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How Feliway Can Help With Your Cat's Anxiety

Cats are not naturally suited to our modern lifestyles, and there are many situations and events which can be potentially stressful. Cats are naturally territorial animals and will only feel relaxed and bond with their owner and other pets if they feel their environment is secure. To help them feel more secure, cats mark out their territory using a variety of visual and olfactory (scent) signals which are normal behaviour for cats and necessary for their well-being. Pheromone markers can be released from various glands on a cat – for example the face, between the pads on the paws, and the rump area, as well as the more commonly known and irritating urine marking. When a cat rubs her face on your legs, she is marking you as part of her comfort zone! Feliway utilises this natural phenomenon to help make cats feel more comfortable during times of anxiety

Possible causes of anxiety in cats

Moving house can be particularly stressful for cats. Moving old furniture, re-decorating or buying new furniture all interfere with or move the marks left by the cat. Changes in the people living in the household can also be a potential source of stress for your cat, as can visiting friends, a new baby or a new pet.

Cohabitation with other cats can be highly stressful for a cat, increasing the potential for medical and behavioural problem. If several cats live in one household, they have to share their territory with other cats which is unnatural behaviour for them. Sharing their territory means losing control of resources, which is a fundamental need for cats. If the food bowls are in the same location one may be uncomfortable approaching the feeding area which can affect the food intake and lead to under or over eating. During the elimination process, cats need privacy. Most will not feel comfortable enough to use a litter tray in a room other cats can enter at any time. Being forced to do so may cause the cat to become stressed and cause it to avoid using the tray as often as he needs to. Over time this can cause potential medical problems.

Hospitalization can cause severe stress to a cat as they are required to stay in a cage and are unable to hide, constantly handled by strangers and surrounded by unfamiliar animals. If the cat feels unwell and in pain they will also feel more distressed. This can continue when the cat returns home as his reassuring marks are likely to have disappeared from the household and replaced by the marks of other cats (in a multi cat household).

What is Feliway?

Feliway is a synthetic copy of the feline facial pheromone, used by cats to mark their territory as safe and secure. It is a natural solution to fear related problems in cats caused by changes in their environment. Feliway helps to prevent or stop behavioural problems such as urine marking, scratching or problems associated with transportation by providing  a feeling of security in an unfamiliar environment (a new house, cattery) or challenging situation (hospitalization cage, cat basket or car)

Feliway reproduces the familiarisation properties normally produced by the cat when she leaves her own facial pheromone in her environment. With Feliway, undesirable fear related behaviours and marking problems can be resolved naturally.

How it works

Feliway works by mimicking the cat’s natural facial pheromones; it creates a state of familiarity and security in the cat's local environment. As a result, Feliway can be used to help comfort and reassure cats, while they cope with a challenging situation and/or help prevent or reduce the stress caused to a cat during a change in their environment.

How it is used?

Urine marking - Use water, surgical alcohol or an odourless solution to treat the soiled area (as cats are sensitive to strong smells such as bleach). Plug the Feliway Diffuser into the room where the marking has taken place, Leave the diffuser switched on continuously for at least 4 weeks. Stop site treatment when the cat marks the area with his or her own facial pheromone (is seen to rub the site with his or her head).

Vertical scratching - Spray Feliway Spray to the scratched area once a day, apply for at least a month and stop when the cat marks the site with his own facial pheromones. It is also important to provide an alternative scratching post nearby to discourage scratching of walls and furniture.

Multi-cat households - plug the Feliway diffuser in the room where the cats display signs of distress or discomfort. Leave the diffuser plugged in continuously for at least four weeks. Replace the refill as required. Make sure that each cat has its own place to sleep, eat and go to the toilet in peace, as well as a safe hiding place. The correct formula for resources (litter trays, food and water bowls etc) in a multi-cat household is one per cat, plus one extra.

Disruption to environment/Moving house - Plug the diffuser into the room in which the cat displays signs of distress or discomfort and leave it plugged in continuously for four weeks or until the problem subsides. Replace refill as required.

During a stay in a cattery or transportation - Apply Feliway Spray directly into the transport box or pen (cattery) 15 minutes or so prior to introducing the cat. Re-apply before each journey or daily during the cats' stay in the cattery.

Fireworks - Keep your cat inside, close windows and block cat flaps.  Plug the Feliway diffuser in the room where the cat sleeps and leave it plugged in continuously for 4 weeks.