Does Feliway Actually Help When Adding a New Cat? We Investigate

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What is Feliway?

Feliway is a synthetic pheromone product designed to help relieve anxiety, stress and other behavior issues in cats. Pheromones are chemicals that animals release to communicate information to others of the same species. For example, when a mother cat is nursing kittens, she releases pheromones that signal comfort and contentment to her kittens.

Feliway mimics these natural feline facial pheromones. The synthetic pheromones in Feliway products are designed to have the same effect – to signal comfort and contentment to cats who are exposed to it. Feliway products come in various forms like sprays, wipes, diffusers and collars. When used as directed, Feliway can help reduce stress and anxious behaviors in cats.

According to the Indoor Pet Initiative at Ohio State University, “Feliway spray is a feline facial pheromone analogue. That means that it is a man-made version of the substance your cat deposits when she rubs her cheek on you, furniture or doorways.”

How Feliway Works

Feliway contains synthetic pheromones that mimic the natural feline facial pheromones. Cats have glandular areas around their face that release pheromones when rubbed or scratched. These pheromones provide information to other cats and help promote familiarity and security[1].

The synthetic pheromones in Feliway are designed to replicate this facial pheromone. When dispersed in the environment, it sends the same comforting signal to cats that the areas is safe and familiar. This helps create a calming effect and reduces anxiety or stress[2].

Feliway has been shown to significantly decrease stress-related behaviors in cats like urine marking, scratching, hiding, and aggression. By mimicking the natural facial pheromones, it activates areas in the cat’s brain linked to positive emotions and security.

Feliway is available as sprays, wipes, and diffusers that continuously release the synthetic pheromones. Using Feliway helps reassure cats and promote calmness during events that cause anxiety like introducing a new cat, moves, or loud noises.



Benefits of Using Feliway

Feliway mimics natural feline facial pheromones and helps provide comfort and security for cats. Using Feliway can provide several benefits for your cat:

Reduces stress and anxiety – Feliway contains analogs of cat facial pheromones that help provide a sense of familiarity and comfort. Feliway can help reduce anxiety during stressful events like introducing a new cat, moving homes, or visits to the vet.

Prevents urine marking – Stress and anxiety can cause cats to urine mark or spray in the home. By reducing stress, Feliway helps prevent this unwanted behavior. Studies show a 50-70% reduction in urine marking when using Feliway.

Helps with acclimation – Using Feliway when introducing a new cat can help facilitate positive associations and reduce tension. The pheromones provide reassurance and help both cats adjust.

Using Feliway When Introducing a New Cat

Feliway products can be very helpful when introducing a new cat into your home. Feliway contains synthetic pheromones that mimic the pheromones cats naturally produce to mark their territory. Using Feliway helps create a calming environment that can reduce stress and tension when introducing new cats.

It’s recommended to use both the Feliway spray and the Feliway diffuser when bringing home a new cat. The spray can be applied directly to areas where the cats will initially interact, like doorways or furniture. This helps create a calming zone for those important first meetings. According to Feliway, the spray provides “an immediate effect” while introductions are taking place.

The Feliway diffuser should be used to establish a safe zone for the new cat. Plug in the diffuser in the room where the new cat will be kept during the initial integration period. The constant release of calming pheromones from the diffuser creates a relaxed environment for the new cat and can help reduce signs of stress. Leaving the diffuser plugged in for a month or more after the introduction can help maintain a peaceful atmosphere.

So in summary, use both the spray and diffuser together when introducing a new cat. The spray helps with initial meetings, while the diffuser establishes a safe zone for the newcomer. Feliway can help facilitate a calm and peaceful integration when bringing home a new furry friend.


Tips for Introducing a New Cat

When introducing a new cat to your home, it’s important to take things slowly and carefully to allow both cats time to get accustomed to each other. Here are some tips for a successful introduction:

Go slow with the introduction. At first, keep the cats separated in different rooms with a closed door between them. This allows them to get used to each other’s smells and sounds without a face-to-face interaction. Over several days, gradually give them access to more spaces in the home, but keep escape routes available.

Use separate litter boxes, food bowls, etc. to avoid territorial disputes. Provide multiple resources so the cats don’t have to share right away.

Swap scents between the cats by rubbing a towel on one cat and placing it in the other cat’s space. This helps them get familiar with each other’s smells.

Reward positive interactions like calm behavior or playful sniffing by giving treats. This reinforces good behavior during meetings.

Never punish aggressive behavior. If there is hissing or swatting, calmly separate the cats before it escalates. Pushing interaction too fast can be counterproductive.

Be patient and consistent. It can take weeks or months for cats to fully accept a new housemate. But by gradually introducing them, you can pave the way for them to peacefully co-exist.[1]

Signs of Stress in Cats

Cats exhibit both behavioral and physical signs when they are stressed. Here are some of the most common signs of stress in cats:

Hiding – Stressed cats often hide more than usual. They may hide under beds, in closets, or in other small enclosed spaces. Hiding is an instinctual way for cats to feel safe.

Aggression – A stressed cat may act out with aggression like hissing, growling, swatting, or biting. This usually happens when the cat feels threatened by a person, animal, or situation.

Urine Marking – An anxious cat may spray urine on walls, furniture, or other vertical surfaces. This urine marking is a way for the cat to spread its scent and mark territory.

Lack of Grooming – Cats are fastidious groomers by nature. When stressed, a cat may groom itself excessively or not groom at all. Lack of grooming can lead to matted fur, skin issues, and other problems.

Appetite Changes – Some stressed cats lose their appetite and stop eating as much. Others stress eat, developing an insatiable appetite and begging for food.

Other signs of feline stress include vomiting, diarrhea, excessive vocalizing, panting, drooling, restlessness, sleep issues, and more. Cat parents should watch for any unusual behaviors that indicate their cat is anxious or unhappy.

Other Tips for Reducing Stress

There are several other tactics you can try to help create a calmer, more relaxing environment for your cat:

  • Provide hiding spots – Cats feel more secure when they have access to hiding places like cardboard boxes, cat tunnels, and enclosed cat beds. This gives them a quiet retreat space.
  • Use cat pheromones – Synthetic pheromones like Feliway can help reduce anxiety and stress in cats. The pheromones mimic natural facial pheromones and create a sense of familiarity and security.
  • Add enrichments – Keep your cat engaged and entertained with toys, scratching posts, cat trees, food puzzles, and other enrichments. A mentally stimulated cat is less likely to be stressed.
  • Maintain routine – Cats thrive on predictability. Try to keep feeding times, play times, and other routines consistent as much as possible.
  • Give affection – Make sure to give your cat plenty of love and quality time. Petting, brushing, and playing help relieve tension.

Avoid overwhelming your cat all at once. Introduce these stress-busting tactics gradually so as not to inadvertently cause additional stress. With time and patience, your cat will likely grow more comfortable and relaxed in their environment.

When to Consult a Vet

Introducing a new cat to your home can be stressful for all cats involved. It’s normal for cats to exhibit some anxious or aggressive behaviors at first as they get used to each other. However, if excessive stress and anxiety persists beyond the initial introduction period, it may be time to consult your veterinarian.

Signs that your cat’s stress levels are not improving over time include ongoing aggressive behaviors like hissing, swatting, arching the back, and puffing up fur when seeing the new cat. Prolonged hiding, loss of appetite, and elimination outside the litter box can also indicate your cat is not adjusting well. Excessive grooming and hair loss from overgrooming are other signs of prolonged anxiety.

Your vet can assess your cat’s stress levels and may prescribe anti-anxiety medication or synthetic feline pheromones like Feliway to help your cat feel more comfortable. They can also rule out any underlying medical conditions that may be contributing to your cat’s struggles.

With patience and gradual introduction techniques, most cats can learn to accept a new feline housemate over time. But if you’ve tried these methods for several weeks or months without improvement, don’t hesitate to consult your veterinarian for additional support.


Cats Can Take Weeks or Months to Accept Each Other

When introducing a new cat to your home, it’s important to have realistic expectations for how long the adjustment period will take. Cats are very territorial by nature, and it can take a long time for them to accept a new feline housemate.

According to PAWS, most cats take 8-12 months to fully develop a friendship with a new cat. It’s not unusual for weeks or even months to go by with the cats merely co-existing in the same home without signs of aggression, but not necessarily bonding or becoming friends.

The Humane Society of Huron Valley notes that “The initial process should take at least two weeks” before the cats have contact without a door separating them. This gives them time to become comfortable with each other’s smells and presence before meeting face-to-face.

So be prepared for a gradual introduction process that could take weeks or months. Have patience and don’t try to rush bonding. Let the cats determine the timeline as they overcome their natural wariness and slowly learn to accept each other in their shared territory.

Be Patient and Consistent When Introducing Cats

When introducing cats to each other, it’s important to be patient and let the cats set the pace. Rushing the introduction or forcing interactions can cause more stress and tension between the cats. Go slowly, follow the steps for introduction consistently, and don’t push the cats to interact more than they are comfortable with.

It’s not uncommon for cat introductions to take several weeks or even a few months before the cats are fully comfortable with each other. Every cat is different, so base the timeline on the cats themselves, not an arbitrary schedule. Watch their body language and behaviors to gauge their comfort levels.

Be consistent with the techniques for introduction like scent swapping, feeding on opposite sides of a door, and supervised interactions. Consistency will help the cats slowly get used to each other’s presence in a controlled, positive way. Don’t skip steps or repeatedly introduce the cats before they are ready as this can be counterproductive.

With time, patience, and consistency, the cats are likely to overcome initial apprehensions and tensions. But let them progress at their own pace and don’t force interactions too quickly. Cat introductions require an investment of time and effort for success. The payoff of having cats that coexist peacefully is well worth it.

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