Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Feliway: A diffuser or a defuser -- maybe both!

I was upset when Bob called to tell me that he wanted to take Newman back to the cat shelter -- I am  fond of our new cat, and even if I wasn't, he'd been at that shelter four years. That's enough. I also got Bob's point that Newman was stalking and chasing our first cat, Red Kitka (RK). Things had been improving, slowly, but for about 2 weeks it seemed like we'd hit a point where we were likely to stay. Newman chasing RK, RK running in fear, then slinking around the house from hiding place to hiding place.

We had soft claws on Newman; we were doing some behavior modification (gentle redirection); we were being supportive. Now what? Did I want to fight with Bob about this? No.

I ordered Feliway in desperation. Really I didn't think it would matter, I'm not one to trust ads or testimonials, and there didn't seem to be a lot of research. But it was something I could tell Bob I was doing, and it would buy me and Newman some time. I had it Fedexed, I put it together, and plugged it in. Here is what I noticed...
  • I was using a plug near a cat perch that Newman used. He often used it as a vantage point to stalk RK. Not the first day, but within a few days, I noticed he was spending more time on that perch, and more significantly, he was sleeping on the perch. Not stalking.
  • There were a few more cat chasing incidents after I plugged in the diffuser, nothing notable, but more of the same. Then, well, nothing.
  • It's been a week. Neither Bob nor I have seen any significant fighting or chasing behavior. They have interacted at the feed bowl (a territorial zone) very pleasantly, and they walk past each other now without Newman showing interest in the chase.
Would the situation have improved anyway? I can't know. What I do know is that we seemed to hit a plateau in agression levels, a plateau that was not acceptable. And within a few weeks of installing the diffuser things have improved to a point we can live with.  The stalking has not been totally eliminated -- yet -- but it is far less intense, and infrequent to the point of being gone.

I got the diffuser for less than $30 and things are better. While I can't say for sure it's the diffuser, it was sure worth $30 to try it.
Taken about 10 days after Feliway was installed.


  1. I hope this is a happy ending to a difficult story. It is great that things are smoothing out--for the cats and your marriage's sake.

  2. That's a great testimonial. I know some other people who've tried Feliway with no results but these have been in extreme situations. Others who've used it when introducing a second cat have gotten good results. Our vet recommends it as a good bridge to calmer behaviours.

    We're adding a second cat to our mix this weekend. I'll let you know how it goes and we'll try Feliway if it seems needed, based on your good experience!

  3. Good report so far. A number of well grounds cat experts/sites recommend Feliway. I tried the spray years ago with mixed results on neutered males who insisted on "marking" my furniture. I didn't know there was a diffuser. Interesting.

    Keep us posted on what I hope is a lasting peace.

  4. Thank goodness for the good kitty news!

  5. I have heard MANY great things about the Feliway and canine versions.

  6. "....i'm so happy for you, Bob and the kitty cats! There's nothing more unsettling than having a standoff with one's spouse over a situation with our "pets"! Anyway, just want to say that I used the canine version of feliway and the results were incredible! We first worked with a behavioral vet but no real change and then tried the product! Yes, it did take almost a week but the two issues finally stopped causing him so much fear (one issue was seperation anxiety and the other was fear of thunderstorms, etc.). He is a pointing breed hunting dog and even though he had no fear of the sound of a shotgun, if you tried to leave him alone or experience a thunderstorm with him, it was quite heartbreaking but now all is well!

  7. Paws up! While Feliway is not always effective, it has worked enough times to make it worth a try in most cases. It looks like it has helped your boys, and hopefully they will be able to get to know each other better, with less stress from now on.

  8. We had great results with Feliway. We had a bad scratcher who we couldn't get trained to quit scratching the furniture. We tried Feliway and that stuff totally worked. We call it 'cat drugs' at our house. Tiny Tim now sticks to his scratching box and the two scratching posts. Great stuff.

    love your blog, ready it all the time.

  9. What great news! I just found a $10 coupon for Feliway in Better Homes & Gardens. We have a little barn cat that came up to the house last January, and she still growls loudly at anyone (feline) walking by her. Might have to try it. Hope it continues...

  10. That is great news. Glad feline and marital harmony are being achieved. :-)

    And THANK YOU Snowhawk and Hunter Lady for mentioning that they also make a pheromone product for dogs - I have a friend with a crazy nutso dog (not even controlled with tranquilizers crazy) who might really benefit from this! I have emailed her the website link...

  11. I was so rooting for Newman to work out for you. I just read some interesting info from Temple Gradnin (pp. 74-75) about how cats are difficult for people to read and cats "talk" a lot more with smells.

    On page 77, she talks about color and cats--Black cats are social with people and have greater aggreative tendencies (more likely to live in cat groups). Whereas orange cats can be very social with people but tend to be both shier and more agressive towards other cats.

    Very interesting stuff. By the way, when I have introduced new cats into my house, the bonding with other cats has occured as quickly as instantly or taken as long as 9 months.
    Regards, Pamela N. (Blessi)


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