providing content to enterprise and small businesses. As a writer for Chewy, Michelle delights in sharing tips and techniques that strengthen the relationship between owner and pet. She works with experienced veterinarians, knowledgeable pet behaviorists and pet brands to bring the best in pet to readers.