Another study shows that Feliway™ doesn’t work

Trying to make sense of the pheromone mess.

First things first! Some of you might be wondering what the heck Feliway is! Feliway is a “feline facial pheromone analogue (also refered to as FFP or FFPA).” It is a human-created chemical copycat (no pun intended) of the pheromones that your cat deposits when they rub their scent glands on objects (or even on you). Pheromones are chemicals that many animals use to communicate – and in cats, these chemicals are quite important! The face (cheek, forehead, chin) and paws have important scent glands, and of course urine or spray marking contains pheromones – cats use all of these scent glands to mark their turf and communicate with other cats.

Now, when scientists came up with idea to manufacture a synthetic version of these pheromones they must have thought they hit the animal behavior jackpot. Imagine, a product that could convince a cat they just sprayed somewhere, so why bother doing so again? Or being able to convince animals that they should feel nice and cozy and secure because the pheromones that their mom would have released are being diffused throughout the environment?

Feliway claims to:

  • Create a state of familiarity and security in the cat’s environment
  • Comfort and reassure cats during a challenging situation
  • Reduce or prevent unwanted behaviors due to stress
  • Ease animosity between cats
  • Curb spraying indoors
  • Prevent cats from scratching on surfaces
  • Encourage less hiding in cats
  • Make it easier for your vet to examine your cat at the veterinary office

(I took these claims from the Feliway website)

Wow, is this sh*t magic? In theory, it’s a great idea. Vets love to recommend it, and people experiencing behavior problems with their cats want a magic bullet, so they are willing to give it a whirl. Feliway is pricey – with each plug setting folks back $40, a six-pack of refills running over $80 on Amazon, and the spray costing around $20/bottle. One plug diffuser covers around 700 square feet, according to the manufacturers, and the refill lasts one month. You do the math.

"Veterinary Surgeon" by Andrew Dunn - Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Commons -
Feliway had no effect on the behavior or stress of cats during a veterinary exam. “Veterinary Surgeon” by Andrew Dunn – Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Commons

But does it work? A new study, “Evaluation of environment and a feline facial pheromone analogue on physiologic and behavioral measures in cats,” by Conti et al., examined the effect of Feliway on cats during a standard medical exam in both the home and the vet hospital. Experimenters measured various parameters that could be related to stress: heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate, and other signs of stress including struggling and vocalization. Thirty cats were examined under four conditions in a repeated measure study: home with placebo, home with FFPA, vet hospital with placebo and vet hospital with FFPA. The veterinarian examining all cats was blind to whether the cat had been exposed to FFPA. All cats were healthy.

Results found that cats had higher breathing and heart rates in the hospital compared to the home examination. There was no effect of environment on the blood pressure, but more cats were likely to struggle and vocalize during the home examination than the hospital examination. There was no effect of Feliway on any recorded measure in the study.

So back to the question: Does Feliway work? Well, one study is not really enough to convince most people one way or another, so I took a look back at the previous, peer-reviewed and published studies that I could find on our good friend the internet (if I missed any, please let me know!). I did not include any poster presentations (most of them show positive results, and were by Feliway’s inventor, Philip Pageat, and have not been published in a journal). Here’s a brief summary of what I found, as well as a little note as to whether the study was in any way funded by makers of Feliway (the current study by Conti et al., was NOT funded by Feliway, or any of its parent companies – such as Ceva Sante, Abbott Laboratories, or Pageat’s company, the Research Institute in Semiochemistry and Applied Ethology).

Frank, Erb, & Houpt, 1999 – 14 out of /24 households reported a decrease in spraying after implementing Feliway. There was no control group. In other words, we don’t know if the spraying would have decreased anyway without the Feliway. Funded by Ceva.

Ogata & Takeuchi, 2000 – a decrease in urine marking was found with the use of Feliway, but again there was no control group. No funding from Ceva.

Hunthausen, 2000 –  a decrease in urine marking was found with use of Feliway, but AGAIN, no control group. No funding from Ceva.

Mills and Mills, 2001 – a reduction in spraying behavior was found in cats exposed to a Feliway diffuser. There was a control placebo group, but by the end of the study both groups of cats were spraying at similar rates (5-70 5.70 times per week for the treatment group, and 8-58 8.58 times per week for the placebo group). Sponsored by Ceva.

Gunn-Moore & Cameron, 2004 – no improvement in health found in cats with feline idiopathic cystitis based on use of Feliway. Double blinded and placebo control study. No funding from Ceva.

Griffith et al., 2005 – hospitalized cats exposed to Feliway and a cat carrier to hide in ate more than cats exposed to just Feliway. The effect seemed to be driven by the cat carrier, not the Feliway. No funding from Ceva.

Kronen et al, 2006 – Feliway did not reduce struggling of cats for a blood draw, although FFPA cats appeared “calmer.” Acepromazine and FFPA seemed to result in the most calm cats compared to placebo and FFPA only groups. Funded by Abbott Laboratories, who also produce and distribute Feliway in the USA.

Frank, D, 2010 – review of use of pheromones for cats and dogs (included several of the aforementioned studies). This review basically concluded that based on the quality of evidence, there was no strong support for FFPA having a positive (or any) effect on cat behavior.  No funding from Ceva.

Photo by Melissa Weise. Used courtesy of Creative Commons license.
One study found that FFPA could reduce scratching behavior. Photo by Melissa Weise. Used courtesy of Creative Commons license.

Mills, Redgate & Landsberg, 2011 – A meta-analysis of treatments for spraying that included pheromones concluded that the aforementioned studies in the Frank 2010 review that found no strong evidence actually did show an effect of Feliway. Confused yet? Oh, this study was funded by Ceva.

Cozzi et al, 2013 – This study found an increase in scratching of areas sprayed with a Feline Interdigital Semiochemical. Not funded by Ceva. (Correction: March 4, 2016).  an FFPA.  Funded by Ceva.

Periera et al, 2015 – A randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study that found a positive effect of Feliway on owner-reported stress levels in cats in a veterinary clinic setting. Funded by Ceva.

So if we are trying to solve a behavior problem in cats, should we be recommending or using Feliway? I think that for many veterinarians and consultants, the line of thinking seems to be, well it might help, and it probably doesn’t hurt…so…why not? And I guess my answer would be – for the money that owners spend on Feliway, it really should be doing some magic.

For the cost of two or three plugs running in someone’s home (and I did have a client who was using FIVE plugs in her house) – we should be seeing some pretty amazing results! That money could be spent on lots of enrichment and vertical space in a home, which might provide better results!

Now I may have my own biases – the people who are helped (or believe they are being helped) by Feliway most likely never call me for a behavior consultation. Many of my clients have already tried Feliway to no positive effect (and two of my clients had cats who sprayed or urinated on the diffuser…).

So, I have to admit, I don’t generally recommend Feliway to people whose cats are experiencing behavior problems. Does it work in some cats? Maybe! I cannot deny that some people swear by Feliway. And some of the studies (including ones with double-blind, placebo-controlled methodologies) find positive results. Is it odd that most of those studies were funded by the parent company? It makes me a little uncomfortable, for sure.

What I can conclude right now is that we’ve got a pheromone mess, and it would be great for someone to clean it up with some decent studies. Perhaps there are characteristics of some cats that make them more likely to respond to Feliway than others. Maybe some methods of application or use are more effective than others. But right now, it’s really hard to tell, and until we have better evidence, I’m not putting Feliway at the top of my behavior toolkit.

106 thoughts on “Another study shows that Feliway™ doesn’t work

  1. Very well said! Thank you for gathering this info and putting it together in an organized posting. I agree that it does do harm if our clients could spend that money on things that really do help their cats!

    1. I sprayed few away as directed on my cats bed and on the side of the bed that he sleeps on with me. He would not go in his bed or sleep with me at night until I changed his blanket in his bed and changed my sheets. I am returning the feel away spray that I purchased for $27..

  2. Wow – very interesting! Thank you for summarizing the current research. I’ve never used Feliway to reduce stress or spraying, but I’ve had great success using it to prevent scratching (Despite the countless scratching surfaces in my house, occasionally my cats like to dig into the textured upholstery on the back of my sofa. One or two spritzes of Feliway, and they’ll leave it alone for a couple of weeks.) Like you, I’m interested in seeing some better studies on pheromones in the future.

  3. Studies are easily skewed and I’d like to see more controlled studies. Ceva has funded 42 studies. AThere is no mention of how the product was used, in what quantity or frequency. This doesn’t change my opinion about recommending Feliway but agree, it’s no magic bullet and must be used with other changes in protocol. In my anecdotal experience over the past five years, the spray has a higher success rate. The biggest fallacy is that it works instantly. You can’t spritz the inside walls of carrier two minutes before leaving for a vet visit and expect results. I suggest spraying at least a few hours in advance, leave the carrier door open for exploring. Make the carrier more inviting by placing a soft towel or cozy, old sweater smelling of the cat’s owner (familiar natural pheromone scent).

    1. Layla,
      Most of Ceva’s studies have not gone through peer review, from what I can tell, so I would not consider them very helpful. It’s funny because someone else told me they thought that only the diffuser was effective, not the spray!!!

  4. I have been citing the study by Frank (2010) at several presentations I have been giving to vet techs and behaviour therapists alike.
    Like you, I never came across a cat who reacted favourably to the Feliway diffuser. However, the spray can be used to good effect when cats are scratching furniture, but only when the scatching is stress-induced.
    The fact that ‘it can’t hurt’ is not true, unfortunately. In the past year I have had several cats in my (beahvioural) practice who reacted adversely to the diffuser. In one case the cat no longer wanted to stay in the living room where the diffuser was placed! Talking about stress…..

    1. Liesbeth,I agree with you – I think that most people assume “it can’t hurt” – but it could hurt if people invest in it instead of in other forms of behavior modification, or other products that could be helpful (such as condos/shelves/enrichment/toys) — and certainly if cats have an adverse reaction. I hadn’t heard of cats avoiding the diffuser, only urinating on them, so thanks for sharing that experience!

    2. Hello,
      Out of interest as I found Feliway to be very helpful, I am reading through other peoples experiences. There is always something to learn from other cat owners. When our Mother cat passed away her then 5 year old “kitten” was frantic looking for her, would follow us every where, cried/called out, barely touched her food (this cat was basically a life long food lover – would eat anything 🙂 ), stopped grooming/playing & if she was human you could say she went into a depression. After 5/7 days I was desperate to aid this normally happy cat. Our Vet suggested using Feliway, he said he knew little about it at the time, but it was worth a try. We plugged it into our Living Room as that was her preferred place, sneaked out & closed door to give maximum effect. Within approx a half an hour to an hour we watched (through window out of her view) her becoming visibly calmer cat, no calling/crying, grooming herself for the first time in days. It was not an immediate overall cure, but it certainly was a very noticeable change within an hour & thankfully the anxiousness left,
      appetite slowly returned (admittedly possibly through time) but Feliway certainly was a witnessed turning point. Our little lady lived until she was 15 & half years, became the total boss of the house, ruled like a queen through other cats coming into the house over the next 10 years & whenever there has been an upset cat since – out comes the Feliway & we believe it has been an asset when needed.

      1. I ordered this product in desperation. However, to my shock the diffuser started on fire….thank God I was home. I do not know if it works……happened immediately. This product should be off market…..look online many same experience!

      2. I have to agree with you. We have two indoor female cats. The original and the second which we found and subsequently brought into our home about a year a half ago. After about one year, one of the two began spraying alongside the new cat’s litter box. At first we assumed it was the new addition, but now were not so sure it wasn’t our original kitty that was doing it out of spite. We started using Feliway under the recommendation of our vet and had only one mishap in the first three days. After that no problems whatsoever. Then we ran out of the product for one day and wham the mishap occurred again. Replaced the product the next day and no problems since. Does the product work? In our case, yes. The downside, is the price (Close to $30.00 for two refills w/shipping/handling through Amazon) and the fact the cartridges NEVER last as long as they claim. One of the replacements we got through our vet was marked as a thirty day refill. It literally lasted last one week. Our experience with the others which are also thirty day supplies generally last about two and a half weeks.

        1. I agree. I tried it in the downstairs bathroom where the litter boxes are because one cat bullies the others and he stopped when we had the diffuser in. When the diffuser ran out he started up bullying again. And I only got 18 days out of the 30 day diffuser…

      3. Like the post I am responding to, we used Feliway out of desperation for an overly anxious/fearful cat. We adopted her from a shelter six weeks ago and she spent the entire six weeks hiding in a cat condo (the first day she spent hiding under a couch and we were unable to provide her with food and water so we squirted her with a water bottle to break that habit for her own safety and well-being).

        While I cannot comment about Feliway’s effectiveness as a deterrent for spraying or adrenaline inducing adventure of a visit to the vet; I can say that it appears to have helped her be more comfortable within the home. After about three hours of having a diffuser plugged in, she FINALLY left the safety of her condo for longer than a quick, clandestine, visit to her litter (I still have no idea when she goes… just that the litter box does need to be emptied). After about six hours, she jumped up on the couch with me – albeit on the other side as far away from me as possible, but still with me.

        This is a far cry from where she appeared to be pre-Feliway when she cowered further back into the condo any time I entered the room it is located in, even when I was delivering food.

        While this is no smoking gun and could POSSIBLY be coincidental – though in my mind it doesn’t seem likely Feliway played no role in this specific situation, it may merit consideration of other claims as valid and further study/research could be devoted to validating those claims and uses?

    3. Hi, I have been trying to rescue cats for the last five years. I have a total of 11 cats in my home right now, and my home has turned into a war zone! The spraying has gotten so out of hand that I recently tried a Feliway defusser and in the last month thing have gotten much worse. My oldest female has become so agitated & aggressive toward cats thats shes never had issue with before that I have to keep isolating her, which is only making matters worse. I am at my wits end & I believe this product is not helping but definitely hurting the situation!

      1. Linda,
        Unfortunately we know that when cats are housed in high densities, spraying is very likely. Anecdotally, I do know of one cat who sprayed on the Feliway diffuser, so I think it does aggravate some cats. You may need to seek out help from a veterinarian or behavior expert for your situation if you cannot rehome some of the cats.

    4. Hi Lisbeth, and thank you Mikel for writing this and taking time to investigate further.
      I decided to try Feliway after my partner observed my cat stress and yowl while I was interstate. Other than being vocal, he had been extremely clean and always used his litter box downstairs. My experience is that a week after plugging in Feliway my cat began spraying in each of the bathrooms and especially on towels on the floor, and to our dismay, also over t-shirts on the floor in our bedroom!
      I have discontinued Feliway and will see you the behaviour improves again… (will try to remember to let you all know!). Coincidence? I think not. The behaviour supports the theory that he reacted to the pheromones diffused by Feliway and I assume suspected another cat had been present?
      Kind regards

  5. What a waste of money… Feliway showed no benefit with my 5 indoor cats. It’s to pricey. It makes your whole house smell funny and it leaves the spray all over the wall that you plug the outlet in. Not a good experience at all. Would never buy this useless product ever again.

    1. Jeff, it is expensive and unfortunately I hear from many folks who had similar experiences to yours. Thanks for sharing.

      1. Great article. Have you guys tried Pet Remedy natural de-stress and calming. It is low dosage valerian root oil (also with vetiver, basil, and clary sage essential oils ) based. Have a look at the Facebook page or website. Good independent studies and reviews too!!! very happy to send out samples to anyone who wants to try!
        How to use Pet Remedy:
        The plug diffuser should be located in the room in which the stressed pet spends the most time. It is low concentration valerian based and constant slow release of actives.
        Starts to help within minutes and ideal for separation anxiety, fireworks , new home, bonding, and any other stressful situation

        You can also use the spray on the pet bedding, bandana, or even spray a little on your fingers and gently rub around muzzle, under chin, and top of chest!
        As a rule, best not to spray directly on a pet. This avoids any association of the spray with the stressful situation.

        Apart from being a natural option, a great advantage of Pet Remedy is that it starts to help within minutes. This is because of the way it works. Works for all mammals, reptiles, and birds.
        The low concentration Valerian based formulation works with the pet’s own natural calming mechanisms by mimicking GABA (a natural calming agent present in all mammals).
        So when a pet becomes stressed or anxious the Pet Remedy actives help trick the fired-up nerve cells into thinking they are getting a message from the brain to calm.
        It is now used on a daily basis by vets, vet nurses, rescue centres , pet professionals (such as behaviourists, trainers, and groomers), and even zoos all over the world!

        1. Pet remedy is the work of the devil! Smells like old socks washed in foosty water. Expensive. Be wary anyone considering it. I didn’t find it had much effect either. I now use feliway, I can’t smell it, or if it does smell initially it’s pleasant and disperses quickly. As for if it works? Jury is still out but I’m still buying it which says something.

    2. Hello,
      Out of interest as I found Feliway to be very helpful, I am reading through other peoples experiences. There is always something to learn from other cat owners. I am wondering though about your experience of “house smell funny and it leaves the spray all over the wall that you plug the outlet in.”? I have been using Feliway for years for behaviour (big difference when diffuser runs out & we overlook refill) and never experienced either a funny smell or spray on wall??? Which makes me wonder does natural environment/climate/geographical location add/remove from the effectiveness of Feliway??

      1. “Casey
        March 4, 2017 at 1:10 pm
        Out of interest as I found Feliway to be very helpful, I am reading through other peoples experiences. There is always something to learn from other cat owners. When our Mother cat passed away her then 5 year old “kitten” was frantic looking for her….. ”

        March 4, 2017 at 1:20 pm
        Out of interest as I found Feliway to be very helpful, I am reading through other peoples experiences. You remind me of our own house hold (3 cats) we generally all do ok until refill is overlooked Totally agree with what you say about dynamics/situations being different, certainly worth a try & like you for us it works.”

        March 4, 2017 at 1:26 pm
        Out of interest as I found Feliway to be very helpful, I am reading through other peoples experiences. I must commend your very balanced & well written view, particularly paragraph from “Although it works in my situation……… that can make a world of difference and result in long term solutions.”

        OKAY—-so pretty clearly someone is paying people to post fake comments in praise of Feliway. This “Casey” person keeps posting various cut-and-paste reviews that all start the same way and then say some blandly positive things about Feliway. I just bought the product myself, but having seen that the company apparently needs to boost their hype with bogus comments, I’m going to return it. FAKE REVIEWS SHOULD BE ILLEGAL.

  6. Well written article!

    One thing I have observed working with cats…the individualism is startling. From responses to nutrition, treatment plans, behavioural therapy, and anything to do with olfaction, the individual variation in response is amazing and significant!

    My guess is that the pheromone mess will continue until our studies start to ask even further defined questions (i.e. perhaps proxy’s other than physiological stress) in different ways. Tough to do (find a large enough cohort of potential responders, then double blind that…) and maybe even harder to find funding for it….but not impossible.

    I use feline facial pheromones, most often in combination with other olfactory aids that have some research behind them to suggest they are a good bet in terms of enrichment. And then the whole olfactory shebang is just a stepping stone so other positive associations that reduce stress or fear can be attempted. So while it might marketed as feel good spray, I always tell folks it’s a small piece in a larger puzzle. And maybe you don’t need it. Except we really underutilize olfactory conditioning in practise so you WANT to use it…

    And I think you hit the nail on the head – individual characteristics and method of application. You know what sucks? Using feliway for a year and then finding out you sprayed it all wrong because the little booklet that came in the box sucked…


    1. Excellent points and I always feel like the more I know…the more I know I don’t know! Perhaps a future blog post on olfactory enrichment and condition in cats is needed!!! Thanks for commenting!

  7. Excellent article and the summary of studies was very helpful. I completely agree with you that, given the price for iffy results, money may be better spent on various forms of enrichment or other resources that could be more effective in deterring marking behavior or reducing stress. I wonder if Feliway has any placebo effect on humans, making them feel a bit less worried about their cats spraying because they’ve “done” something to help the situation? Because cats tend to pick up on the emotions and anxiety of their people, do you think that if the human feels more confident (i.e., secure in feeling the Feliway is helping), cats might pick up on that, their own anxiety becomes reduced, and THAT leads to positive results? Hmmm – probably a stretch! Thanks for the information 🙂

    1. Yes. I believe when the owner is less stressed and when cats have many things like high shelves to walk/sleep, condos, pet fountains to drink from, quality foods, catnip, cardboard boxes, truly sufficient litter box options (consider locations/quantity:types of litter, large enough litter boxes etc then kitty stress levels are reduced, in my experience. Mine have a huge catio option too which is hugely enjoyed by all. These things are much better use of money than pheromone products. Just this crazy cat lady’s opinion.

  8. Thank you for the synopsis. We have two adult cats (one male, one female) and adopted a very young make kitten. The female is having issues, including weight loss, lack of appetite, etc. which we think is stress from the kitten. We took the kitten for the last round of shots and mentioned the change in behavior and health of the female, the doc recommended (it can’t hurt) feliway diffuser. So far, like Marci said, it’s probably in my mind that it’s helping….the female is still on top of the fridge.

    1. Shane, I hope you utilize some other solutions besides the Feliway…and definitely monitor your female cat’s health!

  9. As a starting point, my vet also recommended trying pheromone collars AND plugins though not a specific brand. I have 7 cats right now living in different areas but this was to address two specifically, one 10 y/o male who sprays all over my house all the time and attacks one of my females. 4 y/o, with increasing violence when he can get to her, in part because she acts like prey. This last fight, I got hurt but all the cats are behaving poorly now. For the spraying only, the male is in the restroom for two weeks to learn not to foul where he sleeps and eats (per the vets recommendation). They are both on medication now for anxiety. I’m also using Bach’s Rescue Remedy and a couple Jackson Galaxy remedies, the Rescue Remedy also being recommended by the vet. Both those cats are wearing pheromone collars and those alone are expensive, I haven’t gotten to the plugins yet which always have mixed reviews. It’s only been a week here but there is no improvement, the female continues to hide and stays mad about the medicating via pill gun (she won’t take a baited treat of any type or flavor). Your article was very informative and I’m not convinced by those studies that it works or is worth investing it. You’re right, it is very much an act of desperation to try it but I am desperate, though perhaps not that much.

    1. Melyssa,
      It sounds like you need some professional help from a veterinary behaviorist or qualified consultant. Confining your cat to the bathroom will “manage” the damage your cat to do, but won’t “retrain” cats – cats do not need training to use the litterbox. Regardless, it sounds like a situation that needs more help than pheromones or holistic remedies (which have no scientific evidence for efficacy). You need behavior and environmental modification, and perhaps mood-stabilizing medication (which is why a veterinary behaviorist would be helpful in assessing that.

      1. Sir, I didn’t anticipate a reply but thank you very much for responding. A behaviorist would be helpful but due to the expense, I’m what they’ve got. The vet did prescribe medication for the two, generic Elavil but I know this needs time to build up in their systems and is not a cure, nor am I expecting one just from that. I’ve added more litter boxes and water bowls around the house (everyone has their own food bowl and do not free feed) so to lessen any resource issues and, although they are of different ages and activity levels, I am trying to engage them in more play than before. Regretfully, I may also re-home, carefully and safely, the newest because she is not happy living here with so many cats and has begun excessively grooming- that will lessen some stress on the others as well. The pheromone collars and holistic remedies, with them it’s more that it isn’t harmful and if it does happen to help, all the better and it is in addition to the other steps. The behavior modification I just have to implement myself, but I’m willing to research what I don’t know.

          1. That requires an apology. Obviously the spelling of your name was lost on me, I’m very sorry. I’ve actually been called “sir” on the phone and I didn’t like that.

  10. We have four cats, two of whom have occasional behavioural problems. My only comment is that we can tell when the Feliway diffuser has run out because the younger female starts picking on the older more timid female, and one of the males also becomes more aggressive. When we look at the Feliway refill, it is invariably empty. So do we think it works? Yes, we do. Do we think it will work in all situations? No, because every cat household’s dynamic is different. Would I recommend it? Yes, because it’s worth a try and if you’re lucky, as we are, it will work extremely well.

    1. Hello,
      Out of interest as I found Feliway to be very helpful, I am reading through other peoples experiences. You remind me of our own house hold (3 cats) we generally all do ok until refill is overlooked 🙂 Totally agree with what you say about dynamics/situations being different, certainly worth a try & like you for us it works.

      1. I just wanted to comment. I have used their product since 2014 when I brought a 1 year old Street cat, not ferel, into my home with two middle-aged Pugs and one resident can who was four years old. All females. This product was amazing. The new kitty was having a lot of trouble settling in and attacking the Pugs, especially. We noted a decided change in her behavior with this product. I know this is anecdotal, but I was really skeptical as to whether it would work. I’m going to recommend it to a friend who has an elderly cat and just brought a small rabbit into the home as a pet for her seven-year-old daughter. I am
        a retired RN.

  11. From my experience , with my two male cats, I can honestly say that did notice a difference, but not in positive. The bully cat became even more aggressive than before and I immediately stopped using it and things just went back to the bullying stage. Another point that I find contradictory in the instructions for use is to not use it in the area of the home where there is more tension…so where does it go, since they LIVE in the house? I would not recommend it at all!

  12. Agree it would be great to have peer reviewed studies (not financially backed by product manufacturers). However, given the complexity of feline relationships and differences in household environments, I doubt that there is a way to set up a study that would definitively answer the question of efficacy of Feliway products. I wonder if folks who have previously posted realize that there are actually two types of Feliway products (that have different pheromones). I use the Feliway Multicat diffuser (appeasing pheromones vs the facial pheromones). I can tell when it runs out because my one cat gets “growly” with the other cats. Although it works in my situation, I do not believe that it would always be a magic bullet in solving extreme behavioral issues. Animals, like people, are individuals. Thus, what may work for some might not for others. Due to my experience, I would recommend giving it a try. But should it not yield acceptable results in your household, definitely consider contacting a reputable cat behavior expert to assist you in resolving your cat dynamic issues. Sometimes they can suggest minor changes (unfortunately these are not always obvious to the cat owner) that can make a world of difference and result in long term solutions.

  13. Hello,
    Out of interest as I found Feliway to be very helpful, I am reading through other peoples experiences. I must commend your very balanced & well written view, particularly paragraph from “Although it works in my situation……… that can make a world of difference and result in long term solutions.”

  14. Actually it does work and quite well. I’ve used Feliway in the recent months for my cat Gus. It works like a champ. He doesn’t meow/cry when in the car, at the vet or in our new home. I respect research but I’ll take my own results and run because if something works, I’m using it. My credentials are being a cat owner for 20+ years.

  15. Sheesh, I’ve been trying to dig through and figure out what’s truth and what isn’t with this stuff.. it’s quite an ordeal.
    I would like to point out though, that in what you wrote of the Mills and Mills 2001 study, “(5-70 times per week for the treatment group, and 8-58 times per week for the placebo group)” — this is incorrect. If you look at the article again, you’ll see it should be 5.70 and 8.58. The decimal is written as a dot in between the numbers for some god-only-knows bad formatting decision. If you look at the other similarly-written numbers in the study, you’ll see that this only makes sense (otherwise there was “a median level of weekly spraying of 9-0 in the treatment group” and other odd figures, as well as the equation
    (x)y=0-929-0-14x which obviously makes no sense lol).

    So that study did actually show a nice treatment effect, but as a review pointed out, it didn’t show relapse rates later.. so did it continue to work? Who knows! And as you pointed out, it was funded by Ceva (nice catch, thank you). So.. damn :/ There’s a mark on its reliability to begin with..

    1. Thanks for catching that mistake! I’m going to fix it right now. And let me know if you find anything else interesting about what the truth is and isn’t on Feliway. it’s obviously a very controversial subject based on the number of comments this post has received!

  16. Our experience with Feliway is this:
    We have 6 cats, when the Feliway was first plugged in, (in 2 places in the house) the cats all smelled the scent emitting from it. We can’t, but there is something for them to smell. The directions say to use for 3 months, well it’s been 3 months and nothing has improved, might be getting worse.
    Probably will discontinue use to save money. Don’t waste yours.

  17. My cat, Jo-el has had only 2 rides in her carrier (for 15 minute trips). She meow’s the whole time although she sometimes will sleep in the carrier at home. I’m guessing it’s more about the car than the carrier.The vet “recommended” to give Feliway a try and that it “May” help. We will be taking a long car ride in a few weeks (aprox. 3 days each way). The vet gave us Gabapentin capsules to help calm her. She is normally a very calm cat. I will purchase the Feliway collar for the trip, just to see if it helps during the drive. I like “natural” verses medicated. Love your information and you being honest as possible. I agree Feliway needs further investigation. I will stay alert to any mood changes and give you more input when we return.

  18. My cat, Jo-el has had only 2 rides in her carrier (for 15 minute trips). She meow’s the whole time although she sometimes will sleep in the carrier at home. I’m guessing it’s more about the car than the carrier.The vet “recommended” to give Feliway a try and that it “May” help. We will be taking a long car ride in a few weeks (aprox. 3 days each way). The vet gave us Gabapentin capsules to help calm her. She is normally a very calm cat. I will purchase the Feliway collar for the trip, just to see if it helps during the drive. I like “natural” verses medicated. Love your information and you being honest as possible. I agree Feliway needs further investigation. I will stay alert to any mood changes and give you more input when we return.

  19. I, in no way, dispute your extensive research & experience in your career. We all should know by now how these things work behind the scenes. ALTHOUGH…ha…I have tried Feliway Friends with fantastic results. My new Siamese (of two) came out from under the bed & became a cuddler within days. Granted, i still seperate the cats as all he did before was attack my other cat on sight (& me too often). But major progress, which to me WAS a miracle. I have had cats for many many years, & really researched & tried anything before the diffuser. To me, if people don’t bother or have time to adjust behaviour, then this is worth a try before rehoming. There is enough cats that are abandoned. If it does nothing, just don’t get a refill…yes?

    1. Just as a follow up, I would never consider anything a “cure-all”, and restarted behaviour modification now (with a compliant cat). I believe it’s the pet owners that need ‘fixing’…the cats are just being cats. Not devious or retaliatory…they don’t think like us…though the anthropomorphic trap happens to many of us!

  20. I have been using it for 3 months and it Definately appears to decrease my cats dress level. However, it ran out a week ago and I didn’t notice. My cat started throwing up and appearing to be confused. Was very cautious in her own environment. Once I put in refill, she did Not display any of these behaviors. My question is , is it possible she was withdrawing from pheromone.

    1. Karen,
      I have no idea, but that is an interesting question. I don’t think anyone knows how Feliway operates on the neurological systems that might be related to withdrawal.

      1. I’ve noticed interesting results and/or symptoms from both regular & Multicat versions. I first tried the regular Feliway diffuser for one cat, after a family member had moved out and the change in household routine had kitty only wanting to eat when someone was home, etc. With the diffuser she seemed to resume her prior usual habits. After a while she was suddenly very clingy, I was her new best friend…took a few days to realize the Feliway had run out. Plugged in a refill and shortly she was back to her friendly but aloof self. Until it ran out, and once again she got clingy.

        A few years later I’m trying the Multicat, for some peace in a 3 cat household, 2 more adult rescues have joined her, she was also an adult rescue. I thought Multicat was helping…though one of the males has never been much of a lap cat yet loves cuddling now. I thought it was cute that after 4 years he’s come around, and then wondered could the mama pheromones in Multicat spark bonding with me, instead of among them?? Which might defeat the intended purpose by fostering competition..?

        And now after reading your interesting article (thank you!), I’m disappointed at the lack of scientific studies, and very surprised. These diffusers have become so commonplace, recommended by professionals and pet owners, but do we know what these products actually do?? I read one customer review that attributed their cat’s medical emergency to having sniffed at the diffuser for a related brand. Sure, it’s just one person’s anecdote but anecdotes are pretty much the bulk of the ‘positive research’. There doesn’t seem to be any solid, objective research on these products that we have plugged into our homes, spewing something out at the level of our pets’ faces.

        1. I have two cats at loggerheads in our home.
          Feliway friends has not brought them together but actually made them friendlier to me and fight for my attention more rather than encourage them to interact pisitively together.
          It’s made things worse if anything.

  21. I’m trying the diffuser now but I can’t say there is an improvement. The four cats are snippy with each other and still seem to be snippy with or without the diffuser. It’s a mom and her 3 nearly 6 year old “kittens” and they all harass each other at times. I have the diffuser in my bedroom where we all spend the most time and I was woken up by a scuffle this morning. The rate of scuffles seems about the same to me. I was going to buy the spray for the rest of the house but think I’ll pass.

  22. Using this for over a year as a hail-mary for my 16 year old Bengal boy provided ZERO results. He’s probably too set in his ways. He’s the best and worst cat I’ve ever had. Acts more like a dog than a cat. He’s my buddy and is very smart. Talks to me all the time, follows me every where, still plays with the other 3 younger cats, and curls up on my neck to sleep at night like he’s always done. Having said that: If I would have realized what kind of potential a male Bengal (f4) has of being a sprayer/pee-on-anything/everything) I would have reconsidered. He’s peed all over my first 2 apartments, my 2 houses after that, my current apartment, and probably my new house I am building. He has all the toys in the worlds, multiple luxury litter boxes that I built from giant rubber-made bins, 3 other loving buddy cats, and even an expensive 300 dollar visit from a vet/pet-therapist. Her recommendations were things I’d already tried in the past and didn’t help. Long story short, I had 4 diffuser plug-ins running in an 1100 sq ft apartment for over a year and absolutely nothing changed at all. Do the math on that one. What a complete and utter waste of close to a thousand dollars. Side note: How do they get away with claiming 90% effective?

  23. Great article and follow-up comments. I’ve been wanting to write something similar on this topic on my pet sitting blog, but this article and the subsequent comments covered so well all that I was thinking about writing (and more) that I think I’m probably just going to write a brief intro and share this post instead! Thank you!

  24. I purchased this out of desperation – My previously well litter box trained kitty – 11 months – began not use her litter box. Box always clean and she had used it since I got her at 6 months.
    I plugged it in on Friday afternoon and by Saturday she was distressed and running around crazy; hair standing on end. Using everything but litter box. I’m getting rid of it!

  25. Edited to remove typos:
    I can honestly say I believe it to work. I brought a feral female kitten into our house, which already contained a one year old male. There was a lot of tension and we’d been working with them both almost 24 hours a day to integrate them, and make them feel comfortable. There was a lot of tension, which we attempted to negate with affection, training, treats etc. However, the play fighting always ended up losing the play element! I bought a Feliway Friend diffuser, and within two hours, I found them asleep in a cat basket together. We left it running 24/7 for a month (until it ran out) and decided they were then okay together. Gradually, however, we noticed aggression creeping back in. I bought another diffuser and it’s calmed them down once again. I can’t speak highly enough of these products. They certainly (in my opinion) help: even if only during the introduction process. Two very happy cats agree!

  26. Thank you so much for your effort in researching Feliway.
    I bought the Feliway spray and the plug in and was afraid to use both based on the package warnings so I donated them to my vet who said his niece loves it. I tried a generic form that was supposed to be safer but it did absolutely nothing.
    I have a kitty who gets so upset when he goes to the vet that his breathing becomes very labored. It’s very serious. It’s at the point just putting him the car causes him to freak out, and I’m guessing he smells and senses the fear in the environment of the vet’s office which causes him to amost stop breathing.
    I almost lost my “Licorice” last October due to Pneumonia and he had to be in an oxygen chamber. Just going to the vet almost puts him in that same dangerous breathing state. I wish there were something that would help him to relax that isn’t life threatening.

  27. Thank you for this. I was considering getting some of this stuff, but I’m not now. Another good thing to compare it to, in terms of cost: how many TNVR’s could this pay for?

  28. Dont think Feliway works at all. At least not for my adopted stray cat. When I plug it in she starts becoming more anxious and meowing non stop. When I unplug it…she starts to calm down and goes to sleep.

  29. 4 years ago, we took in our local library’s cat during construction, then ended up keeping him. We already had an adopted cat, and they did NOT like each other. Used Feliway in desperation after fights daily for the first 3 months they were together. Have to say I’m on the fence about its effectiveness, as although the fighting decreased, it only slowly dropped to the level of ‘detente’, which may have happened anyway. I stopped using the Feliway after 9 months, and didn’t see any notable change in the cats’ behavior thereafter. Based on my experience, I can’t recommend Feliway as an effective solution.

  30. From the look of these comments, it seems like it’s hit or miss with the Feliway. Personally, I have 2 cats of my own(brother/sister pair) but have recently taken in my mom’s cat, who was the only cat in the household for 13 years. He and my female were very aggressive toward each other despite acclimating them gradually for weeks. I got the Feliway plug ins, one for each level of my house. Within a few days, I noticed a huge decrease in the aggression by both cats. They could finally walk past each other without sparking a fight. They will also sit together on the couch with me now too. As soon as the diffuser runs out the fights start up again though. That’s usually my sign to replace the refill. I will note that the diffuser does leave a greasy residue on the wall sometimes.

  31. I have two cats, female is 15 and male is 9. Both gotten as kittens. About 2 years ago my male started urinating and pooping outside the litter box. Got a second box and eventually a third. They are cleaned daily, sometimes twice. I had them both checked out by vet to be sure there were not physical problems, first. They both came out with clean bill of health. They do not like each other and growl at each other but don’t actually fight. Vet recommended Prozac but I have had a problem with him ingesting his food. He smells it first and then, will not touch it with medication in it. Vet also recommended Feliway as a “possible” help. I am so reluctant to spend this much money on something that may not work. I’m a senior on a fixed income. Your comments seem to have more negative connotation then positive. HELP PLEASE. I am willing to try anything, even something I can’t afford, if it will help. My husband is at his wits end and ready to get rid of him and I can hardly bear the thought. Any offering of information outdoor be greatly appreciated.

    1. Hi Dale,
      If you are interested in getting help from a behavior consultant, I recommend you go to and find a consultant near you (or one who can help you via phone or skype) on their consultant locator!

  32. Thank you for this summary of the articles! As a soon-to-be cat owner I considered getting a pheromone diffuser as I had been recommended to use one. But I thought the whole concept seemed somewhat strange – the companies, as far as I understood, use the logic that cats mark their territory using pheromones, which calms, which is why synthetic pheromones would help. That didn’t make much sense to me, since each individual cat ought to have its own pheromone pattern. Otherwise they wouldn’t be able to recognize whether they are in their own territory or not. So anyway, I tried to look up the research that had been done using Google Scholar, but apart from the meta-analysis study looking at behavior problems that you mention, it was hard getting an overview. This article changed all that! And especially considering the heat issues some users mention here and on other sites, I’ve decided not to even give these products a chance.

  33. I have a 1 1/2 year old male cat (that we got as an 8 week old kitten) and he is often kindof mean to our 16 year old female cat. I have used Feliway plug in’s, but not really sure it is working. That’s why I looked up this page. It would be nice if it worked really well.

  34. Years ago when my other cat N was still with us, I moved house and used Feliway. N was really calmer than usual, very relaxed. I thought it worked for her. W on the other hand was very stressed, don’t know if by the move or maybe now that I read this by Feliway itself as we moved again a few times after that and she has never been as disturbed. Like mental health medicine for humans could it be it doesn’t work the same for every cat? W seems stressed right now and I was thinking of using it but I will not. Thanks for the article.

    1. Feliway can and does work. As my last veterinarian said “Most cats respond well to it but not all, some cats it doesn’t seem to work on – but it’s worth trying, I highly recommend it”.

      I buy a refill for the diffuser for my cat if I feel the situation or her emotional need requires it. Most of the time she doesn’t, despite her lifelong high anxiety. I have used it sometimes for a few months on end then discontinued use with no ill effects.

      It can and does work and is well worth trying. Feliway will not work for every cat or situation – YMMV (your mileage may vary), and a good veterinarian should be advising you of that.

      Far from a ringing endorsement of CEVA’s Feliway, I get very annoyed because every diffuser refill I have bought except one the wick dries up in use (bone dry).

      I’m very thankful to whomever posted exactly the same problem with the diffuser refills and the workaround (here is the link: – you have to remove the diffuser from the socket and leave it to wick up again overnight or about 7-8 hours. Personally I remove the refill from the diffuser and re-cap it with the lid it came with (always keep the lid/s and box/es they come in if it happens – it might out of the blue!) and put it back in the box overnight or 6-8 hours. Smearing a little of the carrier oil from the rim onto the (cold) wick can speed up the process a little.

      I’m sure removing the diffuser and setting it aside works too. Whatever you do, let the wick cool down a bit before recapping it or handling it.

      Ceva continuously deny this problem exists. I am very grateful that with the very first use when it happened someone had posted a workaround. It’s not due to placement or an old diffuser. I bought a second diffuser in a recent literal life or death crisis to “bomb” my house with Feliway, the only refill out of 15 I have used in 2.5 years which diffused steadily without a hitch did so happily in the 5 year old diffuser gifted to me by my aunt due to Feliway having no effect on her cat (the “miracle bottle” which never dried up I tried in the new diffuser too, it made no difference) whilst the other bottle which has been the worst bottle for the wick drying up prematurely (nine times thus far, and a centimetre of liquid further to diffuse) was in the new diffuser! I swapped them etc, different placements, no difference.

      Typically if it occurs it will happen in the first few days, and largely I have found it will happen 1-4 times per refill.

      I know many Feliway diffuser users don’t have this problem but I do, and obviously others do too. Thank God for the person who posted the workaround – it’s a nuisance having to check the wick/s daily (or suddenly noticing puss is “acting funny” and sure enough, you check the wick – bone dry and plenty still left).

      Ceva, on this issue lift your game! It’s a pharmaceutical product from a pharmaceutical company with a pricetag to match: Australian dollars $38-50 per refill bought singly), so this type of poor quality control or bottle design/seal is pretty unfair.

      I find I get about 24 days out of each refill.

      Feliway – it CAN work for you and your cat/s. No promises, but definitely worth a try. My heart goes out to those whose cats have had their behavioural problems worsen, but it IS a product worth trialling, without hesitation.

      If it works it works in your situation, if not – not. It seems to help a lot of cats but definitely not all.

      I will finish again with this: Ceva, stop ignoring the wick drying up prematurely issue. IT EXISTS. I’m not insane, and just like myself I’m sure many others have had it happen and did an internet search “Feliway wick drying up” and found the link I posted and now grimly use the workaround. It’s an insanely ridiculous QC issue (14 bottles out of 15 over 2.5 years) on an expensive pharmaceutucal product.

      I wonder also how many people just threw the whole thing out and went “useless!” without checking online?

      Please Ceva, stop ignoring the issue, I have repeatedly pointed out the thread to yourselves and “We have never heard of this issue” has worn too thin by now. That thread is from 2013!

      Great if pricey product if your cat/s respond to it or the situation. Feliway DOES work, and markedly so for some cats, but it may not work AT ALL. Please fellow posters, if it doesn’t work for your cat/situation – it’s not helpful to just say “It’s useless”. It didn’t work or worsened the situation with your cat/s. Acknowledge it can work for other cats, a good veterinarian will advise it doesn’t work for all cats – but it is certainly worth a try, as the results can be quite remarkabke.

  35. Great article, thank you so much for taking the time to do this. A few days in of Feliway friends diffuser. No change noted so far apart from one of my cats (a Middle Aged Calico female) attacked the diffuser or was playing with it. She is also sensitive to catnip and it makes her aggressive so I wonder if there is a correlation. Not sure if I should stop it or not because I don’t know if her attacking it is a sign she’s reacting badly. Would love anyone’s opinions.

  36. My cat begins yowling as soon as the lights are turned out at night. The vet suggested the Feliway diffuser as opposed to serious drugs. It was useless. I’m not even sure the diagnosis (anxiety) was correct.

  37. I have 3 cats since birth and one of them is very anxious, following me around and meowing desperately when she knows I’m going out or to sleep. I bought Feliway for her and it seems to have an effect. When I put it on she calms down and stops meowing and following me everywhere. She purrs, looks content and sleepy, sometimes she even rolled around on her back like a kitten within 30 minutes of putting the diffuser on due to her nervous mood. It has less of an effect on the 2 others; it might make them sleep for longer periods. I’ve been using it on and off throughout the day, but never when I’m out because the diffuser feels warm to the touch. However, when I left it on for most of the day yesterday and today, I noticed that at night the anxious cat started acting very playful but in a hyper/twitchy and aggressive way, so I switched off the diffuser. I think it might not be a good idea to have it on constantly because either the cat can get de-sensitized to it, or it may even lead to overstimulation and aggression. Just my objective observations. It seems to work best when switched on and off as needed. It’s less expensive to use that way too.

  38. I’m SO skeptical of their claims, especially at the price they charge, and I wish we had a definitive answer. I haven’t seen any difference in feline stress at clinics that use their Classic product in their exam rooms, but I finally broke down and brought a diffuser for the Multicat/Friends formula when we were struggling with introducing my roommate’s new cat. Its been a long, slow process with food rewards, site-swapping, etc. I didn’t notice the Feliway making a difference, but a few days ago, when the cats’ conflict seemed to be unexpectedly ramping back up, I looked down and noticed that the diffuser was empty. So here I am, buying a refill, just in case. I KNOW I’m being suckered, but I can’t convince my dumb monkey brain of that.

  39. I’m interested to know if anyone has seen an increase in aggression between cats with the multicat diffuser? I bought one to try to help my cats feel more comfortable with a kitten and within an hour of plugging it in, my cats were fighting. I don’t know if it’s just a coincidence of that’s when the tipping point just happened to tip or if the feliway diffuser caused the issue. I have them separated and will do a slow reintroduction but I’m worried the multicat formulation might be bad. In googling I came across this article and I am among those who recommend feliway but only as an addition to environmental changes, and I never make it a must with my recommendations. I’ll be sure to downplay that recommendation till I can see more studies.

    1. I second that – have tried both Feliway Classic and Friend, but also ThunderEase during introducing 3 year old Bengal to 2 kittens. Bengal is not impressed and he got aggressive from these diffusers. Not aggressive previously. So still on the journey, but not using feromones. Some cats do have quite the opposite reaction. When I remove the stuf, he comes down after about a day. Zilkene and pet remedy…… Same story! So we are left to nature and hope. Not playing with his mind, using syntetics ever again.

  40. I just ordered the diffuser and spray. After reading these reviews, i may return them. I have a very serious probkem with redirected aggression…..toward me. I rescued a tiny kitten a year ago. I was going to introduce her slowly to my two adult spayed females. I found her in the top of a spruce tree after leaving feed out for her for a week. I kept her in the garage and later when winter came in the laundry room. Then I put my adult cats in locked off area and let new kitten have several hours of house time a day. Then comes spring and i have one of those cat fences put in. I would take her out of garage and put her in fenced area. Then one day, one of my adult cats was in a window facing fenced area. New cat goes ballistic and attacks me and will not let go. This has happened twice….once when i leaned down to touch her and had just been petting other cat. Anyway, the fence seems to make her very nervous now. The vet said let her loose outside in daytime and try to get her in garage at night. Vet said there wasn’t much hope and said she may have to be euthanized. I will not do that. I live in Illinois but University of Illinois discontinued their behavior program last year. Now i am afraid tomtry Feliway because some reviews say it causes more aggression.

    1. Becky,
      You may want to look into a behavior professional who might be able to help you locally or remotely.

  41. I tried it, Mikel – in anticipation of an upcoming travel trip. My cat freaked out, and she seemed to respond as if there was another cat somewhere in the house – that is, another cat that she could neither see nor hear. She hid behind furniture, under a bed, and amidst items in my attached garage. She even made a dash for my front door when opened, which is something she has never – ever – done before.

  42. Your article is a hoot and very well researched. Thanks. You just saved me a bunch. I thought i would try Feliway again for my cat brood — they are the shyest of all my rescues and likely will never be adopted so they are forever mine! However, they are the feline version of West Side Story with the Sharks being led by my fattest cat, Orca, who with his merry band of impotent followers, block the other cats’ access to the inner sanctum and the porch. My house looks and smells like a cat shelter but hey, with a screened in porch and cat door and they will be happy for years to come. One thing that DOES work is the Bissell Crosswave Pet. Saves my sanity.

  43. Thankfully I got up three hours early. When I opened the closet door my cat came tearing out, it had a heavy heavy burned electric smell. Product had been in use less than 3 weeks. I called Feliway, was told to throw it away. I asked if they’d had any prior reports, got mumbles I couldn’t understand. Even after asking for repeats. I suggested they send me a pre-paid mailer so I could send it to them, their QC people could tell me what was wrong. “Well, you can just go get a refund.” “How do I get a refund if I send it to you?” “Lots of stores will give you one if you just tell them they should.” I’ve asked for somebody way-higher in the food chain to call me back. Doubt seriously it’s gonna happen. I’m a retired attorney, its worth the filing fee to sue them in Dallas County just to get their attention. Cat immediately crawled back in the niche she hid in for the first 5 days she was here, refuses to come out. Feliway obviously knows it’s a problem, obviously doesn’t give a damn. Spread the word, its super-dangerous to your cat.

  44. WOW. 1ST of all thank you Michael for the in depth research and all other responders for the personal experience testimonies. Our situation at the time (3 years ago) was 3 cats in our home: 1 spayed female 14 yrs and 2 neutered males 9 and 10….. all were rescues and had been together for almost 10 tears without serious problems. Out of nowhere the 2 males began to fight. Very abnormal as they slept together and groomed each other regularly. The fighting got progressively worse and they were really starting to hurt each other. We were facing a potentially awful decision to find another home for one of the guys. Out of desperation we tried Feliway Friends. We put 3 diffusers (one on each floor) in the house and had the spray on hand as well. The fighting ceased immediately. On 3 occasions since, when we let one of the diffusers run dry we had fighting. Replenish it and no problems. It certainly seems with our pets in our environment that FF has been very effective at solving the fighting problem. Yes I wish it was not so expensive. Our annual spend is a approximately $500 Canadian, but thankfully we can afford it.

  45. I know this is an old post but I was so happy to come across it while doing some research and wanted to say thank you. I used Feliway years ago to try to curb problematic spraying in a cat who just liked to pee on things (he had no physical issue causing the spraying). He pulled the diffuser out of the wall and peed on it.

    Nonetheless, having just taken in an elderly feral who was losing her safe outdoor home and is not pleased with living inside mine, I wanted to see if Feliway could help calm her. Based on your collection of studies, I’m not going to try it, I’ll just give her more hiding places and excellent treats.

  46. I’m currently taking the Fear Free certification program to complete two final credits of veterinary school.
    I noticed in the Fear Free modules that they really push the use of pheromones. It seems like every other slide mentions them, and on the module quizzes they often have them as answers to questions. They never talk about what evidence shows that pheromone therapy works, they just mention them like their efficacy is a well-known fact. Turns out, Ceva is also one of the major sponsors of Fear Free. Makes me suspect that that’s why they mention pheromone sprays so much in their training modules. It’s frustrating, though, because I know so many students who take these modules, and I think they just assume that there is strong evidence that pheromone sprays are effective because they are mentioned so frequently in the modules.

  47. i just read through the comments and I would agree with the Mikel Delgado that it might or might not work. every cat is going to have it’s own personal scent that it marks with and a one size fits all makes no sense to me .

  48. I just purchased feliway diffuser for the area in our home where confrontations happen the most and it seemed to be working until we go to sleep then the fighting starts. I should also add that out resident cat is a 6 year old male with a lot of maincoon in him. He is fixed and we kept his claws..I don’t support declawing any animal. He is very social, indoor /outdoor cat. very loving and gets along great with our 2 dogs. We recently adopted a 13 year old female, she is declawed.. I think her behavioral problems may stem from that? She was mostly an indoor cat with her previous owner, and fought with her other cat mates but since she moved in, We did the slow introduction and gave her a base camp to feel comfy its been 5 months and we have been letting her outside so she can bird watch and try to rekindle her natural cat ways…our hope was they would get along but its been a constant territory battle, hence why I bought this feliway. Not sure what to do next…I’ve emailed Jackson Galaxy 20 times and have had no luck…after tonight’s fight breakup I was bit and scratched by her. She is now going to stay outdoors permanently. Not sure what else to do.

  49. Only a question concerning what i have not got yet from all these comments…
    I have a three year old female cat that goes into heat.(normal i know) was curious if anyone sees a decrease in meowing mewing and the like while using this product. She is a sweetie all the time. Tried heating oads, more massages, catnip playtimes. Just at night she can get … Well normal i guess…
    Anyways would this help allay any of that?

      1. Absolutely thats a fact. Just really wanted one litter for the girl. Shes a hemingway and is just so different from any other cat i had in my life.
        Thanks for the reply

  50. I paid $54 for a bottle of feliway spray to try for my 11 year old cat his attitude has become more aggressive and hes very jumpy at any sound, and hes in pain from arthritis (just diagnosed), so the vet recommended feliway. I sprayed it on his blanket and the lounge where he sleeps. He wouldnt go near his blanket or sit in his usual spot where i sprayed, he avoided it completely. The other cats smelled it and backed away. Good one vet, a quick $54 extra for nothing on the already expensive bill. A very expensive small bottle of apparently stinky water. Back to the vet next week for anxiety medication to help with his pacing and meowing around 430am every morning. Hes on medication for his arthritis, I leave a night light on for him, and the heater as its quite cold in my part of AUS at the moment. I wonder if I’ll get a refund on the useless feliway water? I don’t think so ..

    1. It has to be said that the delivery method may be significant (I’d opt for a diffuser, not a targeted application), and there’s some thought it may not elicit the same responses in all cats.

  51. Thank you for posting, there was a lot of useful information. We too were quite skeptical about a product just based on the nature of it, no smell or a lot of people raving about the product I should say. We adopted two cats once our neighbors moved and left them behind, but we’ve already had an indoor Kitty whom is now 14 years old. There was a bit of aggression, even though all the cats are a bit older and house trained. So we got the diffuser and within a few days we noticed that when all three cat’s were together in the apartment that there was less aggression towards one another. Our Kitty does now lay on her scratch that is closer to the diffuser and seems to be much more relaxed. Like many other people, I can’t comment on if it affected if there were spraying or scratching more or less, but all three of the cats have their own little scratch posts and their toys and two of them get to go outside on a regular basis so that wasn’t the initial reason why we purchased the diffuser.

  52. Thank you for this well researched and well written article! I myself have bought feliway in a very desperate moment when I nearly thought of giving my cat away from all the behavior issues (the spca vet actually recommended feliway for bloody urine marking before antibiotics) and always felt it seemed like modern snake oil. It bothered me that anytime I used feliway spray or diffuser my air purifier would go insane saying I had severely polluted my air. I kept getting emails about a class action lawsuit against feliway and found this article when looking for the details on that and am impressed with your scientific approach to cats!

    1. Not to repeat what others have written, but it seems like this product works for some cats and not for others.

      It works for me…
      First using Feliway Friends, that significantly helped on the agression between my cats.
      And now I have tried using Feliway Optimum, always suspicious about “New improved formula!!!!”, but I must admit it works significantly better that FF. It works better FOR MY CATS.

      All I can say is: It is really worth to try.
      And yes, it might be that it does not work for your cats, but if it (really) works, I think it is totally worth it.

      My cats no longer fights, and I’m no longer stressed out over their fighting.

  53. Interesting info, thank you. Not related to the “spraying” issue but we had 2 male cats that were together for 8 years in our house. Out of the blue they started fighting. The intensity of the fighting got progressively worse. We were at our wits end and contemplating the unthinkable of having to get one of them a new home. I heard about Feliway “Friends”. I was really skeptical but we had no other ideas. It worked immediately (diffuser). On 2 subsequent occasions when we inadvertently let the diffuser run out the fighting resumed. I realize this is far from a defendable “experiment” but it is our honest experience.

  54. I used the spray on furniture where my cat had been scratching and seemed agitated. I also sprayed it on bedding as the vet seemed to indicate that this might help her feel calmer. She had been diagnosed with idiopathic cystitis. It appeared to stop the scratching, so that is good, but now she won’t use her favorite place to sleep, which had been her “calm” place, so that’s a bummer! I will have to wash her bedding and see if it helps. The directions were very unclear about where to spray, but it didn’t really make sense to me to spray it BOTH where you don’t want the cat to scratch and ALSO on the cats familiar comfortable sleeping places. It may work differently for different cats, but I would not recommend using it on bedding!

  55. My cat has sprayed for years. Multiple times a week/day. Feliway has been the ONLY thing to stop him. Feliway for daily use, and if something arises out of his daily routine I’ll give him Rescue Remedy. As long as I remember that Rescue Remedy prior to a change in his routine, there’s no spraying. He’s 9 years old and I’ve dealt with his spraying since he started maturing. First he sprayed cuz he was a Tom then after he got neutered the neutering seemed to have caused him anxiety, and he’d spray to comfort himself. In those 9 years he sprayed every day yet this year when I implemented the Feliway+Rescue Remedy he stopped. He’s also more playful. Instead of pacing around trying to find where he was gonna spray next he’s either chilling out or finding something to play with.

  56. Interesting, I got the multicat one in prep for a new addition and my current teenage cat (whom I’m thought was a pure tabby but I reckon there’s bengal which i never even wanted in there) went absolutely wild, with the single cat when he was a kitten then the multicat. Totally coming at me like a target. it’s horrible. I’m going to unplug the one I’ve had now and hope that the introduction between the two goes more smoothly. He’s become aggressive but i reckon he has underlying fear. Poor fella.

    Dr. Delgado thank you for all the knowledge you share and you’re really the brains behind Jackson G. we know it!

  57. Thank you for your research and your article. We tried Feliway on mutliple occasions and never had any positive results -and as detailed above, it’s a lot to pay for a product that does nothing.

  58. We’ve been using the Feliway Optimum diffuser for about a week and my 13 year old male cat attacked my 5 year old male cat today. My cats have NEVER been aggressive with each other, especially to the point of fighting. I can’t help but wonder if the diffuser caused this because nothing else in the house has changed. We only got this because the 5 year old has anxiety issues (doesn’t cause aggression though). Definitely going to toss it if this behavior continues.

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