Does Feliway Work on Anxious Cats?

Does Feliway work? It helped my multicat household settle down after a house move stressed them out but it is not effective in every case of anxious, destructive, or fighting cats. Here's when I would use it.

Is It Time to Try Feliway?

When I moved with my menagerie, from a large garden apartment to a smaller one facing the sea, we all had an adjustment to make. Reina the dog was delighted. Our walks now take us along a wild coastal path where she can sniff and paddle in rock pools to her heart’s content. The cats, however, went from having their own wrap-around garden to being housebound with only a tiny patio to sunbathe in.

We are a multicat household. Lili, the eldest, took it all in her stride. But the two young males, Spike and Stewy, were very upset, and boy, did they make sure I knew it.

Their unwanted behavior included prowling the apartment yowling for days on end, destructive scratching and intercat aggression.

Walls are thin here and if I can hear the neighbors bathing their kids, I know for sure that they can hear my furbabies screaming to get out at all hours of the day and night. Not only were my boys very stressed and unhappy, but my new neighbors would soon be banging down my door if I could not get them to settle.

I was getting pretty anxious and unhappy myself. That’s when I remembered Feliway and wondered if it might help my stressed pets.

Reasons to Use Feliway

Moving House

This is the main reason I first tried Feliway. With two of my three cats climbing the walls to get out and caterwauling constantly, I needed something to calm them down before my new neighbors got upset!

Peeing outside the litter box

This can be a sign of a urinary tract problem. If the cat feels pain when peeing, then he starts to associate the pain with the litter box and will start to look for other places to relieve himself. In this case, peeing outside the box is more a sign of a possible health problem than it is a behavior problem.

(You might also want to look at the latest health monitoring cat litter which changes color depending on the chemistry of your cat‘s urine and can be a good indicator that it is time for a vet check.)

If there is nothing physically wrong and the misplaced peeing continues, this can be something Feliway can be helpful with.


Cats will hide in new environments. They feel insecure in unfamiliar areas and seek to find a safe spot from which to survey their new surroundings. While Feliway can help with their anxiety, you can also support them by allowing them to acclimatize in their own time. A cave or nest type bed can be very helpful. A spray of Feliway in and around the bed can be effective too.

Intercat Aggression

During the adjustment period in my new home, Spike and Stewy went from rambunctious playmates to seething opponents. If Feliway could help with this, I was all for it.

Adopting a cat

Cats that have been in a shelter for any time may have been through several traumatic experiences on their road to you. Even though your home is a peaceful paradise compared to the rescue where you found them they are likely to be stressed, neurotic and distrustful. The comfort zone diffuser can help these distressed furbabies settle in faster.

How Does Feliway Work?

When cats do that cute cheek rubbing thing, they are transferring feline facial pheromone (FFP) on to objects (and people) to mark them as familiar and safe. These feel-good scents are produced in glands around the chin, cheeks, and mouth. You will not find many better examples of a totally relaxed cat than the little lover in this video. She is plastering her feline pheromone all over her favorite kid.

Feliway mimics these feel-good pheremones to relax and comfort anxious and stressed-out cats. You can also help by ensuring he has a ‘safe space’ and an environment enriched with cat-friendly distractions.

Interactive toys can dispel a lot of the pent up energy and boredom that lead to anxiety. Sensory stimulation with matatabi sticks or catnip filled toys are good too. Having scratching posts or sisal wrapped cat trees available can limit the damage to your furniture too.

Different Kinds of Feliway

Feliway Classic

This is the go-to Feliway diffuser, used in situations where your cat is under stress.

Unless there is an underlying medical reason for not using the litter tray, this is the type of Feliway you would get for stress-related peeing in inappropriate places.

Also for settling the cat down during and after a house move and if he is showing general signs of stress like overgrooming, hiding and lack of appetite.

Feliway Classic can be used in conjunction with Feliway Feliscratch.

Feliway Multicat

If you are a multicat household, two or more living together who are fighting, then this is the Feliway to get.

It is worth a try even if the cats have been fighting for a long time.

Feliway Feliscratch

Feliway Feliscratch does not stop scratching, it directs the behavior to a better place. For example, from your lovely sofa, to a scratching post. Of course, for this to work you need to have a good scratching post (or posts) around to redirect them too.

More posts about cat stress …

What is Matatabi?

What is Matatabi?

Matatabi, aka silver vine, is a natural cat stimulant that many cats, even those that are unresponsive to catnip, will react to with pleasure and increased playfulness.