Five different facial pheromones, which are discharged from the glands of the face, have been isolated1. They are as follows (a bit of chemistry for the chemist cat lover):
F1 — Oleic acid, caproic acid, trimethylamine, 5-aminovaleric acid, n-butyric acid and a-methovaleric acid.
F2 — Oleic acid, palmitic acid, propionic acid, p-hydroxyphenylacetic acid.
F3 — Oleic acid, azeliac acid, pimelic acid, palmitic acid
F4 — 5β-cholestan acid 3β-pl, oleic acid, pimelic acid, n-butyric acid, azeliac acid, p-hydroxyphenylacetic acid.
F5 — Palmitic acid, isobutyric acid, 5-aminovaleric acid, n-butyric acid, a-methylbutyric acid, trimethylamine,
Some notes on the above chemicals:
F2 pheromone deposited by tomcats rubbing against objects during courting a female in heat.
F3 pheromone for facial marking objects when marking territory while partolling a home range. Made in a laboratory and used in commercial products.
F4 a pheromone deposited when allorubbing (mutual scent exchange between cats – see also allogrooming). Could reduce aggressive behavior between the cats. Made in a laboratory and used in commercial products.
Oleic acid: a common monounsaturated fat in human diet. “Oleic acid is emitted by the decaying corpses of a number of insects, including bees” (Wikipedia).
Caprionic acid: a liquid fatty acid in animal fats/oils. Used in the manufacturer of flavorings and pharmaceuticals.
Trimethylamine: strong “fishy” odour in low concentrations and an ammonia-like odor at higher concentrations. “Fish-breath syndrome”?
5-aminovaleric acid: can be used in the manufacture of nylon 5. I presume this to be a form of nylon.
Palmitic acid: “the most common fatty acid found in animals” (Wikipedia). Mainly used to produce soaps and cosmetics.
Propionic acid: “a clear liquid with a pungent odor” (Wikipedia)…..”inhibits the growth of mold and some bacteria”.
Pimelic acid: “involved in the biosynthesis of the amino acid called lysine”.
5-aminovaleric acid: costs £24 for a 5, 25g bottle!
(1) Source: The Domestic Cat: The Biology of its Behavior
Photo by Stephen Jones