Are pheromone diffusers safe for cats?

Posted by Nurse Whiskers. February 11th 2014.

When it comes to artificial methods of controlling unwanted cat behaviour such as aggression or territory marking, or helping a nervous cat feel secure, it’s natural for a cat owner to want to investigate all of the options fully before making a decision.

Products which are aimed at assisting with tempering anti-social cat behaviour include those which contain pheromones. These are chemicals which are man-made and devised to calm a cat down.

Pheromones explained

When a cat rubs up against a person’s legs or a piece of furniture it may seem as though it’s being affectionate or giving itself a back scratch but in fact it’s releasing a secretion which is marking its territory. When the cat smells the secretion afterwards, it reassures the animal that it is secure in its own territory.

Cats have glands on their cheeks and chin which explain why it uses its head so actively to spread its scent.

The chemical it emits is known as a pheromone and it is this scent which is in manufactured devices aimed at calming and controlling a cat’s behaviour.

lady and cat

Pheromone devices

Devices come in sprays, diffusers and even cat collars which are infused with the chemical making a range of convenient options available. It is important to read manufacturer’s instructions very carefully before using a device so as not to inadvertently harm a cat or young child.

For example, a spray needs to be given ample time to dry thoroughly so that cats don’t lick at it accidentally and children don’t get it on their hands.

When to use

Pheromone products help to comfort and relax a cat. For this reason, they are ideal for cats that appear to have behavioural problems such as aggression or extreme shyness or nervousness.

These products can also help with a cat which fails to use its cat litter and has taken to fouling in areas of the home instead. However expert vet advice should always be sought to identify if there are any underlying medical causes of the behaviour. It is important to make sure that sprays and diffusers are not used anywhere near the cat litter.

It is vital before using any pheromone products to get advice from a vet.

Not for eating

Pheromone products are usually alcohol and paraffin-based so are absolutely not for ingestion. A spray must never be directed at a cat as it will likely lick the chemical from its fur right away.

If a pet does accidentally lick at a patch of pheromone spray, it needs to be taken to the vet right away for an examination and to receive any necessary treatment.

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