If your kitty suffers from anxiety, you're probably at your wits' end trying to ease her symptoms. Feliway reduces anxiety, spraying and other behaviors by calming your cat with pheromones. If you'd like a substitute for Feliway, numerous other products are available to calm your cat.
Feliway and other pheromone products work by mimicking natural cat pheromones—substances produced by an animal's body that provoke a response in other members of the same species. If you've ever seen your cat rubbing her face against an object, you've seen her dispersing pheromones. The idea is that when your kitty encounters these chemicals, she'll feel calmer and less aggressive. Pheromone products are used most often to stop spraying, aggression and stress associated with travel, boarding, grooming and vet visits. You can find alternatives to Feliway in spray, wipe, collar and diffuser forms. Each manufacturer claims its products produce the same results, although the synthetic pheromone used may be different. One popular collar, for example, uses a synthetic nursing pheromone, while Feliway uses a synthetic facial pheromone.
Acupuncture and herbal treatments are other alternatives to Feliway that many pet parents find beneficial. Warming some essential oils, such as lavender, can calm anxious kitties, and some vets recommend valerian for stressed-out or aggressive cats. Essential oils are also available in sprays and diffusers, similar to Feliway. If none of these options help, you can also try massage, a pressure vest or Zylkene, which is a supplement made from milk protein that has a calming influence on cats.
Behavioral therapy is a long-term solution that may benefit some anxious kitties, especially those with phobias, separation anxiety and compulsive behaviors. Behavior therapy involves lifestyle changes at home and classical conditioning work with a cat behaviorist. During classical conditioning, your cat will be presented with a feared or unpleasant stimulus, such as a dog or loud noise, while simultaneously being presented with a positive stimulus, such as massage. Over time, your kitty may begin to think positively of the feared stimulus. Behavior therapy is usually done in combination with herbal or prescription treatments.
If natural remedies are not enough to get your cat's symptoms and behavior under control, speak with your vet about trying Prozac, Buspar or Clomicalm. These medications are not approved by the FDA for use in cats, but they've been used with great success. Of course, prescription medications can cause sleepiness and personality changes in some cases, and should be used only when other options have failed.
Sandra Ketcham has nearly two decades of experience writing and editing for major websites and magazines. Her work appears in numerous web and print publications, including "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution," "The Tampa Bay Times," Visit Florida, "USA Today," AOL's Gadling and "Kraze Magazine."