Synthetic cat pheromones are sold in pet stores and veterinary centers. They are a chemical imitation of the natural facial pheromones that cats secrete to calm themselves, feel safe and mark territory. They are indicated in cases of anxiety and feline stress.
What are pheromones for cats used for?
Pheromones are chemicals that animals (not just cats) secrete and are a means of transmitting signals. Pheromones are information-carrying molecules, which transfer messages from one cat to another. They are a vehicle of chemical communication.
In short, pheromones are a form of chemical communication between animals of the same species, never of different species. That means that people cannot detect pheromones for cats, for us they are totally imperceptible. They do not have any odor that humans can perceive.
Types of pheromones
There are different types of pheromones that cats secrete in different situations and through different organs of their body.
- Alarm pheromones: They are secreted by the anal glands or sweat glands on the pads of the feet. They are emitted in case of stress and serve to communicate that the cat is afraid or stressed.
- Social pheromones: The cat uses them to identify individuals. To do this, you can rub the cheeks, neck or back on our leg, on the body of another cat or even on that of the family dog. Rubbing is used to mark other individuals and objects that you consider yours or that belong to your family environment.
- Territorial pheromones: They are emitted through urine and serve to mark the cat’s territory.
- Appeasement pheromones: They are secreted by the mother cat when she breastfeeds her kittens and they serve to make them feel safe and calm.
- Sex pheromones: these pheromones are those that the cat emits through sexual secretions and its urine in order to attract cats of different sex and allow their approach to copulate.
The pheromones for cats that are marketed in veterinary clinics and specialized centers are an imitation of the social pheromones that the cat secretes when rubbing its face against objects and individuals that it considers familiar.
How do cats perceive pheromones?
To perceive pheromones, cats use the so-called vomeronasal organ or Jakobson’s organ, located in the upper part of the palate. Flehmen’s behavior is what allows the cat to identify the pheromones: a very curious sniff for which the upper lip retracts, the nose folds, the nostrils close and the cat inhales rapidly through the half-open mouth.
What are pheromones for?
We have already seen that there are different pheromones in cats, but those used for behavior modification are a synthetic imitation of feline facial pheromones, which are what cats use to mark that a territory / object / individual is safe. As a result, the cat feels confident and calm, and this helps it to abandon inappropriate behaviors generated by stress. That’s why synthetic cat pheromones help solve this problem.
The brand that currently markets synthetic pheromones for cats is Feliway, and it is available in the form of a diffuser (plugs into the current) or spray. Feliway is easy to find at veterinary centers and pet stores.
Are synthetic pheromones dangerous for cats?
No. It is a natural treatment that does not generate any type of contraindication. They do not have a sedative effect or make the cat sleepy. They just give you a sense of security and tranquility that relaxes you.