When cats feel safe and happy they rub their faces against the furniture, walls and other objects. They are depositing a scent known as a pheromone that makes them feel at home and relaxed.
Researchers have developed a cat facial pheromone look-a-like for stressed cats that capitalises on this calming effect. It is available as a spray or in a diffuser known as Feliway.
A couple of squirts of Feliway spray in the carrier before a visit to the vet or a trip in the car helps relax a tense puss. Many boarding catteries spray their accommodation to help the cats settle in and start eating more quickly. If you take your cat with you on holidays then Feliway spray around the holiday cottage will relax him.
We leave a Feliway diffuser on in the cat ward at the surgery to calm nervous patients.
Feliway diffusers are also great for chronically stressed cats. These cats use other marking behaviours that are less acceptable to their owners. Urine marking, aggression toward other cats or people, house soiling and cystitis are signs of stress.
Feliway diffusers left on continuously in cats’ favoured areas help restore their balance and create a feeling of well-being. Together with modifications of the environment and sometimes medications we can lower stress levels and minimise unsociable habits.