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Feliway® Use in Cats - Test Subject Report!

Pheromone-based behavior modification

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I recently decided to give Feliway® diffuser and spray a try with my own cats. Feliway is a pheromone-based diffuser to aid in behavior modification. (For more information about this product, please see the Veterinary Q & A - Feliway® article.)

I have 3 cats. Please meet the cats to learn about them, their history, and the "problem behavior" for each one. Here is a quick review of their photo bios. In order to not be repetitive here, this article will be written assuming that the viewer is familiar with the cats and what I am observing during the Feliway® test observation.

I have used the Feliway® diffuser for about a month now, in the main area that the two primary cats, Herman and Greta, sleep, eat, and use the litter box. They have their own cat room, and the diffuser was placed in this area. I also used the spray as needed, which I will describe in a bit.

General observations
Both Herman and Greta appeared more relaxed, although admittedly this can be hard to tell with Herman, since he is a pretty laid back cat most of the time! The main thing I noticed early on is that Greta has had much less hairball output. This is a good thing. It appears that she is even getting some hair regrowth in the inguinal area.

No cat altercations happened during this observation time, but contact was limited. I don't think that there is enough "feel good" feelings to prevent a tousle, should Herman have time to stalk Katie. Good news is that there wasn't any retaliatory urine marking by Herman during this time (that I could find!).

Products Utilized
The diffuser has been plugged in since the start of this observation period. One diffuser will "treat" 500-650 square feet, so to cover the entire house and basement, I would need a few more. I chose the area that is most frequented by Herman and Greta, the indoor-only cats.

I used the spray on old towels -- to lay them across clean laundry and deter any urine marking. Katie likes to lay on the laundry (not really a great thing, but she is so irresistible), and had I noted a couple of instances in the past where Herman marked the laundry "territory" later. No marking noted during the observation time.

I also used the spray on a small door mat that is outside of the laundry room door. When Katie is in the house, I have her in the utility room to keep her from the other cats. Herman will plant himself outside the door and sulk. I used the spray on the mat, and Herman would sniff a little bit (there is an alcohol smell that quickly dissipates) and finally lose interest in the door. Previously, he would just stay there and lay in wait.

Conclusion
Feliway® is not a magic bullet that will change behaviors instantly. Behavior modification in general (by any method) takes a great deal of consistency and excellent observational skill to affect a change. That said, I am pleased enough with this initial (albeit a bit loose) observation that I will continue to use it.

Where can you get Feliway®?
Check with your veterinarian first to rule out any medical problems that can cause behavior changes/problems! This should always be a first step. Bladder infections, back pain, kidney problems, diabetes, or other undiagnosed problems can lead to changes in urinary habits and even general "personality" and demeanor. So always rule out medical problems first.

Talk to your veterinarian about Feliway® -- they may have their own experiences to share that may affect your decision. They know your pet and can help you make an informed decision. Your veterinarian may carry Feliway® or can order it for you, if it is something you want to try. You can also purchase online from several vendors, I have found the Drs. Foster & Smith site to be informative, and they also carry Feliway®.

Post-Article Update
One day after I wrote this article, I found a small urine marking (still moist) in the basement. A carpeted area, by a storage bag. Argh! But when I checked out the diffuser (also in the basement), it had run dry, having run for about a month now. Owner compliance and diligence is important for success - keep an eye on the diffusers and use the spray as an add-on when needed.

See Also:
Veterinary Q & A - Feliway®
Feliway® article- Meet the Test Subjects
Feliway® - Viewer's Opinions

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