Using Cat Pheromones to Combat Behavioral Disorders - A Good Idea?
Behavioral disorders linked to cat pheromones, created by various human disturbances, are more and more recurrent. This type of disorder requires that we take appropriate measures to act effectively when the cat suffers too much.
Synthesized pheromones acting as replacement pheromones can be used to fight against behavioral disorders, to correct or rebalance an often complicated climate for cats. But be careful, pheromonotherapy, the use of synthetic pheromones, must be used after having fully understood how the cat reacts and works when faced with these products.
Let's see together what is meant by cat pheromones, in which cases to use replacement pheromones for cats like Feliway and especially how to use them well so that your companion is doing the best.
Cat pheromone or synthetic pheromone: Definition and Principle
Synthetic pheromones like those you can find at the Feliway brand are not substances produced naturally by cats, they are synthetic compounds selected and manufactured in the laboratory.
Most often, they have been selected and designed especially for their soothing effect on a large number of cats, not all cats perceive them in the same way. Some will perceive the calming effect, others will ignore it completely and others will consider that there is another cat in their territory. The cat in any case does not perceive these pheromones as its own.
We find this type of product manufactured in the laboratory in the form of spray or diffuser to treat an entire apartment or house. In Feliway products, taking only him as an example, we find the following synthetic pheromones used:
- The F3 fraction is synthesized in the Feliway Classic product and therefore used as if to send a positive sign to the cat.
- The CAP used in Feliway Friends is a soothing pheromone, produced by the mother when the kittens are born and to help them feel secure.
- The FIS used in Feliscratch which is used to mark the areas where the cat is scratching.
To understand exactly the role of these pheromones and if they are really effective, go to the end of the article.
Note: The scientific community and that of veterinarians do not today provide any consensus on the total effectiveness of all these synthetic molecules used in this type of product.
Situations in which replacement pheromones for cats can be used
Synthetic pheromones for cats that are receptive and in whom this does not cause additional trouble can be very useful. To soothe the cat in certain situations, including cohabitation between cats, treat stress problems, reduce urine marking outside the litter box and make it easier for the cat to move around.
To facilitate the cohabitation between cats
The cat is of solitary nature, thus, the arrival of another cat in the same environment as another can sometimes be problematic when this one has not been well prepared. When you have several felines at home, you can expect wars and quarrels between them, some exchanges of claws are normal in dominance relationships. But when it gets out of hand every day, you have to act.
Replacement pheromones can be a solution to facilitate cohabitation between cats. These pheromones, commonly called the appeasement phenomenon, are synthesized to create a kind of emotional bond between different individuals and relax their relationships.
But be careful in this specific case, stay vigilant during the first uses of a diffuser, Feliway for example, with your pets. These artificial pheromones are not produced by both cats. Therefore, the two animals may also consider it to be a third cat that they cannot see. Here the expected effect will not occur and at worst will make the situation worse. It will then be necessary to find the real cause of the problem, to treat the source and not the consequences.
To calm an anxious or stressed cat
In general, cats are very sensitive to movements and smells around them, which can often stress them, disturb them, make them a little nervous or agitated. To solve this problem, synthetic pheromones mimic the soothing pheromones naturally released by a cat when it is happy, confident, calm and in a state of immediate well-being.
Thanks to these pheromones, it may be possible to calm and relax your cat when traveling or when the environment changes dramatically. It suffices to spray the substance with a spray on his toys, his bed or his travel basket, so that the cat leaves behind any form of stress or nervousness.
To reduce urine markings
No one would love to come home and smell cat urine. Most often this happens in cats that have not been neutered and therefore tend to want to leave their urine mark all over the house (sofa, carpet, etc.) to delimit their territory.
The cat likes to have control over his environment and his personal space. If he feels that he is losing control over his territory, that his smell is disappearing, he will want to urinate and therefore emit certain pheromones to correct this.
To reduce or even permanently remove urine markings, it can be helpful to spray synthetic pheromones on areas where your cat likes to stay. So every time he passes he will inhale the smell of the substance, which will give him that sense of security and comfort and reduce his urges to mark your house with his urine.
This type of product is not necessarily miraculous and even after using the pheromones, the cat may want to continue to constantly mark your house with its urine. It will then be necessary to find the real cause of the problem, to treat the source and not the consequences.
During transport or movement
As mentioned above, cats are very attached to the environment and the environment around them. When called upon to move, relocate or travel, they can be stressed or even aggressive. When you have a cat at home and intend to travel long distances, it is necessary and even essential to prepare this trip for your cat.
Soothing pheromones can be of great use in this case in addition to other techniques to be given priority. Just spray your cat's travel basket with this substance to make it feel safe, less nervous and stressed.
Are synthetic pheromones like Feliway a danger to your cat?
Feliway is composed of synthetic pheromones that would allow your cat to improve his comfort during a state of stress or nervousness and other behavioral disorders that are not the result of a health problem or a deeper behavioral disorder. .
Feliway is usually used with a spray spray or an electric diffuser plugged into an outlet in a room.
The synthetic substances manufactured by Feliway are to our knowledge without risk for the health of your cat, no risk of poisoning if used correctly, no risk of allergy or other form of reaction.
Three nuances must be made for the sake of your cat!
- Synthetic pheromones like the ones you find in these bottles are not your cat's. Your cat may therefore consider them as foreign and on the contrary increase the effects of his behavioral problems, stress, frustration etc.
- Using an electric pheromone diffuser simply cannot have any effect on your cat, not all cats are receptive to these molecules.
- By using cat pheromones you are only treating the consequences of your cat's problem, you are in no way solving the cause of the problem. If this type of product works for your cat and you stop using it, the troubles will return to your cat's misfortune.
To react well in the event of a problem with Feliway and company
If you observe that your cat is not receptive to the product of Feliway or other brand, you must stop its use.
From the start of using this type of product, you must carefully observe your cat, kitten or cats. Is he more agitated than usual? Does he appear very calm, as if he looks drugged? Is he hiding? etc.
If abnormal behavior occurs, you must stop the distribution of the product, clean the objects sprayed with the spray and especially look for the real causes of your cat's disorder.
How to use Feliway- Feliway friends and other diffusers or spray?
As the most famous brand of products says, Feliway's natural pheromones soothe the cat and many shops are placing themselves on the marketing of this product like Medpets mentioned above. Feliway has a very wide range of products.
The range of Feliway therefore consists of products adapted to 3 situations, stress in general, conflicts between cats and scratching problems on the walls etc. :
- Feliway Classic in diffuser and Feliway Classic in spray
- Feliway Friends in diffuser
- Feliscratch in pipette
Feliway Friends and Feliway Classic electric diffusers should be plugged in a room where your cat spends most of his time (one diffuser covers an area of approximately 70 m²) and this for a period of at least one month (a refill of the diffuser is made to last one month).
Feliway Spray and Feliscratch in pipette must be used on the areas of passage of your animal (corners of furniture, corners of doors, carpets, sofas, etc.) and towards litter boxes. It must be systematically sprayed in the areas of marking, scratching and on the places or objects that the cat is next to. You should spray the spray about three times a week, in several locations so as not to create a single source of emission of these pheromones on the objects.
Cat's natural pheromones: Presentation and Functioning
In a simple and pictorial way, cat pheromones are natural chemical substances giving off a certain well-defined odor, for humans they have no odor, we do not perceive them.
They allow the animal to interact with its environment and to create or provoke specific behaviors in a congener (animal of the same species).
Pheromones are secreted by:
- The jugal and perioral glands, which are found around the lips, chin, just above the eyes and cheeks.
- The ear glands located towards the external auditory canal which is very rich in sebaceous glands and apocrine sweat glands.
- Anal glands, located in the anogenital region.
- The podal glands, which are located at the level of the legs between the pads.
The cat deposits the pheromones by its glands by rubbing its head on the objects to be marked, by scratching with its paws or by small jets of urine.
Cats are sensitive to pheromones thanks to their vomeronasal organ or Jacobson organ located at the back of the nose. The animal only needs a tiny amount of chemical particles to react.
There are about 40 different molecules in the secretions of the cat's glands, thirteen of which are present in all breeds of cats. There are 6 types of fractions that cats use to communicate with associated behavioral effects. They are called F1, F2, F3, F4, F5, however, we only know the roles of F2, F3 and F4.
- F2 pheromones: these are the pheromones emitted during periods of heat, therefore emitted during sexual arousals, cats are very receptive to them just as much as non-castrated males.
- F3 pheromones: these pheromones act like a real card for the cat, they place them to mark their passage, to warn other cats about their emotional state, a real mine of information between two cats. The emission of the F3 fraction is also a revealer of the cat's emotions since in a stressful situation, facial marking will tend to disappear in favor of urine marking.
- F4 pheromones: these are pheromones that greatly regulate the cat's state of aggression. It is a familiarization pheromone, this pheromone is deposited on cats recognized as friends.
Points on pheromones commonly called CAP and FIS
These two odor derivatives or pheromones as we can very vulgarly name them are not really.
- The CAP that we find displayed on the Feliway Friends is not a soothing pheromone, in the scientific articles that we have consulted there are no soothing pheromones, it will actually approach the F2 fraction on large lines but it is not.
- FIS, which can be found displayed on Feliway's Feliscratch, is related to a compound that could be present in the F3 fraction.
It is very important to note that these substances developed by CEVA Santé Animale, which produces Feliway and its variants, are very poorly known and have not been studied by scientific organizations independent of CEVA Santé Animale.