This is a brief explanation why manufactured, artificial cat pheromones are meant to calm down anxious cats, for whatever reason. The major reason why people buy products like Feliway® is to make cats get along better in households where there is more than one cat. The age old problem of introducing a new cat to a home. Will he get along? Or will there be aggression? The latter can happen quite easily because we don’t make sure cats get along before we put them together. When it does not work out we try cat pheromone therapy as a more natural alternative to prozac. By the way, if any cat owner gives their cat prozac because he is aggressive towards another cat in the home, (s)he is mad in my opinion. Side effects in cats of prozac.
There are different types of cat pheromones, which are molecules carrying a scent from glands, typically in the cat’s cheeks, which transmit a signal to the receiving cat. The form of communication from a pheromone can be comprehensive and complicated. For example in humans women can detect whether a man will produce strong offspring if she mates with him through his pheromones! Apparently human pheromones carry information about immune system compatibility in terms of best effect. It is all about survival of the species and a woman’s desire that her children carry on the family line.
Correct me if I am wrong but the two pheromones that are used to calm cats are:
- Nursing pheromone
- Territorial marker pheromone
The first is meant – I say “meant” because I am not sure they are that successful – to calm an adult cat by sending him a signal in a pheromone that tells him that he is a kitten and in the presence of his mother. Mother’s give out the nursing pheromone to offspring to reassure them. The nursing pheromone in the home should reassure and calm cats who are aggressive towards each other. That is the theory.
The second pheromone is meant to calm a cat by sending him a signal that he is in his own territory and is therefore secure. That sense of security should calm him. The problem is he is confronted with a cat he does not like! There may be conflicting emotions as a result. I have no idea. I don’t think, to be honest, if the manufacturers fully know how it works either.
It seems a bit hit and miss because it is unnatural. It is trying to force calmness upon a cat who has good reason to feel agitated. Can this work? Also are artificial pheromones effective? I thought that pheromones where totally unique to each individual cat. If I am correct how can a generic, artificial pheromone work in the same way?
Possible causes of agitation: