Pheromones for Cats - What Are They and Do They Work?

Posted by True Pheromones on 20th Oct 2022

Pheromones are chemicals that are secreted by animals to trigger a social response in other members of the same species. In the feline world, there are several types of pheromones that can be used to communicate different messages. For example, mother cats secrete nursing pheromones which help their kittens learn to identify her milk/nipple as a food source. These pheromones also help promote bonding between mother and offspring. There are also territory marker pheromones which help cats claim an area as their own. And finally, there are social pheromones which help reduce stress and promote positive social interactions between cats.

Pheromone products for cats (often called "feliway" products) mimic these natural feline pheromones and can be used to help address specific behavioral issues in our feline friends. But do they really work? Let's take a closer look.

How Pheromone Products Work (or at least, how they're supposed to work!)

Pheromone products come in a variety of formulations including sprays, diffusers, and collars. These products work by releasing small amounts of synthetic pheromones into the air which then interact with the cat's vomeronasal organ (located in the roof of their mouth). This organ is responsible for detecting pheromones and translating that message into a change in behavior or mood. In general, pheromone products are not intended to be used on an ongoing basis but rather as needed when a particular behavior issue arises or when there is a change in the cat's environment (a new baby in the house, a move to a new home, etc.).

So, Do Pheromone Products Work?

There is some controversy surrounding the effectiveness of commercial pheromone products but there is also some evidence to suggest that they may be helpful in certain situations. A 2008 study published in The Journal of Feline Medicine & Surgery found that 66% of cats showed improvement in symptoms after using a synthetic facial pheromone product for just 7 days while another study found that 70% of owners reported improvements in their cat's behavior after using a plug-in diffuser for 30 days. Obviously, these numbers are not conclusive but they do suggest that pheromone products may be worth trying if you have a cat with behavioral issues.

Pheromone products for cats are designed to mimic the natural feline pheromones that trigger various social responses. These products come in spray, diffuser, and collar formulations and can be used to address specific behavioral issues like stress or anxiety. While there is some controversy surrounding their effectiveness, pheromone products may be worth trying if you have a cat with behavioral issues. Speak with your veterinarian about whether or not pheromone therapy is right for your cat.