A Feliway Diffuser – Is It The Answer To Your Cat's Unwanted Behavior?
You will have noticed your cat rubbing the side of her face against the legs of chairs, on furniture, on door frames, etc.
Maybe she rubs her cheeks against you when you pick her up to give her a cuddle.
When she does this she leaves a trace of a chemical substance called a pheromone.
This particular pheromone signifies a state of security and calmness.
It's presence tells a cat that she has nothing to be anxious about.
Commercial chemists have been able to produce a synthetic copy of this feline facial pheromone, it is marketed as Feliway.
Available in both a spray and a plug-in diffuser, this synthetic pheromone is said to help calm stressed cats and help end unwanted behavior.
Sadly a Feliway diffuser does not work instant miracles. Generally it has to be used for one to two months, or maybe even a little longer to have an influence on a cat's behavior.
There have been a few reports of success in as little as a week, but these are rare. In these cases, it could be that the cat was only mildly stressed.
Sometimes it's use is a permanent thing, the diffuser works and the cat is calmer, but as soon as the diffuser is taken away, the cat reverts back to it's undesirable behavior. This is because the root cause of the problem has not been solved.
Is it guaranteed to work? Unfortunately not. For one thing not all cats respond to the pheromone, most do - but it seems there is a small minority of cats, around 15%, that it has no effect upon, nothing, zilch.
Is there any difference in the Feliway in the spray and the Feliway in the diffuser?
The Feliway in the diffuser is held in oil. The Feliway in the spray is held in ethyl alcohol. The pheromone in both is exactly the same. So, no there is no important difference.
There is a difference though in the way they are used. You use the spray directly on surfaces that your cat has peed or sprayed on. It's a quick hit.
The Feliway diffuser works in the background. Use one in each of the areas of your home where you have a problem.
The pheromone in both the spray and diffuser is harmless. However as the spray also contains alcohol you should never spray it on your cat. Take care when using it that it never gets in the eyes of any pet or human.
If you are going to use the spray on wood, fabric, leather etc. test a small out of sight area first.
Avoid plugging the Feliway diffuser in an outlet that is under furniture or under a shelf. A vapor from the oil that holds the pheromone will rise when the plug-in heats up, anything above the plug-in will prevent the pheromone from circulating properly.
You may also want to avoid using outlets next to doors that might restrict the circulation if left open.
If your cat is peeing somewhere other than her litter box a Feliway diffuser may help. But . . . you really owe it to yourself and your cat, to try and find and eliminate the cause.
If your cat has been happily using her litter box for years and suddenly starts peeing outside of it, there will be a reason for it.
Could it be a medical reason? Ask you vet to check everything is alright.
Is something causing your Cat Stress? You've rearranged the furniture, redecorated, a strange cat is claiming your garden as her territory, or a family member left home.
There are a thousand and one things that can stress out a cat and therefore cause her to go outside the box. Often it is something that may seem quite trivial to a human.
If you can possibly correct whatever it is that is upsetting your cat, you may not need to use the diffuser.
Of course some changes you can do nothing about, if someone has left home they could not be expected to return because your cat is upset. But if you have moved the sofa from one side of the room to the other, you may want to find out if moving it back ends your Cat's Behavior Problems.
Have you relocated her litter box? Has the litter box got old? With time plastic starts to absorb odor, your cat will not use a smelly box. Have you started to use a different brand of litter?
Has your cat suddenly started exhibiting aggressive behavior?
Once again, the reason could be a medical one or because of an injury. Not all injuries are obvious and a cat in pain may become hostile towards you, other family members or your other pets.
Aggression from a Cat may be yet another manifestation of stress.
If your cat is aggressive towards you, perhaps biting or scratching you, it may not be you that is causing the stress.
Something else, such as seeing a neighboring cat outside the window, may make your cat anxious, but she can't get to that cat so the aggression is turned against you. This is known as misdirected aggression.
In a multi-cat home a hierarchy will have been established between the cats. If something happens to upset this pecking order, perhaps the alpha cat is challenged, then you could see plenty of aggression from one, or more, of the cats.
A Feliway diffuser could certainly help with aggressive cats or Fighting Cats. In all probability you will need enough diffusers to cover the areas of your home that your cats use.
A Cat Spraying (urine marking) is a very different thing to a cat peeing outside of the litter box.
”I'm behaving nicely because I'm not stressed. Could that be because of the Feliway diffuser?
Spraying is one of the methods cats use to mark out their territory.
An unaltered male cat is the most likely to spray, but neutered males can do it too.
Female cats in season will sometimes spray to attract Tomcats.
Humans are not usually upset that much by cats spraying outdoors. Indoor spraying is a different matter – because the sprayed urine stinks.
The cat will turn his back to a vertical surface. His paws will probably be treading the ground and his tail will be up and quivering. He will then spray a stream of concentrated urine to mark the vertical surface.
This urine marking tells other cats the territory is his, it's a strong message to keep away.
One reason a cat could be spraying inside the home is, and here comes that word again - - stress.
Use the diffuser to release the pheromones around your home. Use the spray on the areas that you cat has sprayed upon. But before you do that they will need to be thoroughly cleaned to remove all traces of urine.
Don't use ordinary household cleaners – see this page for tips Cat Urine Odor.
If your cat normally uses her Scratching Post, but for some reason has started acting out of character and is scratching somewhere she shouldn't be scratching, you will have to try and detect the reason. (If your cat does not have a scratching post, she should have, particularly if she is an indoor cat.
It's sort of compulsory, unless you like your furnishings all scratched up.)
There are reasons that cats scratch. Firstly, doing so helps to remove the old outer husks from their nails, the new nice and sharp nails will then show through.
Secondly, scratching is good exercise.
Thirdly, cats have scent glands in their paws and scratching helps them to mark their territory, much in the same way spraying does.
If kitty has a post and has been trained to use it, then it is likely that she is scratching for the third reason.
Why is it suddenly so important for her to mark her territory?
By now this must be starting to sound familiar. She is scratch marking because something is making her anxious.
If you can find and eliminate the cause of her anxiety . . .
In the meantime, use the Feliway Comfort Zone diffuser in the background and use the spray on the areas that she is scratching.
As you have read, very often when a cat 'ain't behaving' it's a stress symptom. However, have your vet check that the behavior isn't being caused by a medical reason.
If you suspect the problem is indeed stress then a Feliway diffuser, used as per the products instructions, will likely help.
Interactive Toys For Cats.
All cats need mental stimulation, exercise and plain old fun! Use interactive cat toys and brighten up your cat's day with a fun and active playtime.