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Pheromones are great to help calm a stressed or anxious cat and can be used in many situations. Find out more about cat pheromones in our guide.

What are cat pheromones?

Pheromones are the name for the scent cats produce to communicate with each other. There are a few different types of cat pheromone that have different purposes, including:

  • facial pheromones – your cat leaves these on objects (and you) when they rub their face on something. It’s their way of marking things as safe and helps them feel more secure
  • pheromones in urine – you might have noticed that cats, especially males, scent mark out and about (and sometimes in the house). This is to mark their territory and let other cats know where they have been
  • pheromones in paws – when cats scratch, they have glands near their paws which release pheromones. Much like the ones in their urine, these are used to mark territory


What are artificial cat pheromones?

Cat pheromones can be made artificially and put into sprays, diffusers, wipes, etc. These mimic a cat’s facial pheromones, the ones that help them to feel safe, secure and relaxed.

Pheromone therapy

Owners will often use pheromones to help their cat when they are showing signs of stress. You can read more about stress in our guide.

Remember it is important to find the cause of any signs of stress in your cat. We’d always recommend visiting your vet if their behaviour suddenly changes.

There are a number of ways you can help your cat using pheromones, including:

  • using their own pheromones. Gently rub a clean cotton cloth on your cat’s cheek to collect their pheromones, then rub this on cat-height objects (table legs, the edges of sofas and chairs etc.). This will spread around their familiar smell to help them feel safe and happy. You’ll need to do this a couple of times a day
  • pheromone diffusers. Plug-in pheromone diffusers slowly release artificial pheromones which we can’t smell, but cats can. These mimic their own pheromones and help them to feel safe
  • pheromone sprays. Artificial pheromone sprays are ideal for using on things like blankets, cat carriers for vet visits and your cat’s bedding to help relax them
  • pheromone wipes. You can use pheromone wipes to wipe over objects your cat comes into contact with, such as their cat carrier, to help keep them calm

You can find out more about artificial pheromones and purchase a diffuser through our partners, Feliway.

How long does it take for cat pheromones to work?

If you’re using cat pheromones to help calm your cat, there’s no set timeline for how long they will take to have any effect. Each cat is different and some owners may see an immediate change within a few days of using a product while others may not see a change for a week or so.

It’s important that you don’t just use pheromone products to relieve your cat’s stress and anxiety. You will likely need to find the cause and make other changes alongside using these products to help your cat. If your vet has ruled out medical causes, then a referral to a qualified behaviourist, such as a member of the Animal Behaviour and Training Council, can help to develop a tailored behaviour plan for your cat.

Are pheromones harmful to humans and other pets?

Humans cannot smell cat pheromones as our sense of smell is not good enough, so they cause no harm to us at all but can be really useful for our cats.

If you have a dog in the house, artificial cat pheromones in diffusers and sprays won’t affect them as long as they are used correctly. Products such as the ones by Feliway are made specifically for cats, so won’t help to calm your dog. Separate dog pheromone products are available.

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