This is my personal guide to using Feliway Classic, to be read in conjunction with the instructions that come with the product. Not to be confused with the new product Feliway Friends. I hope to add a page on this soon.
Feliway is a synthetic copy of part of the facial scent left by cats when they rub their head against objects. Feliway placed in a cat’s home environment provides emotional support to the cat, helping them feel safe and secure and to regulate their stress.
Feliway on its own is excellent for mild problems and in some particular situations. With severe aggression or anxiety cases, if Feliway is just plugged in with no other changes, it results in mixed messages – conflict and calm – that make the cats confused and anxious.. Long standing problems and severe aggression problems a behaviour plan must be put in place alongside Feliway.
You may therefore need advice from a behaviourist or vet in certain instances. For example if your cat is peeing outside the litter tray, this might due to territory marking, a problem with the litter tray, or possibly cystitis. Feliway really helps when cats have been spraying in the home, but litter tray management is more appropriate if your cat has a problem using the litter tray. Other changes in the home alongside the use of Feliway may be necessary if your cat is suffering from cystitis.
Your cat cannot overdose on Feliway, it is not sedative and it can be used alongside any other medications your cat may be having.
Feliway diffusers are plug in devices which warm up the mineral oil base which is carrying the pheromone. The scent is diffused into the air. Diffusers should be plugged in and left alone. If they are turned on and off, there will not be an adequate concentration of Feliway in the air. You will be wasting the contents.
It takes 24 hours for the pheromone to be diffused at maximum power so if you are putting one in for a specific occasion like Fireworks Day, plug in at least a day before. One diffuser covers 50 – 70sq metres and needs a refill monthly. The device itself, needs renewing every six months.
The Feliway Diffuser should be placed in an area the cat spends most of their time, and where the cat can feel safe (often where they sleep). The diffuser should not be placed where there is already lots of anxiety and conflict, for example, not under a window where a neighbouring cat stares in. This will just confuse your cat.
When Feliway is being used for spraying, the diffuser should be plugged in the room, or rooms, where the cat is spraying. Putting a diffuser in the hallway in the hope it will get into all the rooms of the house will not work. You want it focussed on the cats’ main living area.
Feliway Diffusers help prevent spraying but they are best used as an adjunct to the Feliway Spray if your cat is spraying. Use the spray as well as the Feliway Diffuser for the first month, then try with the diffuser alone.
If your cat sprays on electrical equipment like toasters or electric kettles, this is probably because these items smell as they heat up or cool down. The same smell may come off a diffuser as it heats up. So, in this case and this case only, don’t plug in the Feliway where you want it initially. Plug it in for 24 hours elsewhere in, for instance, a room where the cat cannot find it. Once it has heated up, then transfer it to the place you want it.
This needs using once a day on the spray or marking sites. Do not let the cat near the spray area for the first 15 minutes. The spray contains alcohol and most cats do not like the smell of the alcohol. This means that occasionally a cat will spray on the site directly after Feliway has been sprayed there. After 15 minutes the alcohol has evaporated and the cat can be let back into the area.
Before spraying Feliway…. First clean the area the cat has urinated on with biological washing liquid (see cleaning instructions). Feliway won’t work if you spray it on directly after the biological washing liquid. Rinse this off. Dry then scrub with surgical spirit. Once this is dry, use the spray on this area. You can try using a hair dryer to speed things up. Or if you are desperate, cover the area with clingfilm for the first 24 hours and spray Feliway on that, rather than on the newly cleaned surface. It is essential to clean each sprayed site.
This needs doing for a whole month. Yes, four weeks once a day! Placing a small paper sticker at the cleaned sites will help you remember where they are.
The Feliway spray is also very handy for helping with transporting your cat. Along with other tips to aid your cat’s acceptance of the cat basket (eg leaving the basket out in the house for a few days before needing to travel) the spray can be used inside the basket. Spray the corners top and bottom and then wait 15 minutes before placing your cat in the basket.
In the case of cat to cat aggression, particularly severe aggression, Feliway should be used alongside behavioural advice. Often a behaviourist will advise placing a Feliway diffuser in each cat’s safe core territory alongside their other resources. This helps each cat feel safe and secure in their core area, lowering their anxiety levels. The behaviourist will then add a behavioural plan to help the cats live together without conflict.
There is now a new product, Feliway Friends, which may be better for this problem.
These notes are my copyright. I am also usually happy to have the exact words reproduced on websites, in return for a link, my name, and if permission is asked beforehand. I like to check the websites where it might be used. Email me via this website for permission which will usually be given. Organisations wishing to use them in print should contact me via this website. Copyright © 2007 Celia Haddon. All Rights Reserved.
All normal safety precautions should be taken when dealing with animals. The advice in this section should be taken only at the owner’s own risk. All sick animals should be seen by a vet.
General advice of the kind found in this website is no substitute for an individual consultation with a vet or qualified behaviourist working on a vet’s referral.