Anxious, Destructive or Fighting Cats – Is Feliway the Answer?

Is It Time to Try Feliway?

When I moved with my little menagerie to an apartment facing the sea, the cats had quite an adjustment to make. Reina the dog was delighted. Our walks now take us along a wild coastal path where she can sniff and paddle in rock pools to her heart’s content. The cats, however, went from having their own garden to being housebound with only a tiny patio to sunbathe in.

Lili took it all in her stride, nothing fazes that old lady. But the two young males, Spike and Stewy, were very upset, and boy, did they make sure I knew it.

They prowled the apartment yowling for days on end. Walls are thin here and if I can hear the neighbors bathing their kids, I know for sure that they can hear my furbabies screaming to get out at all hours of the day and night. Not only were my boys very stressed and unhappy, but my new neighbors would soon be banging down my door if I could not get the cats to settle.

I was getting pretty stressed and unhappy myself. That’s when I remembered  Feliway and wondered if it might work.

Reasons to Use Feliway

Moving House
This is the main reason I first tried Feliway. With two of my three cats climbing the walls to get out and caterwauling constantly, I needed something to calm them down before my new neighbors got upset!

  • Peeing outside the litter box
    Peeing outside of the litter box can be a sign of a urinary tract problem. If the cat feels pain when peeing, then he starts to associate the pain with the litter box and will start to look for other places to relieve himself so peeing outside the box can be the first sign of a health problem. (You might also want to look at the latest health monitoring cat litter which changes color depending on the chemistry of your cat’s urine and can be a good indicator that it is time for a vet check.) If there is nothing physically wrong and the misplaced peeing continues, this can be something Feliway can be helpful with.
  • Hiding
    In new environments, you have to expect that your cats will hide. They will feel insecure in an unfamiliar area and seek to find a safe spot from which to survey their new surroundings. While Feliway can help with their anxiety, you can also support them by letting them be and allowing them to acclimatize in their own time. A cave or nest type cat bed can be very helpful. A spray of Feliway in and around the bed can be effective too.
  • Fighting and Squabbling
    During the adjustment period in my new home, Spike and Stewy went from rambunctious playmates to seething opponents. If Feliway could help with this, I was all for it.
  • Adopting a cat
    Cats that have been in a shelter for any time may have been through several traumatic experiences on their road to you. Even though your home is a peaceful paradise compared to the rescue where you found them they are likely to be stressed, neurotic and distrustful. The Feliway ambiance can help these distressed fur babies settle in faster.

How Does Feliway Work?

When cats do that cute cheek rubbing thing, they are transferring feline facial pheremones (FFP) on to objects (and people) to mark them as familiar and safe. These feel-good scents are produced in glands around the chin, cheeks and mouth. You will not find many better examples of a totally relaxed cat than the little lover in this video. She is plastering her pheremones all over her favorite kid.

Feliway mimics these feel-good pheremones to relax and comfort stressed-out cats. You can also help support your anxious cat by ensuring he has a ‘safe space’ and an environment enriched with cat-friendly distractions. 

Interactive cat toys can dispel a lot of the pent up energy and boredom that can lead to anxiety. This ball track toy is a good example. Sensory stimulation with matatabi sticks or catnip filled toys are good too. Having scratching posts or sisal wrapped cat trees available can limit the damage to your furniture too. 

Different Kinds of Feliway

Feliway Classic

This is the go-to Feliway diffuser, used in situations where you cat is under stress.

Unless there is an underlying medical reason for your cat not using the litter tray, this is the type of Feliway you would get for stress-related peeing in inappropriate places.

Also for settling the cat down during and after a house move. And for a cat that is showing general signs of stress like overgrooming, hiding and lack of appetite.

Feliway Classic can be used in conjunction with Feliway Feliscratch.

Feliway Multicat

If you have mutiple cats, two or more living together who are fighting, then this is the Feliway to get.

It is worth a try even if the cats have been fighting for a long time.

Feliway Feliscratch

Feliway Feliscratch does not stop scratching, it directs the behavior to a better place. For example, from your lovely sofa, to a scratching post. Of course, for this to work you need to have a good scratching post (or posts) around to redirect them too.

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