Feliway Review: Does It Work and Is It Worth It?
Feliway is a family of pet care products designed to ease anxiety in cats.
This collection of diffusers, sprays, and scratching post dyes work to deliver calming, community-building pheromones to cats so that they stop acting out by spraying, hiding under the furniture, or fighting with other pets.
But is Feliway all gimmick, or can the right scent truly convince your cat to use the litter box more often? We’ll look closer at this product line here.
Feliway sells four main products at the time of writing: a single cat and multi-cat diffuser, a travel spray, and a scratching post spray. We’ve highlighted the details between them below:
Feliway Classic Diffuser
This diffuser works to fill a room with “happy messages” that naturally keep your cat relaxed. It’s designed to mimic the smell that a cat leaves behind when rubbing their face up against people or furniture, which naturally relaxes them when they smell it again.
Cats that are stressed don’t leave these messages, which starts a negative feedback loop where they become more anxious because they don’t smell them. These anxious cats are more likely to exhibit problem behavior.
This diffuser can be used to address this pheromone shortage by sharing these happy messages with your pet. It can combat spraying outside the litterbox, reduce anxiety, or ease a transition like a move, renovation, or introduction of a new pet.
To use the diffuser, you’ll need to plug it in in the room where your cat spends the most time or where they have been spraying. Multiple diffusers may be necessary if the problem is in several rooms within the house. The company recommends against using the diffusers in hallways or near the litterbox because these aren’t spaces cat typically spend much time.
Once plugged in, you might start noticing differences in your cat’s behavior within seven days, though the company recommends using it continuously for at least a month before deciding whether it works.
Feliway Classic shouldn’t be used as a substitute for medical treatment if your cat is dealing with health issues beyond stress. In these instances, you’re better off going directly to a vet.
Feliway MultiCat Diffuser
The MultiCat Diffuser works on a slightly different principle. It mimics the scent of pheromones mother cats send to their kittens, which creates a harmonious bond between them. These scents are useful for maintaining relationships for cats of all ages, even if they’ve gotten into tiffs together before.
Feliway suggests using the MultiCat Diffuser when you have two or more cats living together in tension. However, it won’t resolve the underlying territorial problems if you make your cats share a litter box or food bowls, so having a separate set for each cat should be your first course of action.
The MultiCat Diffuser is used much in the same way as the classic version. You’ll want to plug it in a space in your home that gets a lot of cat traffic and isn’t blocked by furniture or directly under an open window.
One diffuser will cover an area of up to 700 square feet, and it should last for 30 days of continual use before needing a refill. Your room will be saturated with the scent within 24 hours of use. If you anticipate a future cat confrontation situation, it’s best to turn on the diffuser 2-3 days in advance to prep the room with pheromones.
Feliway Classic Spray
If you’re looking for a more flexible option than a diffuser, the Feliway Classic Spray is a smart choice. It’s designed for spraying on surfaces your cat will interact with when they need some extra calming.
For instance, you can spray down a cat carrier before travel or use it in places where your cat is peeing or scratching the furniture. The company suggests spraying at least 8-10 pumps at every application.
The spray should last up to five hours after applying, and you should let the surface air out for at least ten minutes before letting the cat come in contact with it. Never spray your cat directly.
Again, if the spraying is due to a medical problem beyond a bad temperament, then you’ll need to address the situation with your vet.
The Feliscratch is designed to get your cat more excited about their scratching post so that they leave your furniture alone. It changes the habits of older cats and to teach kittens where it’s appropriate to scratch from their first weeks.
The company website states that cats communicate with each other through the “visual messages” they leave through scratching. Feloscratch sends these messages to cats and directs them to scratch where it’s applied, rather than your furniture.
To use, apply the included liquid to the post in two or three vertical lines. You’ll want to do so over a sink or protected surface so that the blue dye doesn’t stain your floor. Allow it to dry for at least five minutes before use. You’ll need to apply the product daily to your pet’s scratching post for a week, then limit it to one dose a week for the next two weeks.
Place the scratching post right next to the furniture your pet typically prefers to scratch so that they find it when the impulse strikes them. As they adjust to scratching the post instead, you can move it where you prefer to keep it long term.
The company states that you’re likely to start seeing behavioral changes within a week, though it’s best to use the product for the full four weeks for long term results. If your pet reverts to scratching, consider starting the program over again and spraying the Feliway Classic spray on the surfaces you don’t want your pet to scratch.
Feliway doesn’t sell its products directly through its website but instead lists several retailers that carry them. We made the following chart to show the comparison in prices between three popular options.
|Feliway Diffuser||$35.99||$18.89||$46.50 for a two-pack|
|Feliway MultiCat Diffuser||$35.99||$16.54||$16.54|
|Feliway Diffuser Refill||$22.49||$10.29||$11.71|
|Feliway Classic Spray||$31.49||$16.73||$23.20|
As this chart shows, it pays to shop around. Prices are significantly lower at Chewy than PetSmart and often beat Amazon, so we suggest you do some browsing to find the best deals.
Amazon reviews abound for Feliway products. What do they say about their effectiveness? We found that this product line has fair to middling reviews and averages about 3-4 stars per product, with Feliscratch earning the lowest rating.
Those who took a negative perspective wrote that the products didn’t seem to change their cat’s behavior or that the changes they experienced didn’t last long.
A few thought it was too expensive for how often they need to purchase replacements. In a few instances, reviewers claimed that the inner part of their diffusers got hot enough to melt and smoke, potentially causing a fire hazard.
Others wrote glowing reviews about how much Feliway changed their cat’s behavior. Many people noted that their cats were getting along with each other for the first time once they started using the spray. A few also noted their pets were aggressively attacking their scratching posts and leaving the carpet and furniture intact.
Some of these positive reviewers noted that Feliway products only worked once they followed the instructions exactly.
For instance, one person said she didn’t have any luck getting her cat excited about the Feliscratch-covered scratching post until she put it right next to the chair leg the cat was tearing to shreds. After a few weeks of the cat giving its undivided attention to the post, she moved the post into a corner where she preferred it.
Now that we’ve run through the product basics, it’s time to decide whether Feliway is worth your purchase.
Unfortunately, that’s not an easy question to answer. We couldn’t find much conclusive published research about its efficacy, though an analysis of multiple studies in the Hartpury Student Research Journal determined that the research conducted so far shows variable results. The study concludes that cats are individuals and don’t all respond to the scents in the same way.
Likewise, Feliway divides customers on whether this artificial pheromone spray can modify a cat’s behavior. Many people reported almost immediate success while others thought their cats were immune to its effects.
One reason for this discrepancy is that anxiety is only one cause of behavioral problems in pets.
According to PetHelpful, urinary tract infections, undiagnosed diabetes, and kidney stones can all cause pets to pee outside their litter box. In these instances, pheromones won’t make any difference until you can address the root cause of your pet’s discomfort.
Likewise, Feliway products will only work if you use them correctly. The company warns that it’s necessary for the scents to fill the whole space your cat spends their time in, and putting the diffusers under furniture, in hallways, or under open windows will prevent the pheromones from spreading throughout the room.
Overall, we think enough people have found success with Feliway for this product to be worth a try if you’re at your wit’s end with your cat’s behavior.