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The pet care market is bristling with cat calming products – swathes of plug-ins, infusers, collars, even medications, claim to have the power to shield pets from anxiety and improve their behavior.
For owners seeking a safe and effective way to help keep their feline friends relaxed, a cat calming spray could be a great solution. These sprays have been around since 2001, and promise to reduce your pet’s anxiety – and the negative behaviors it triggers – by imitating soothing cat pheromones. Behaviors such as scratching, urine spraying, constant mewling, and aggression, could potentially be reduced with a just few spritzes.
Many vets and owners swear by calming sprays, but, like people, each cat is unique, so what works well for one might do very little for another. With this in mind, remember that a pet calming spray is not a panacea when your cat is exhibiting anxiety-related behaviors. A spray could, nonetheless, go a long way towards helping your friend cope with the stresses of life. Below we list our top picks, to help you choose the right spray for your cat.
Feliway is perhaps the best-known purveyor of cat calming sprays, and for good reason! Its value for money, popularity with customers, and striking effectiveness, have earned it the top spot on our list.
The Feliway for cats spray contains a synthetic cat pheromone, which, when detected by your pet, encourages them to relax, and signals that their environment is safe. It can be sprayed on fabrics, your own hands, and other objects your cat will interact with. The same formula is also available in collars, wipes, and infusers, which can be topped up with a Feliway refill.
Comfort Zone does what is says on the bottle – the formula aims to create a comfortable and soothing environment for your cat. The product can reduce urine-making by up to 95%, and destructive scratching by up to 93%, using similar pheromone technology to Feliway.
The spray can be used all over the house – but should not be sprayed on cats themselves! Customers found that Comfort Zone worked particularly fast, and was easy to use.
Can be used on floors and doors as well as fabrics
SENTRY’s ‘Stop That!’ spray is slightly different to other products on this list – it combines a spritz of calming cat pheromones with a short, attention grabbing noise, which will distract your cat from whatever they are doing!
The product is designed to be used whenever your cat exhibits undesirable behavior, such as scratching furniture, or spraying urine in the house. When used consistently, your cat will begin to associate these behaviors with the unpleasant sound. The simultaneous release of a pheromone mist will further distract your pet, as well as calming them down.
Attention-grabbing sound combined with a calming pheromone spray
Useful for discouraging undesirable behaviors
Can result in long-lasting behavioral change when used consistently
This cat calming spray comes in a smaller bottle than other brands, but this doesn’t prevent it from packing quite a punch! The Cool Kitty formula combines naturally simulated cat pheromones with a blend of soothing herbs, making it a unique take on the cat pheromone spray.
Unlike some other products, this spray does not use alcohol as a solvent, and its herbal approach can make it a particularly good option if you or your cat has sensitive skin.
Combines natural pheromone simulators and herbal extracts
Nature’s Miracle Just for Cats Calming Spray contains a combination of herbal extracts and essential oils that will calm your cat without sedating them. The special formula is long-lasting and designed to reduce anxiety, promote relaxation, and reduce hyperactivity. It is ideal for cats that find traveling difficult or who find entering a cat carrier stressful. The spray can be used on a range of surfaces including cat carriers and your furry feline’s bed. It is not designed to be used directly on your cat and should be kept away from open wounds and sensitive areas such as their eyes. The formula is safe to use around children and other pets.
Reduces hyperactivity and promotes relaxation
Designed for use on surfaces not directly on your cat
For those of you pursuing (or should we say “purrrr-suing”) an organic lifestyle, SynergyLabs have you covered. Pet Calm is a unique calming solution which does not use simulated pheromones to work, but rather a patented herbal mix that’s totally natural.
SynergyLans recommend using this product an hour or so before a potentially stressful event, such as a fireworks display, the arrival of a new person, or moving to a new home. The product is most suitable for helping pets to handle foreseen stressful events, and may not be the best option for longer-term behavioral issues.
Suitable for both cats and dogs
Relies on a soothing herbal blend to calm animals rather than pheromones
If you are looking for a drug-free solution to your cat’s anxiety, then the Feliway Classic Diffuser for Cats could be just what you are looking for. The vet recommended solution is clinically proved to reduce spraying and scratching and can work in as little as seven days. It is ideal for cats who are having difficulty adapting to their surroundings or who are finding their environment a challenge. The diffuser contains an odorless copy of the facial pheromone that helps cats feel more comfortable. The diffuser lasts for up to 30 days, has a range of up to 700 square feet, and needs to be plugged in continuously to work effectively. It should be placed in the room where you cat spends more of its time.
Diffuser containing an odorless copy of the facial pheromone
Reduces scratching and urine spraying in seven days
If you are looking for a way to stop your furry feline from scratching your furniture and carpets, then the Pet MasterMind Claw Withdraw Stop Cat Scratching Training Spray might be just what you need. The non-staining formula contains carefully chosen ingredients that are designed to create an effective deterrent that encourages your cat not to scratch. The spray contains safe and natural ingredients and can be used on any surface that your cat gravitates towards with their claws. It is effective with most cat breeds and works best when your cat is provided with a somewhere suitable to scratch in peace.
The synthetic pheromones in this spray are specifically tailored to imitate those produced by mother cats when they interact with their kittens – it’s the comfort of a childhood security blanket, but for cats! Like SynergyLab’s formula, this one is designed for occasional use rather than to tackle persistent behavior issues.
SENTRY recommend spraying their formula around your home when your cat is dealing with stressful or unfamiliar situations. The spray also contains fragrant lavender extract, so chances are you’ll be just as laid back as your feline companion.
Long-lasting; only one brief spray needed to treat each area
Pheromones imitate a mother cat’s, reassuring your pet
Relaxivet is a well-established reliable brand, that had developed a highly effective cat calming spray. This 50ml spray bottle contains an all-natural pheromone-based formula to help reduce stress and anxiety in all breeds of cats, and even dogs. This formula has been proved to help relieve anxiety and stress connected to a wide variety of potential triggers such as travel, vet visits, moving house, separation anxiety, fireworks, and mating season.
It has been tested by veterinarians, who have proven that this stress relief spray takes effect within 15 minutes, providing up to six hours of relaxation for your feline friend. The use of a calming spray can also help to prevent antisocial behavior bought on by stress, such as inappropriate urination, scratching, hissing, and excessive meowing.
Now that we’ve gone through our top picks, you’re probably wondering exactly when you should try a spray like this, and how to use them. As any cat owner will tell you, each animal has its own distinct personality, so the way in which you use a cat calming spray will depend very much upon your pet’s unique behavior patterns.
In many cases, these actions are prompted by feelings of nervousness in your cat. When a cat feels threatened, they are keen to mark their territory (AKA your home!) as explicitly as possible. These feelings are often the route of destructive scratching, since this allows the cat to leave both a visible mark of their presence, and their scent – secreted through glands on their paws. Urine spraying is another method cats use to clearly delineate their territory. Similarly, aggression in a cat is often triggered by a perceived threat. If your cat is aggressive towards non-household members or new pets, it may be because they are anxious about the newcomer’s intentions towards their territory and their friends. Constant mewling is another method by which cats loudly announce their presence. If your cat feels the need to do this, once again, anxiety over their territory could be the culprit.
You might also decide to try a cat calming spray even if your pet is not currently exhibiting these behaviors. They can also be used as a method of stress reduction when your cat is faced with trying circumstances. For example, you might consider a calming spray when your cat is about to encounter:
A nearby fireworks display
A car journey
A new environment
A new pet or other household member
Changes to their home
Many cats are calm and well-behaved the majority of the time, but suddenly grow anxious and erratic when their owners buy a Christmas tree. Others are usually sweet-natured, but become aggressive when faced with a trip to the vet or a long car journey. In situations like these, a calming spray can make things easier for both cat and owner.
To sum up, cat calming sprays have two main uses: tackling consistent undesirable behavior which could be triggered by anxiety, and preparing your cat for stressful events, reducing the strain on both of you.
As noted earlier, behavior problems are the predominant reason to use a cat calming spray. Before you rush to purchase some, though, it’s worth taking some time to consider what the underlying causes of your cat’s anxiety might be. If your cat has only recently developed one or more of the behaviors above, there’s likely to be a specific trigger. This could be something small, such as moving your furniture around, or something bigger such as introducing a new household member or pet. You might have moved to an entirely new home, or suddenly be out of the house more, which can trigger separation anxiety in some cats. The actions of others can also influence your cat. For instance, if one of your close neighbors has recently acquired a cat, yours could be put on the defensive about their territory. If another neighbor starts playing loud music, your cat will probably wonder what’s going on.
Knowing some potential triggers should provide you with an insight into the best way to use a calming spray – if you need to use one at all. If you’ve only moved the couch, it’s likely that your pet will soon get used to the new layout and settle down, but if larger changes have been happening a little help might be welcome.
If your cat continues to exhibit problematic behaviors, appears anxious, or is otherwise changed from its usual selves, a larger issue could be at play, and you should consult with a veterinary professional as soon as possible. Similarly, if you have no idea why your cat’s behavior has suddenly changed, it’s a good idea to speak to your vet.
Although cat calming sprays are not the solution to every feline freak-out, they can be an incredibly useful weapon in your arsenal against pet unhappiness. Here are a few of the benefits which cat calming sprays can bring:
It’s Natural and Drug-free
One of the main advantages of using a calming spray, is that it can help your cat’s anxiety without resorting to drugs. Not only does this make them easier to administer, but it also means that you don’t have to alter your cat’s body chemistry – instead, the sprays simply take advantage of cats’ natural pheromone detection abilities.
It’s easy to use
Another advantage of these products is how easy-to-use they are. The spray should be directed towards problem areas – places your cat tends to urinate or scratch – as well as areas in which they spend a lot of time. Where anxious behaviors are a long-term issue, you might want to pair the spray with a cat pheromone diffuser. These work by the same logic, but disperse the pheromone formula evenly and constantly throughout a room.
It can significantly improve a Cat’s Mood
Many owners and vets alike agree that pheromone sprays are highly effective – and who doesn’t want their feline friend to be calm and happy? For cats with a nervous disposition particularly, the calming effect of these pheromones can help them to feel at home and significantly improve their quality of life.
It’s a kind way to tackle bad Behavior
Finally, pheromone sprays are a great way to reduce bad behavior without having to punish your cat. It’s a good idea to give one of these products a try before resorting to the age-old cat deterrent of a cold water spray!
Best Cat Calming Spray FAQ:
Q: Do cat calming sprays actually work?
A: Generally speaking, yes! Results will vary between cats, (a few, unfortunately, won’t respond at all) but pheromone sprays are considered by veterinarians to be an effective tool for tackling feline anxiety and the disruption it can cause.
The sprays work by taking advantage of pheromones. Like many animals, cats communicate to each other partly through these chemical messages, which are secreted from various areas of their bodies including paws and muzzles. As many of you probably know, this is why contented cats will rub their faces against their owners – they are affectionately marking you with their scent.
Every cat has what’s called a vomeronasal organ, which is located between their nose and mouth. This is the organ used to pick up on pheromone signals. The type of pheromones which some cat calming sprays mimic are known as ‘appeasing’ or ‘calming’ pheromones, and are the exact same chemicals which a cat produces when it rubs its face against objects (or you) – marking them as safe. Other sprays mimic the pheromone which mother cats produce during nursing. When you use a calming spray on an object, then, the chemicals it contains signals to your cat that they are safe, helping them keep their cool.
Q: Are cat calming sprays safe?
A: Yes – as long as you follow the manufacturer’s instructions, cat calming sprays are perfectly safe for both you and your kitty. To make sure you’re using them correctly, always read and retain the instructions, and be sure not to over-use the product.
Some sprays use alcohol as a solvent for their synthetic pheromones, so should not be sprayed directly onto your cat – or yourself if you have particularly sensitive skin. You should also wait for 15 minutes to give the alcohol a chance to evaporate before introducing your cat to the treated area.
It’s a good idea to check out the ingredient list before using a new spray too. Finally, remember that these sprays are for smelling only, and should not be ingested by you or your cat. To ensure this isn’t an issue, we recommend avoiding using the spray around the area where you feed your cat, or on objects they often put in their mouth, such as certain toys.
Q: When to use cat calming spray?
A: This will depend on what kind of issues you are trying to resolve:
If your cat has begun to exhibit destructive scratching and/or urine spraying
In cases such as this, begin by applying a few spritzes of the cat calming spray to the areas in which your cat urinates and/or scratches. This could be certain walls, areas of the floor, a couch, or furniture legs. Feliway recommends that you don’t use the spray on scratching poles, since it’s designed to discourage all scratching and this could confuse your cat.
If your cat is behaving aggressively
If your cat is being aggressive towards someone in the household or other pets, try using the spray evenly throughout your home, focusing particularly on areas where your cat spends a lot of time. Alternatively, you could try plugging in a couple of pheromone diffusers throughout your home so your cat’s entire environment is marked as safe.
If you want to help your cat stay calm in stressful situations
Perhaps you need to take your cat on a car journey, or to the vets. In this case, a towel imbibed with a few spritzes of calming spray will make the experience easier for most cats. If you are making a change within your home – redecorating, introducing a new pet, or having a visitor, the spray can be used around areas where your cat spends a lot of time, helping them to not feel threatened by the change.
Q: How long will it last?
A: According to Feliway, the effects of their products last for four to five hours, and this is roughly standard. For some situations this will be enough, but for others you may want to reapply the spray once or twice a day, or consider adding an infuser or collar to the mix.
If you plan to use a calming spray for a car journey lasting more than five hours, you will need to remove your cat from its carrier in order to reapply the spray, and allow 15 minutes for it to dry before putting your cat back in.
When it comes to cat calming sprays, our top pick goes to Ceva Feliway. It’s a safe, affordable, and versatile product which seems to work for the vast majority of cats. A number of vets also recommend Feliway’s spray, and we can see why. Their formula provides a simple and safe solution to a number of feline-related problems, as well as helping your cat to feel more relaxed in general.
Eloise is the owner of a Malamute/Akita cross, a first-time mum, and an animal enthusiast from England. She comes from a family which has never gone a day without a pet (or 3!), and over the years has learned all the best tips and tricks to raising a difficult pet. A knowledge that she has put to good use, to help others navigate the limitless world of pet care.