Veterinary visits can be stressful especially for our feline friends, so we try to do everything we can to make it as relaxing as possible. Two of our staff members took a course to become certified in Fear Free techniques. We try to use as many techniques, as we can to help all of our patients have the best veterinary visit possible. The story that I am about to tell you is about two cats, kind of. The first cat is a beautiful Bengal cat named J.B., also known as Jellybean, before Feliway and the second cat is that same sweet girl after Feliway.
J.B. was brought in to be spayed, which meant that she would be staying the night with us after surgery. She was a real sweetheart and was lovely to work with, but she was very nervous all the time. It’s hard being a cat in an unfamiliar area, that can sometimes have loud dogs coming in and out of the treatment and kennel area. To help her relax, we sprayed her kennel and blanket with a pheromone spray called Feliway.
These pictures show J.B. before we introduced her to Feliway and the next picture was taken a short while later after the Feliway had been applied to her kennel area. The proof is in the pictures! Before Feliway, poor J.B. was very nervous, as you can see by her lowered head and flattened ears. After a couple of Feliway sprays on her blanket, her ears perked up, and she was much more relaxed and happy! With J.B., it was like she was an entirely different cat, thanks to the Feliway. She was like a whole new cat! As an extra side note, J.B. is available for adoption! If you are interested, let us know, and we can provide you with contact information for Wild Expressions Bengals.
The picture below shows the before and after of using Feliway:
So how exactly does Feliway work? Cats naturally emit pheromones or “messages” from three different places; the corners of their mouths, their mammary area, and their feet. The pheromones from each place represent different messages. The pheromones that come from the mouth send “happy messages,” that provide reassurance to the cat. If you see your cat rubbing the corners of their mouth on furniture or even you, it’s a good thing! They are marking you and the space, as a safe, comfortable place to be. The mammary pheromones send “harmony messages” between a mother and her kittens, that are naturally appeasing. The third area where pheromones are released are the feet. The feet emit territorial pheromones, so when a cat is scratching; they are sending “territorial messages,” that say this area is mine!
The classic version of Feliway sends “happy messages” and helps relax our feline friends and lets them know that they are in a safe place. This is the spray that we use in-clinic in our kennel area, as well on the blankets that are placed in our exam rooms. If you have a kitty who is afraid of travelling to the veterinary office, ask us if we can pre-spray a towel or blanket for you. This way you can put the blanket in the carrier for the trip over and help them stay a little more relaxed. Feliway also offers another product called Feliway Friends, that work with the “harmony messages,” to help cats get along with each other if they are prone to disagreements. Feliway is also releasing a new product called Feliscratch that will work with the “territorial messages” to help direct scratching to appropriate areas, like scratching posts, not couches.
So if you have a cat who might benefit from Feliway, let us know, and we would be happy to talk about the different options and what might benefit you and your cat the best. If you wanted to do some research of your own, feel free to check out their website for even more information.
Written by Kelsey Hewgill, RVT