There is one, perhaps only one, dry cat food designed to calm down the cat who eats it. It is Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Feline Calm. The interesting aspect of this cat food is that it has 127 reviews on the manufacturer’s website nearly all of which are five-star and the overall rating is five stars. Are they genuine? We have to be sceptical about reviews these days. Here’s an example of one of the comments:
Highly recommended: I had my four cats on this for months due to behavioural issues after I had a dental and fighting issue. This is a wonderful food that really, over time, helped calm all four of my cats down..
And another said:
My cat was licking himself bold in areas due to stress. This calmed him so much that his hair grew back quickly. He is happy now!
And from a veterinary website:
Zylkene is excellent and works really well for my very nervous ex stray cat. Zaylene has helped to calm him. – Carrie Holden
Zylkène – effectiveness
The food contains a naturally occurring chemical that is a tranquilliser. The ingredient is called “casein milk protein hydrolase and L-tryptophan”. A forum tells us that the chemical which does the calming of cats is called Zylkène. This is a “natural product derived from casein, the protein in milk”. So this is the secret ingredient: Zylkène. It can also be given to dogs for the same purpose. You can also buy it in pill form and on the internet. The Zylkène website discusses through a quiz the circumstances which might cause your cat to be stressed.
A study: Effect of alpha-casozepine (Zylkene) on anxiety in cats, published on March-April 2007 (really quite a long time ago) on the Science Direct website concluded that “This 56-day trial against placebo showed the statistically positive effect of this product in the management of anxious disorders such as social phobias cats. Global score, as well as different items (fear of strangers, contact with the ministers, general fears, fear-related aggressions, autonomic disorders), were all significantly improved by the use of this natural decapeptide.”
This is a very conclusive conclusion to a study conducted some time ago. And the good thing about it is that it is a naturally occurring substance.
A lot of cat owners know by now what these circumstances are, such as: going to a boarding cattery and living in the cattery for a while, visiting a veterinary clinic, introducing another cat to the home and being alone for long days (separation anxiety). The signs of a stressed cat might include: pupils dilated often, over-grooming, peeing inappropriately due to cystitis, hiding too much or retreating too often to high places.
The author of the website indicates that an indoor cat might be more susceptible to becoming stressed than an indoor/outdoor cat. This may be true but it depends on the home and the cat caretaker. If it is true, it will be because being confined curtails natural behaviour which in turn can cause stress. If there are other cats in the household their personal space (home range) is also limited which can generate stress depending on the individual cat once again.
Propensity to slight anxiety
I’m wondering whether anybody has tried it. I’ve never had cause to try it but I’m inclined to buy a bag of it (just bought one) as it can’t do any harm and it might make my cat feel more content. It is arguable that almost all domestic cats should eat some of this food, some of the time, on a presumption that they probably feel stressed some of the time. I think it is a fair argument to state that domestic cats can be a bit hyper from time-to-time. Perhaps it is their super senses which predisposes them to a little bit of anxiety. If that assessment is true then this product may be helpful.
I’m writing this as you can see on the 4th November which is around the time when there’s lots of fireworks going off. This is a classic circumstance under which this cat food might serve its purpose. The food is described as ‘complete and balanced’ and therefore no supplements are needed.
Update: I tried it. Although I can’t be sure, I think it zonked him out. He seemed to slow down. It was odd. I’d recommend cat owners to at least try it as a simple alternative to the usual calming tricks such as music (not effective?). Further update: it works. No question. In fact, he was too calm for me?
P.S. it comes in chews as well. I guess these are treats. Good idea.
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