Feliway explained: How Feliway can help stressed cats
Your guide to Feliway, the famous chill-out gadget for cats
Does your cat get stressed? Perhaps Feliway could offer a solution. As much as we love having cats as pets, they aren’t always well equipped to live alongside humans. Even with the best intentions, cats can end up being quite stressed about sharing their living space with us. We may not know why our cat is showing signs of stress, but it’s good to pick up on the warning signs – as well as knowing what you can do to help. You’ve probably heard of Feliway as a way to help calm cats – we’ll explain everything you need to know about it.
Cats have many needs but, most of all, they like routine. However, the nature of modern life means things can often be unpredictable and even the slightest change in their lives can throw them out of kilter.
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Changes to your home – which, of course, is your cat’s home, too – can be highly stressful. Things such as moving furniture around or redecorating, having visitors over, or a new human, feline or canine addition to the family can cause confusion. Even a change in your working hours or going on holiday can stress your cat out. You might not even notice any change, but small things such as bringing home a strange new scent on your clothes can affect your furry friend.
This stress can manifest itself in certain behaviours – for instance, a stressed cat could start urinating outside the litter box, scratching furniture or walls, hiding, over-grooming, have changes in their appetite, or even start fighting. How extreme this behaviour is, of course, depends on the individual cat.
It happens because cats are territorial by nature – they like to own the environment they’re in, even if they don’t contribute to the mortgage. They want to feel as though they can go wherever they want and do whatever they please.
Cats don’t like to share their environment – they like the space and autonomy to go about their routine. Even a closed door or window can make a cat feel trapped.
Having a stressed cat obviously isn’t ideal. It could cause you to become stressed and worried, which in turn, your cat will pick up on. You need to find a way to make your cat feel safe without being able to communicate with them. This is where Feliway comes in. You may have heard of the brand before – but what is Feliway, exactly?
Feliway promises to reassure cats that they’re safe and secure in their environment, and help them cope with the conflicts that arise from being a pet in these modern times. Even if they’re down to their last treat, there’s no need to stress – there will always be more.
It does this by mimicking pheromones, a cocktail of chemicals that animals use to communicate with the world around them. These chemicals are released from special glands around their bodies, which send different messages to other cats. Many of these glands are concentrated around their face, as well as their paw pads.
Cats release these pheromones to mark their territory, to learn about other cats, to communicate, to self-soothe and signal happiness or stress. Feliway uses a synthetic copy of these natural pheromones to send calming messages to cats.
“If someone is worried about their cat, they should first rule out health issues,” says Feliway’s senior product manager, Abbie King. “Some stress signs can be caused by pain, so we always suggest this is looked at.
“The only time we would recommend not using Feliway is if a cat has suffered from any severe airway issues (such as asthma), as this is treated the same as any plug-in home diffuser.”
King says that Feliway can be used to prevent stress in cats when you know something disruptive is going to happen, such as bringing a new baby home or to settle a new cat in their surroundings.
One of the reasons Feliway is trusted is that it’s been available for 20 years, with continuing refinement based on improved research. It offers a range of products that come vet recommended, including the Feliway Friends, Feliway Classic diffusers and Feliway Classic spray.
Feliway Friends diffuser
This diffuser sends signals to your cat to indicate that their feline housemate is their friend. Simply plug the diffuser into an electrical socket to reduce conflict between cats, or to help get two new cat housemates to mesh.
Feliway Classic diffuser
This formula offers comfort for cats at home and helps prevent signs of stress. Simply plug it into an electrical socket and leave on continuously, replacing every six months. You can also turn it on in times of need, such as when you have visitors, or around fireworks season, for example.
Feliway Classic spray
Feliway Classic spray helps calm and reduce stress in cats when visiting the vets or traveling to stay in a new place, while also providing additional support at home. Simply apply the spray every four to five hours to areas the cat is visiting.
How do you use Feliway?
To use the diffuser, plug it into an electrical socket nearest to where your cat spends most of its time, avoiding any drafts, such as near a window or door. Keep it on 24/7 if you want a constant effect and replace the bottle when it runs out – it’s easy to find replacement packs online. Replace the plug after five refills or six months of use.
Each diffuser refill covers an area up to 70m2, so if your cat’s indoor environment covers a much larger space, you may need more than one.
The Feliway spray can help with 'on-the-go' stress relief, the company says, such as when traveling or going to the vet. You can spray in your cat's carrier prior to journeys. You can also spray in doorways, cat flaps and windowsills. Just make sure to never spray directly onto your cat or their scratching post.
If you’re unsure, or have never ventured into the world of cat pheromones before, then there’s some good news. Feliway promises a money-back guarantee if you don't notice any difference in your cat.
If you have any concerns, it wouldn’t hurt to check in with your vet before using the product. “Feliway doesn’t need a prescription, but we would always recommend involving your vet if you are not sure,” King says. “If someone wants to try it first, that’s not a problem, but we always recommend seeking veterinary or behavioral advice if things do not improve.”
If you want to try Feliway for yourself, you'll find the best prices right now below.
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Jessica is a freelance features journalist. When she isn't writing, she's chasing after strangers' dogs in the park.