5 Best Calming Aid for Cats
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The best calming aid for cats reduces signs of stress, including inappropriate urination, scratching, and shyness.
Though no calming aid shows significant ability to reduce stress, a few get consistently positive reviews and, at least according to anecdotal evidence, can help to take the edge off.
After evaluating the products available, diving into the scientific research on calming aids, and reading customer reviews, I’ve chosen Feliway Travel Spray as the best calming aid for cats. It’s easy to use at home or on the road, is safe for cats, and has a reputation for effectiveness.
Clinical test results are mixed, but thousands of users agree that Feliway’s pheromone spray helps cats calm down and enjoy life.
At a Glance: Best Calming Aid for Cats To Buy
We highly recommend looking at the comparison table we have below where we highlighted the features of each product. You’ll also find more detailed information about each product later in the article.
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Types of Calming Aids for Cats
Before we review Feliway Travel Spray and the other top five best calming aids for cats, let’s talk about the different types of calming products you can buy.
Pheromones, chemical messengers secreted in several key areas on your cat’s body, are part of the complex way that cats communicate with one another and navigate their world.
Feliway is the most popular synthetic pheromone product on the market. It’s an artificial version of the F3 facial pheromone, a chemical secreted in cats’ cheeks. Cats use this pheromone to mark their territory.
Do synthetic pheromones really work?
Some studies say that pheromone-based calming aids reduce stress-related behaviors by 90% or more in up to 95% of cats, but others had contradictory results—many of them showing that the pheromone product did nothing at all.
As noted in this 2015 review of the research on Feliway, the studies with the best results were funded by Ceva, the company that sells Feliway.
Though its effects on cats aren’t fully understood or thoroughly-documented, the World Health Organization says that CBD-rich hemp may have a therapeutic effect for people with anxiety. CBD or cannabidiol interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which influences pain, appetite, memory, motivation, and stress. Provided that they don’t contain any THC, CBD products appear to be safe for cats.
Other Calming Aids
Calming aids for cats may include flower essences, amino acids, vitamins, and herbs thought to have soothing properties.
What’s The Best Calming Aid For Cats?
There’s no proof that calming aids really work. Most veterinarians recommend them on the premise that “it can’t hurt, but it might help—if only by making you feel like you’re being proactive.”
That said, it appears that pheromone-based and CBD-based calming aids are the most effective of the bunch. Some products using amino acids like L-tryptophan and L-theanine may also be effective, but at this point, we haven’t seen enough proof to say that they’re a reliable solution for anxiety.
Some herbal treatments, like Pet Remedy and Bach Rescue Remedy, get plenty of praise from customers, but after reviewing the research, it looks like the placebo effect is stronger than any other benefits these treatments provide.
Stress and anxiety are deeply subjective, making the placebo effect a significant factor in how people experience calming aids. Since we can’t ask cats how they feel, we can only watch their behavior and interpret it. It’s hard to gauge the legitimacy of customer reviews when humans’ wishful thinking and the placebo effect are so influential.
Top 5 Best Calming Aids for Cats
Now that we’ve talked about the types of calming aids available and how they work, let’s review the top five best calming aids on the market. All of these products receive positive customer reviews and appear to be safe for cats.
Feliway travel spray is a trusted product you can spray anywhere, whether you’re traveling or sitting at home.
You can spritz the pheromone spray on your cat’s bedding at home, apply it to his blanket and the walls of his carrier before you go to the veterinarian, or spray it on new objects to make them familiar.
Feliway spray is odorless, non-toxic, and safe to use on any surface. It’s available in a 20ml, 60ml, or 219ml bottle, offering about 16, 50, or 1,400 applications, respectively.
This calming collar brings the pheromones everywhere your cat goes.
Sentry’s popular calming collar is infused with “Good Behavior pheromone technology”. This technology releases pheromones when the collar makes contact with your cat’s fur. The pheromone release system works for about 30 days before you’ll need to replace the collar.
Most reviewers like the collar, but it has a couple of drawbacks. We don’t fully understand how cats experience pheromones—it might not be kind to force your cat to walk around in a cloud of them. Not only is your cat unable to escape the pheromones, but he also may not be able to escape the collar itself. The collar doesn’t have a breakaway mechanism.
If you or your cat are sensitive to synthetic fragrances, you might not like the collar’s lavender and chamomile fragrance. Additionally, it may be irritating for some cats’ skin. A few reviewers reported that their cats lost hair under the collar.
This product fills the room with pheromones, theoretically helping to provide calm and comfort at home. Feliway claims that it’s effective in 9 out of 10 cats and says that you should start to see results in 7 days. One diffuser covers 700 feet, so you can place it in a central location, or, if you have a larger home, in multiple places throughout the house.
As convenient and efficient as this means of pheromone distribution might initially appear, it has a big downside. The diffuser sometimes heats up, emits a burning smell, and the liquid may leak out and into electrical outlets. At least one person’s diffuser melted and started emitting clouds of smoke. What does this mean? Feliway diffusers are a fire hazard. Use them at your own risk.
If you have multiple cats, you might prefer to use the Feliway MultiCat diffuser. It uses a synthetic version of the pheromones that are released from the mammary gland area after a mother cat gives birth to kittens. This bonding pheromone may be able to alleviate tension in multi-cat homes.
This purr pillow is a flat, floppy piece of fuzzy material about the size of a small deflated cat. When your cat touches the toy, it automatically starts purring and goes on rumbling for two minutes after each touch.
The Purr Pillow is a soothing toy for abandoned kittens and adult cats who crave the comfort of a soft, purring cat.
Reviewer S Leytem bought the Purr Pillow for an abandoned one-week-old kitten. They say “it basically hypnotizes her to sleep, she crawls to it, kneads it and eventually her meows turn to silence. I wish the purring lasted longer but for $10 it is a lifesaver. She’s pooped on it a couple times I throw it in the washer and dryer minus the battery pack and it holds up great.”
While most cats find it comforting, another group is frightened by the loud purring noise of the Purr Pillow.
These treats contain a blend of ingredients thought to soothe cats, including C3 colostrum, the amino acid L-Theanine, and the B-vitamin thiamine.
Though more research is needed to confirm the potential benefits of these ingredients, they have shown some promise in reducing anxiety and supporting cognitive function. VetriScience says that the chews should have an anti-anxiety effect within 30 minutes of taking the treat.
The treats have a chewy texture and chicken liver flavor that most cats seem to enjoy. Customer reviews are mixed. About 50% of reviewers give it a 5-star rating, while others say the treats did nothing for their cats’ anxiety or were hard to eat.
Even the best calming treats, collars, or sprays can’t solve a stress problem.
Even the world’s most trusted calming aids show inconsistent results, so don’t rely on them alone. Instead, think of them as a supplement to tried-and-true approaches to reducing your cat’s anxiety or stress.
Environmental changes are the key to giving your cat a sense of security and safety. By establishing a consistent routine, installing species-appropriate furniture and hiding places, and facilitating a healthy social environment, you can help your cat to feel safer and, eventually, happier.