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Cats sometimes leave urine marks on walls, new furniture, and other vertical surfaces. If an otherwise healthy cat is urine marking, it could be because they feel threatened.
Pet parents can spray pheromone markers in strategic areas around their home to help cats feel more secure.
Cat pheromone spray contains synthetic feline pheromone. Animals have pheromones — messenger chemicals — that are specific to their species. Feline pheromones are scent chemicals that give off messages that cats can interpret when they inhale them.
Cats use facial pheromones to tell other cats that objects or people are safe and familiar. They'll often rub their face on a person's leg, couch, or other surfaces in order to mark these areas with their scent. Cats can also mark their territory by scratching. By doing so, a cat releases pheromones from the interdigital glands on their feet.
Cat parents can use Feliway Calming Pheromone Spray to mimic natural scents that make cats feel less stressed. Feliway's key ingredients are:
Feline pheromone synthetic analogue. This is an analogue of the F3 facial pheromone, which is one of five secreted by glands in areas like a cat's chin.
Alcohol, a quick-drying medium. If spraying a cat's carrier to relax them before traveling to the veterinarian, Fuzzy members should let the alcohol evaporate before letting the cat inside.
Pharmaceutical excipients. These are diluting agents and include colorants and preservatives.
A diffuser can steadily release pheromones in the same area over 30 days, but sometimes pheromones need to be sprayed on an object for a short time. A spray can be used to quickly make a carrier, pet bed, or car more relaxing for a cat.
A spray can also be used on the following:
If a cat has already shown a tendency to mark specific spots, clean these areas with soap that has a mild fragrance and then spray them. Avoid using a strong ammonia cleaner since this will prompt cats to cover that scent with theirs again.
A pet parent might become concerned when a cat starts spraying urine on walls and other flat surfaces. If medical conditions such as kidney problems have been eliminated as possible sources of the problem, the most likely cause is stress.
Cats show signs of stress in different ways. They might chew on strange objects, scratch furniture, or spray urine on curtains.
Fuzzy parents can manage stress-related behaviors in several ways, including with medication and supplementation. Cat pheromone spray can be used as a safe outlet to reduce feline urine spraying and support a cat's long-term health.
Cats respond to pheromone markers left by these sprays because these chemicals signal safe places — areas where a cat can feel happy.
Does cat pheromone spray work? Clinical trials of products like Feliway and studies done with feline pheromones show that artificial pheromones can keep cats calm and cause a reduction in anxiety, even in unfamiliar environments.
Ohio State University researchers found that cats were more comfortable in a hospital setting when towels treated with synthetic cat pheromones were placed in their space. Cats who were exposed to the pheromone didn't display the hypervigilance that cats usually would in a strange setting.
Instead, they comfortably sat, groomed themselves, and exhibited other calm behaviors. The cats even rubbed their faces in different areas around their new space in response to the synthetic pheromones, stimulating the release of their own natural facial pheromones and further increasing their level of relaxation.
Some cats feel stressed when they're alone in the house. Fuzzy parents can use synthetic pheromones for cats who sulk, hide, or even try to get between them and the door.
Some may even insist on following their parent from room to room. Cats that excessively meow, scratch at the door, or display other signs of distress when their parents leave can be managed with the help of a spray or diffuser.
Pheromone studies have shown that using artificial pheromones helps to reduce conflict in mixed-species homes and in households with several cats. Cat claws leave deep, narrow puncture wounds that are difficult to treat. Cat parents are more likely to take action if an aggressive cat is causing injuries to other animals and people in the household.
The Feliway cat pheromone diffuser can help if a cat has been recently adopted and is displaying aggressive tendencies. A Cornell University study showed that over 27% of cats returned to shelters were displaying aggressive behaviors. Pet parents can help cats acclimate to their forever home by using synthetic pheromones.
Cats are often passive aggressive in their behavior. To avoid conflict, they'll hiss or spray urine to mark their territory. Cats also spray to:
Establish dominance or tell other cats to back off
React to changes in their home, like moving or renovations
Attract a mate
Cat parents can decrease urine spraying and fighting by:
Having safe areas like cardboard boxes or plant pots for each cat
Providing several private litter boxes
Drawing the curtains if spraying is triggered by indoor cats seeing cats outside
Pheromone diffusers can help with cat anxiety without the need for medication. Pheromone therapy reduces urine marking and other undesirable behaviors that start when cats feel threatened.
The synthetic pheromones in diffusers keep cats calm. However, they don't make them lethargic. Neutered cats will experience a reduction in urine spraying if pheromones are diffused throughout their environment.
Indoor cats reduce stress-induced behaviors like hissing and urine spraying if they detect feline pheromones in their home. Synthetic cat anxiety pheromones can be used along with other methods to make cats feel more comfortable and secure.
Fuzzy recommends that cat parents use a cat pheromone calming spray or 30-day diffuser to create a relaxing environment for their cat.