My name is Zakeeyah, and I have three cats, all of whom are rescues.
Taking my cats in and providing them with care and love has been such a rewarding experience for me. I’m sure all of you cat lovers out there can relate to this feeling of fulfillment.
Cats are creatures of habit, so when their routines are disrupted, this can cause a lot of stress and anxiety for them.
Since rescuing my youngest cat, Mimi, she’s gone through so many changes, that she sometimes can get a bit antsy.
I’ve personally found that using a calming spray helps her feel more grounded when going to the vet, when interacting with my other cats, and when I have visitors over.
How Do Calming Sprays Work?
It’s important for you to know that there are actually two different kinds of sprays that have been effective for calming cats.
The first are sprays that mimic cat pheromones, and the second are sprays that contain natural ingredients, such as essential oils, that have calming properties.
Pheromones are chemicals released by a given species that allows them to communicate with others in that species nonverbally—so, think of them as a chemical way of communicating.
Many calming sprays on the market actually mimic specific cat facial pheromones (F3 feline pheromones).
If you’ve ever seen your cat rubbing his/her face against random surfaces, it’s because he/she is releasing their F3 feline pheromones onto the surface so that when he/she returns to that spot, he/she will know it’s safe.
Cats also rub their faces against each other (and us!) for the same purpose.
Some sprays don’t contain cat pheromones, but have a blend of natural ingredients such as herbs and essential oils that aid in calming cats.
When products contain herbs and/or essential oils, they are in small enough percentages or diluted enough so as to be considered safe for use around cats.
Really, the only way to tell which kind of spray will work best is to see how your cat responds to them. Some cats may prefer the pheromone sprays, while others may show preference to the essential oil/natural sprays.
Benefits of a Calming Spray
If you’ve never used a calming spray, you may be wondering how it can help. You may even be a bit skeptical.
First, it’s important to note that a calming spray isn’t a “cure” for behavioral issues in cats. However, it can be a helpful tool to aid you in dealing with some behaviors of concern in your cats.
For cats who are aggressive and/or territorial, behaviors such as marking territory, urinating or defecating outside of the litter box, yowling, scratching and biting, or even fighting each other can occur, especially when under stress.
A calming spray can aid in reducing these types of behaviors and can help alleviate the way they respond to certain stressors.
Calming sprays not only help cats get along with each other and their owners, but they can also be effective in reducing scratching on objects that you’d like to preserve.
I can’t be the only one whose cats have scratched at a lovely upholstered chair!
If vet visits are a point of contention for your cat(s), then a calming spray can be super helpful. Some vets even use calming sprays in the office to help cats feel more at ease.
Safety Tips When Using Calming Sprays
While calming sprays can be helpful and effective, you want to make sure you are using them in the right way.
I want to provide you with some safety tips regarding the use of calming sprays, so that if you do choose to use them, you do so in a safe way and in a way that allows you to truly experience the benefits.
Firstly, never spray your cat directly with the calming spray. When applied directly to a cat’s fur, the some sprays can cause adverse reactions such as itchiness and/or rashes.
Since cats groom themselves, you also want to avoid the cat ingesting the spray.
Secondly, if you’re going to spray your cats collar, bed, carrier, or anything else they are going to have direct contact with, make sure you do so at least 15 minutes before he/she will make direct contact with it.
This will allow the spray to fully take effect and will also prevent his/her fur from coming into direct contact with the spray.
Lastly, this may go without saying, but if you see your cat having any adverse reactions to the spray (vomiting, increased aggression, excessive sleeping, poor eating, etc…), discontinue use of the spray and contact your vet.
Sprays are best used in conjunction with other methods of behavior modification.
They are definitely not a substitute for taking the time to interact with your cat, learn what soothes him/her, and provide a safe and productive environment for him/her.
It’s also important to remember that consistency is key. These sprays aren’t meant to be “quick fixes,” but with use over time and in conjunction with other methods, they can be extremely effective!
Best Cat Calming Sprays
1) Ceva Feliway Spray
The vet techs and doctors sometimes spray it on their hands before handling my cat, as she can be quite the feisty one!
This spray mimics cat facial pheromones. When it is sprayed on a surface, it will minimize your cats desire to scratch or spray on that surface.
But, not only does this spray help with minimizing scratching and urinating; it can also help if you have a bully amongst your cats, or if your cats don’t get along with each other.
Spraying the Feliway Spray in an area where your cats will interact can help calm them down around each other.
One great aspect about this spray is that the scent isn’t too strong or artificial, so it likely won’t be a problem for you or your cats!
2) Sentry Calming Pheromone Spray
This spray can be remarkably helpful in numerous stressful situations for your cat: moving to a new home, vet visits, interacting with other cats, and when temporarily in a room due to home renovations or other major events.
The pheromones in this spray actually mimic the pheromones a mother cat produces when reassuring her kittens. So you can only imagine what sort of soothing effect this can have on your cat!
A little goes a long way with this spray, so you won’t have to worry about running out.
3) Comfort Zone Spray & Scratch Control Cat Calming Spray
One great thing about this spray is that it only takes about 1-2 spritzes per area of concern to do the trick, with effects that can last for the majority of the day!
It’s great for long car rides or days when you know you won’t be at home to re-spray the area!
This spray is also effective on rescue cats who may have started their lives out on the streets as feral/community cats.
If you’ve adopted a cat that once lived on the streets, then you know how much anxiety they can sometimes experience indoors; this spray can even be effective for them!
4) Relaxivet Natural Calming Spray
This spray is composed of natural, essential oil components that are soothing and safe for cats. As a result, it also has a pleasant smell.
One of the great things about this spray is that its effects can last up to 6 hours, which is super convenient for vet visits.
The soothing effects can be really helpful to cats that have separation anxiety, are afraid of loud noises, and/or that have anxiety around strangers.
The herbal components of this spray are safe to use not just around your cats, but your children as well.
5) Nature’s Miracle Just For Cats Calming Spray
The great thing about this spray is that it doesn’t have an overwhelming scent, so if you’ve got a sensitive nose you don’t have to worry! Likewise, the smell won’t be overwhelming to your cat.
If your cat isn’t as affectionate as he/she could be, this spray can really go a long way in helping him/her feel calm enough to be a bit more cuddly, either with you or your other cats.
While this spray helps alleviate anxiety in cats individually, it can also help cats interact with each other in a much less aggressive way.
You won’t have to wake up to the sounds of your cats growling or hissing at each other in the middle of the night!
When cats are stressed or anxious, they definitely let us know by engaging in various behaviors, some of which can be aggressive and distressing to their owners as well!
Calming sprays, when used properly, can be remarkably effective in helping reduce your cats’ anxiety and stress—a change which can help reduce your stress and anxiety as well!
While they aren’t a one-stop-shop for fixing behavioral issues in your cats, calming sprays can definitely help the process along.
I hope that, if you’re struggling with an anxious or stressed cat, I’ve helped you in some way by outlining the benefits of cat calming sprays and potential options.
You are definitely not alone in dealing with this, and with the right tools and support you can help your cat cope!