Feliway is a ground breaking behavioral aid that is routinely used for cats that are stressed, sick, or new to an environment. Feliway is also used in situations where you want to modify a cat’s behavior such as spraying, marking, or scratching. Feliway has a high rate of success for decreasing the stress level of cats and modifying their behavior. The other stress relieving product I routinely use is the calming collar by Sentry which you can read about by clicking here.
What Is Feliway?
Feliway is a solution that mimics the facial pheromones that all cats release when they rub their face up against an object which is pheromone F3 to be exact. Rubbing up against an item is the cat’s way of saying that the item belongs to them and is their own method of making the environment secure feeling.
This is the reason that I prefer for a house to have the same amount of scratching posts or cat towers as they do cats. Cats thrive from having a state of familiarity and a solid routine as it decreases the incidence of stress based behavior and illnesses such as upper respiratory infection.
Cats mark items with their pheromones so that they can feel safe and secure where they are at as already mentioned. The purpose of Feliway is to replicate the same pheromones that cats mark with so you can make almost any environment feel safe and secure for them.
Applying Feliway to the Environment
There are multiple ways that you can apply Feliway. The way you determine how to use this product will depend on the cat’s situation and behavior that he happens to be displaying. For shelter cats you would apply this product twice daily to the cover or towel that is assigned to their cage to soothe them. I prefer to also spray a cage down thoroughly with Feliway prior to a new cat being placed into that cage. Cats that are very scared could have this product applied three times daily.
Feliway is available in both a spray and diffuser type application. The diffuser would spray the solution out at set intervals throughout the day by attaching it to an outlet. The spray type application is more versatile because you can choose where to apply it if there is one or two specific spots you need to apply it at which is cheaper than the diffuser long term.
Situations To Use Feliway
There are many behavioral problems and situations that can benefit from the use of Feliway diffusers or spray like applications. Some of the common behavior problems and how to use Feliway to help the problem are listed below in no specific order.
You can reduce the incidence of inappropriate urination or territorial spraying by cleaning up any areas that the cat has marked with an enzymatic cleaner like Nature’s Miracle first. Avoid using a cleaner that contains ammonia or bleach in it. You would place the diffuser in any room that the cat is marking for at least 8 weeks if your cat is urinating in several different spots.
You may start by applying the spray directly to the area where he is marking and other areas that are adjacent to it if it is limited to just one or two spots like your bed. Cats may urinate on the bed for several reasons such as trying to intermingle their scent with yours to feel secure or because the bed is high up, secure, and soft. This is often seen with separation anxiety which is covered partly here. Declawed cats have been known to use a bed for their litterbox because it is soft on their paws which might be painful.
Urinating on a bed is the best situation for using the spray version since it is often a small location to use it in and will prove most effective. Spraying too big of a spot can prove counterproductive. Simply spray the bed where your cat has been spraying several times per day for at least 8 weeks. You can use a black light trace the spots he is marking. Read more tips about fixing litter box aversion.
Households with Multiple Cats
You can reduce stress in households that have more than one cat by placing the diffuser in each room that the cat exhibits signs of stress or discomfort in until all cats get along. It is recommended that you leave the diffuser in for at least four weeks to five weeks. You want to make sure each cat has their own litter box, food and water bowl, and area to sleep. Read more about cat introductions here.
Helping A Cat Adjust to a New Place
Feliway can help adjust a cat to a new house or living quarters. Simply spray this solution onto the places that you think he will visit most up to three times daily. A diffuser is strongly recommended for when you have moved into a new house for the first few months if he is shy or slow to adjust.
Transporting A Cat
You can apply Feliway into a pet carrier or into their kennel 15 minutes before you introduce any new cat into it which is a great strategy for shelters to implement. You can spray one to two times on the floor, ceiling, and walls. You may choose to reapply daily or twice daily depending on how stressed out the cat is.
Spray the Feliway solution to each inappropriate area that the cat has scratched about one to two times each day. This works because your cat will scratch any item that does not smell like him to deposit pheromones. The idea is that you make the couch smell like him so he will look for another suitable place to scratch such as a post.
Apply this product until your cat starts using the appropriate location to scratch. Make sure you provide an alternative scratching unit if he is scratching any furniture and use toys to help build positive associations with the post. Additional deterrents like double sided sticky tape can be utilized I like to play with a wand toy around and on the post so he will scratch the post during play time. Keep in mind that some cats prefer a vertical post while other cats prefer a horizontal post. Read my article on how to train your cat to a scratching post.