Feliway (Cats Only)
By Dr. Karen Burgess
Brand name and formulations
- Feliway, Comfort Zone
- Spray and electric diffuser (plug in device)
What is Feliway used for?
Feliway is used to help alleviate stress or tension and the resulting bad behavior that cats may experience in an environment. Changes in the household, situations of inappropriate elimination, scratch marking, and addition of new pets or people are all acceptable uses for Feliway. Many cat owners use Feliway to improve their cats overall attitude in particular with a multi-cat households. An 86% success rate has been reported with the use of Feliway.
What is Feliway?
Cats produce a natural facial pheromone (chemical that relays a message, similar to a scent) that they use to mark their territory, in particular when they feel safe, calm, or “friendly”. Feliway is a species specific synthetic version of this scent thereby only affecting cats. By mimicking the cat’s natural scent it creates a sense of security or familiarity in what otherwise may be a novel, stressful, or uncomfortable situation. As a side note, Feliway was developed by rubbing cotton balls on cat cheeks, thus no cats were harmed in the process.
How is Feliway spray used?
Clean any soiled areas in the case of inappropriate elimination with an appropriate pet stain eliminator avoiding overly strong smelling products (i.e. bleach, ammonia). Test the Feliway spray on surfaces to ensure they will not be damaged. Then spray affected areas daily for thirty days; do not stop even if improvement in behavior is seen. Allow cats back into an environment fifteen minutes after application. If trying to prevent damage to new furniture or items, apply daily to items for two weeks. Application can also be discontinued if the cat is seen rubbing their head against the item. If multiple cats are in the environment duration and frequency of application may need to be increased. Never apply Feliway spray directly to a cat.
How is Feliway diffuser used?
The Feliway diffuser uses electrically produced warmth to dispense pheromone into an environment approximately 750 square feet in size. Plug the diffuser into an outlet that is not obstructed vertically thus allowing appropriate circulation and avoiding damage to items such as furniture. Use the diffuser in rooms being soiled or most commonly used by family cats. Improvement in behavior may be noted quickly or take several weeks. Use for a minimum of four weeks and keep plugged in twenty four hours daily. The diffuser vial should be replaced when empty or at six weeks even if a small amount of liquid remains (normal for device even when “empty”). The spray formulation should never be placed in the diffuser as it is alcohol based vs. the oil based diffuser formulation. Replace the diffuser apparatus after 6 refills.
What other concerns may there be with Feliway?
Use of the diffuser in households with birds is discouraged.
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