Is Feliway Effective for Modifying Cat's Behavior?

A pheromone-based spray for naughty and anxious kitties

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Cats are great companions, but they're also stubborn and some of their behaviors can be troublesome to your household. If you're trying to break your feline friends of bad habits like marking, fighting, or scratching, a product like Feliway may be able to help.

A pheromone spray, Feliway is often used to calm restless cats and correct unwanted behavior. It's easy to use and is species specific, so you don't have to worry about it affecting dogs or humans.

The real question, though, is does it really work?

What Is Feliway?

Feliway is a product that contains the synthetic version of the naturally occurring facial pheromones of cats. A pheromone is a chemical marking agent excreted by cats to mark their territory and can serve as an attractant to the opposite sex. They're what your cat is spreading whenever she rubs her cheek on you, the wall, or whatever object she's claiming at the moment.

Feliway has many touted uses, including but not limited to, reducing or eliminating the following behaviors:

  • Urine Marking
  • Aggression
  • Facial marking
  • Stress reduction at the veterinarian, groomer, kennel, or while traveling
  • Scratching on vertical surfaces

There is also a Feliway MultiCat diffuser. This one is designed to help relieve tension between cats who can't seem to get along.

Dogs have a similar product called Adaptil (formerly DAP, Dog Appeasing Pheromone), which can be used along with training to deter certain behaviors or calm dogs down.

How Is Feliway Used?

Feliway comes in two forms: pump spray and plug-in room diffuser. Neither form is to be used on the cat directly! Instead, they release the pheromone into your home's air, affecting the cat's behavior.

The diffuser is simple. Just plug it into a wall outlet and it lasts approximately 30 days, providing coverage for 500 to 650 square feet.

It will not cover multiple rooms and is only effective in the open area it's placed in.

The diffuser is useful for overall cat behavior in the house and the company touts it as offering comfort to cats. It's useful in situations where a cat may be shy, hiding, or showing stress by over grooming. It can also be used to ease the transition to a new home or when redecorating.

The spray is to be used on surfaces that the cat is marking. If, for instance, your cat is "territorial" about clean laundry, you can spray a towel with Feliway and lay it on the clothes. You can also apply it to his favorite spraying spots around the house. It's useful for trips to the vet or when boarding as well.

The spray can be used to deter scratching on the furniture. However, Feliway has released FeliScratch to target that exact problem.

Does Feliway Actually Work?

This is the all-important question. Some people love this product, while others claim that it doesn't work at all. Of course, we have to take into consideration that every cat has a different personality. The problem may not be the spray, it simply may not be attractive to a particular cat.

Here's what a couple readers had to say:

"I purchased and tried Feliway many years ago... must have been when it first came out here in California. I found that it didn't work at all. I have a multi-cat household and it just didn't work. The most it did was put me off a bit as it does have an odor and if you're sensitive to odors or have allergies to scents, this isn't a good product to be using." - J.Z.

"I've used Feliway and DAP. They are both wonderful. When I run out I see a difference in the cats and dogs. I'm a veterinarian." - D.S.

As you can see, the reviews are mixed, though you might want to consider giving it a try. However, keep in mind that many cat behavioral problems also have connections to medical conditions. If your cat is acting different, be sure to get a vet checkup scheduled so you can rule out health issues.