photo (3)Written by Richard Tao, DVM

My previous article introduced Snuffy and the challenges he was facing living in a multi-cat household that was constantly changing.  Snuffy was slowly becoming more withdrawn socially and particularly clingy with my wife.  To make matters worse, one of the newly adopted kittens took to aggressively chasing Snuffy around the house.  He spent most of the day hidden under our bed.  He started to lose weight and developed huge matts of hair over his back.  Poor Snuffy was too scared to eat and too nervous to groom himself.  I only had to pick Snuffy up to recognize the changes. 

To rule out any medical causes for Snuffy’s behavior changes I performed a thorough head to toe exam and checked a blood/urine panel.  Fortunately, Snuffy’s exam and blood tests were normal (aside from his matted fur).  I began making changes to our routine and made sure to add in some regular playtime for all three cats.  We even enlisted our baby daughter to help with kitty play.  One of the most important changes was implementing a product called Feliway.   Feliway is an aerosolized product made from a synthetic pheromone that cats naturally release from their face.  The pheromone is released by cats to mark a territory as safe and secure.  Using Feliway helps bring peace and harmony in multi-cat households.  At Animal Care Clinic we use Feliway in every exam room as part of our Cat Friendly practices.  The next time you visit us you may notice small plug in diffusers strategically placed throughout the hospital.  We also spray it in suites used to house cats and on towels/fleeces used for bedding and in exam rooms.  After using Feliway for the past several weeks I am starting to see a noticeable drop in aggression.  Our three cats now spend more time together and Snuffy is almost always out and about like old times.  I credit this simple step for improving not only Snuffy’s quality of life but also our entire family’s! 

If you are experiencing difficulties with an anxious cat I encourage you to try Feliway.  It is sold as a spray or a plug-in diffuser.  I find the plug-in diffusers work best for multi-cat households and use the spray on furniture and bedding.  The applications for Feliway are endless and even include behavioral problems like inappropriate soiling, destructive scratching, and introducing new kittens to a house.  Please contact us for an appointment to discover how Feliway can be used with your cats!