Do Pheromones Really Help Calm Cats?

Fill your cat's environment with calming scents.

Fill your cat's environment with calming scents.

You might like soft music, a nice massage or even aromatherapy in order to relax. Your feline companion is no different. Using smells that mimic your cat's natural calming scents can help her to find her happy place, if anxiety is the only thing that's getting her down.

The Power of Scent

You know when your kitty is happy. She not only purrs, she introduces her cheeks to table legs, your favorite couch and your laptop when you're trying to type. This cheek-rubbing marks the spot as safe for your cat. It also releases scents of good feeling that are positive and soothing. Pheromone sprays are designed to mimic these pleasant scents.

Pheromone Uses

Companies that make synthetic pheromone products say they prevent urine marking in cats. Reducing anxiety is the ultimate effect of pheromones. You might eat chocolate after a stressful day at work; your kitty might similarly benefit from the effect of pheromones when forced to travel in a carrier, to visit the vet or to meet a new feline roommate.

Effectiveness

Experts believe, and company-financed studies have shown, that pheromone products do reduce feline anxiety. Behavior such as scratching and urination that are rooted in anxiety can therefore decrease, particularly when combined with behavioral therapy. However, if your kitty's activities are not caused by anxiety, pheromones won't solve the problem. A medical issue that causes out-of-box urination won't be solved by happy scents coming out of a room diffuser.

Adverse Effects

If you're at a loss as to how to help your anxious kitty, pheromones probably won't hurt. There is no evidence of any negative effects on pets, either of the feline or canine variety. However, some cats don't appreciate the alcohol smell in synthetic pheromones, so keep kitty out of the room for about 10 minutes after spraying to give the alcohol smell a chance to dissipate.

 

About the Author

Catherine Lovering has written about business, tax, careers and pets since 2006. Lovering holds a B.A. (political science), LL.B. (law) and LL.L. (civil law).

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