Using Synthetic Cat Pheromones to Stop Spraying Behaviors

Some experts advocate the use of synthetic cat pheromones to treat spraying behavior. Cats spray for a wide variety of reasons, and while many can be addressed by simply altering the environment, other situations may require methods such as the use of synthetic pheromones to handle the problem.

Spraying Behavior Explained

While unneutered adult male cats are typically the most common culprits, males are not the only ones who spray; females may do it just as often. Both sexes spray for a lot of the same reasons, including:

  • Marking territory
  • Sexual advertisement
  • Jealousy
  • Displeasure or agitation
  • Unmaintained litter box
  • Stress
  • Physical ailment

Simply cleaning the litter box or helping your cat manage his or her stress can sometimes eliminate spraying behavior when factors such as a new environment are not present. Your cat may also display other behavior indicating a problem that resulted in spraying.

Synthetic Pheromones and Stress Management

Many synthetic pheromones on the market today are geared towards calming and stress management. These mimic pheromones known as "facial pheromones." Cats often use these to mark their territory-particularly in new homes. Synthetic pheromones attempt to make the cat feel as though the territory is familiar, thus calming the cat and potentially reducing the need to spray or scratch.

Pheromones Must Be Inhaled

To be properly effective, your cat must inhale the synthetic pheromones. Cats will smell the pheromones and consciously act upon them. As a result, you will find synthetic pheromone diffusers that can be used in areas where your cat will experience the most distress.

They may also be sprayed directly onto furniture, carpet or bedding where your cat will smell them when exploring the new environment. This is particularly useful for hospital visits, which may cause a great deal of anxiety for your cat.

Feliway® for Spraying

The most common synthetic pheromone on the market used specifically for cat spraying is called Feliway®. This product is available online and has been found to help reduce feline spraying.

When using Feliway®, it is important not to clean the marked areas with ammonia or bleach products. Feliway® should be applied daily to the sprayed area and nearby areas where your cat may also spray. Treatment should continue until you see your cat rubbing his or her head in the area. This indicates that your cat is marking with facial pheromones instead of urine.

Cats spray for a number of reasons and using synthetic pheromones is one effective method to eliminate this behavior.