I’ve talked a lot about my dog Ru here on the blog, so some of you might be surprised to learn I have a cat as well! I adopted Panda from a rescue organization when I was 20 years old, and she lived has lived both in my wild college house of seven people and in my now very quiet, mellow apartment. She’s extremely social, a bit neurotic, and although she looks like a princess kitty, she’s a pig when it comes to food.
Now Panda had lived with dogs before, but when I adopted Ru over a year go, Panda went a bit crazy and began over grooming her belly. It’s a pretty typical sign of anxiety and stress in cats, even though Ru wasn’t aggressive at all and really just wanted to be Panda’s BFF. A year and a half later, and Panda is still over-grooming her stomach. Even though she’s long haired and fluffy all over her entire body, her little belly is hairless and pink. The vet said not to worry and that it had just formed into a habit, but of course I’m concerned and want her to be a healthy and happy kitty.
Enter: feliway products. If you have a neurotic little kitty or if you’re planning to move somewhere new, bring home another animal, or introduce any other big change into your cat’s life, this stuff is a lifesaver. Feliway is like a little kitty drug, except it’s not even a drug. It’s the same pheromones that cats release when they brush their face against your leg or a chair, and when it’s all over their environment, it helps them to feel safe and relaxed.
It sounds like magic, but when I began using feliway products, Panda turned into a completely different cat. She was super playful, less grumpy, and generally seemed to be more happy. Best of all, it’s over-the-counter and very easy to get your hands on.
The first feliway product I tried was a diffuser, which plugs into a wall outlet and releases the hormone into the air. To say it was effective is an understatement – she was literally the happiest I’ve ever seen her. There are a few problems with this method, however. First, it’s pretty expensive replace every single month since it’s about $20 for a refill. Second, if you have an indoor-outdoor cat or even just a big house, the cat will not always be in near proximity to the diffuser and so it won’t be effective all the time.
Now, on the recommendation from our vet, we are trying the Sentry Calming Collar. So far I’ve found it to be slightly less potent and effective than the diffuser, but it’s very affordable at only $10 a month, plus it stays with her as she roams around the house. She’s been more friendly and calm since we put it on, and although I haven’t seen a change in her over-grooming yet, I’m still hopeful it will make a difference.
In summary, if you’re doing something short-lived but big like a move to a new house, a feliway diffuser could be a great option to help your kitty adjust more smoothly. If you have a generally neutoric kitty like me who may need more long-term help, a feliway collar might help sooth her rattled nerves.