Does Feliway work?

Yes, Feliway works. Feliway is a well known synthetic cheek-pheromone spray which it is claimed has proved effective in double-blind studies. It is used to treat problems rooted in anxiety in domestic cats such as urine marking in multi-cat homes and to calm cats when transported in a carrier to a veterinary clinic or when staying at a cattery while the owner is on holiday.

Graph showing decrease in feline aggression with use of Feliway diffuser compared to placebo
Graph showing decrease in feline aggression with use of Feliway diffuser compared to placebo. The scientists used a special way of measuring aggression: OFSIS–Aggression scores.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

I’ll get straight to the point. There is a very comprehensive study on the Internet published on the website SAGE Journals which you can read by clicking on this link if you would like to. The conclusion that the researchers come to is as follows:

In this study, treatment with a proprietary cat-appeasing pheromone [Feliway Friends] diffuser for four weeks showed a beneficial effect in the management of feline aggression in multi-cat households.

In the abstract of the study the researchers said that Feliway Friends “is a promising treatment for the management of aggression between housemate cats in multi-cat households”.

Feliway Friends
Feliway Friends. Photo in public domain.

I think that is a fairly conclusive answer to the question in the title. In short, it does work. I have to mention a website which achieves a prominent position in Google search results (at the time of this post) and is therefore read by people researching an answer to the question, “Does Feliway work?” That site is catsandsquirrels.com. The author refers to the study that I have referred to. His conclusion is, “There was no effect of Feliway on any recorded measure in the study”. I’m not clear what he means by that but it looks negative to me. The author goes on to quote many other studies to which he concludes that Feliway may work. He is ambivalent about whether it works or not.

In addition to the commercial success of Feliway which must have some bearing on the efficacy of the product, I think we have to rely on the extensive study referred to. It is also referred to by Dr Bruce Fogle in his book Complete Cat Care. It is a double-blind study endorsed by Dr Fogle DVM.

Another study

I concluded that Feliway Friends and other commercially produced pheromones can have a beneficial effect in respect of the interactions of dogs with cats in the home. It can reduce undesirable actions according to the researchers Dr Prior and Prof Mills of the University of Lincoln published their study in the journal Frontiers in Veterinary Medicine.

Alternative and additional products

Dr Fogle also writes about a range of anxiety-reducing products such as anti-anxiety drugs namely amitriptyline, fluoxetine, clomipramine which may be prescribed by a veterinarian. Sedation can also be effected by anti-histamines. Catnip is a mint-family plant containing nepetalactone, a chemical which triggers a euphoric response in some cats which in turn helps to reduce stress. There are some rare reports of catnip triggering aggression. It can be applied to scratching post. Finally, there are alternative therapies such as homeopathic remedies and flower essences such as Rescue Remedy that can be used for cats. I would not dismiss homeopathic treatments as useless. I find that they work to cure mange in foxes. I have used it with success.

Note: I am not paid to promote Feliway. This is an objective assessment.

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