These diffusers claim to help calm nervous cats or ease the introduction of a new cat into a household with established feline residents. They supposedly achieve this by releasing artificial versions of pheromones that mimic those naturally produced by cats. Let’s take a closer look at the science behind these chemical signals and find out if they’re both safe and effective.
You might also read: A Diet Plan That is Best For Your Mental and Physical Health
How Do Cats Use Pheromones?
Pheromones are chemical signals that help members of the same species convey important messages through their sense of smell. Cat calming diffusers utilise synthetic versions of two key feline pheromones to address behaviour problems related to stress and anxiety.
Firstly, there’s the F3 facial-marking pheromone. When your cat rubs their face on your furniture or belongings, they’re leaving behind a specific message that only they (and other cats) can interpret. This pheromone signals, “This is my home,” potentially helping your cat feel more secure and less stressed.
Secondly, there’s the feline appeasing pheromone. This specific pheromone is naturally released from a mother cat’s mammary gland during nursing. Research suggests that it might foster feelings of safety and security, promoting bonding among cats.
How to Use Pheromone Diffusers in Your Home
Pheromone diffusers work by heating pheromone oil, gradually releasing it into the air in your home. If you have just one cat, a diffuser with the F3 facial-marking pheromone may help your anxious cat feel calmer, reducing stress-related behaviours like urinating outside the litter box, hiding, excessive grooming, and restlessness.
For homes with multiple cats, opt for a multi-cat calming diffuser with the feline-appeasing pheromone. This can assist cats in the same household in accepting each other, minimising fights or bullying, and fostering a more harmonious relationship.
So, Do Cat Pheromone Diffusers Actually Work?
It’s a bit complex. While research on these diffusers is still in the early stages, there is some evidence suggesting they can help calm anxious cats and reduce tensions between cats (or even cats and dogs) sharing a home. However, they’re not a magical solution.
Studies showing success in decreasing aggression between cats involved using the diffuser as part of a behaviour modification program. This program included education on understanding cat behaviours and implementing positive conditioning and redirection to handle aggressive situations. In cases where diffusers were solely relied upon to calm stressed cats, they showed no noticeable effect.
Are Cat Calming Diffusers Safe?
In general, cat calming diffusers are considered safe if used according to the manufacturer’s instructions. However, it’s crucial to avoid direct contact with the pheromone liquid. Most diffusers use a paraffin-based oil, which can be harmful if swallowed and may be fatal if it enters the airways. Additionally, when the pheromone oil evaporates, it releases airborne pollutants. While these may not visibly harm humans or cats, they can pose a severe health risk to caged birds and aquarium fish. It’s essential to steer clear of using diffusers in places where fish or birds might be exposed to pheromone vapours.
Every cat is unique, and the effectiveness of diffusers can vary. If you’re using a diffuser to calm an anxious cat or prevent conflicts among cats in your home, consider combining it with other training tools to reinforce positive behaviours. Your veterinarian can offer valuable advice on using diffusers and other techniques to comfort an anxious or aggressive cat.
Cat calming diffusers can be a helpful tool in managing anxiety and promoting harmony among feline companions in your home. When used as directed, they are generally considered safe, but it’s crucial to avoid direct contact with the pheromone liquid, especially since it may contain substances that could be harmful if ingested. Additionally, be mindful of potential risks to caged birds and aquarium fish due to airborne pollutants when using these diffusers.
Remember that every cat is unique, and while some may benefit significantly from diffusers, it’s essential to complement their use with other training tools for optimal results. Consulting with your veterinarian can provide tailored guidance on how to effectively use diffusers and implement additional techniques to address specific behavioural concerns in your cat.