Feliway is manufactured by Farnam Companies and first came on the market in 1997. It is a liquid mixture of mostly alcohol with synthetic feline pheromones -- specifically, the pheromones cats produce in their cheek glands. You know how cats rub their faces against you when they're happy? They're scent-marking you, and the pheromones in that scent mark make cats feel they're in a place of comfort and safety.

Thus, Feliway is used to calm stressed-out, pissing, fighting, scratching, territorial cats. Some cats are too stressed or plain cantankerous to respond to the stuff, but over 85% of cats do, according to the literature.

Feliway comes in two forms. The first is a 75ml pump bottle you use to spritz baseboards, furniture, and other places that cats have been clawing or peeing on (or which you fear they might claw or pee upon). You can also spritz bedding inside a cat carrier to make your kitty a bit calmer if you have to take her to the vet or on a trip. You do not spray it directly on any of your cats; the alcohol might sting them and the mist might be harmful if directly inhaled.

The second form, sold under the name "Comfort Zone", is a diffuser you plug into an electrical outlet. The stuff vaporizes and scents up to 650 square feet, and is more useful to generally calm cats down. It's especially useful if you've already got cats and are bringing home a new kitten or baby -- both of which are likely to trigger territorial insecurity. It has a faint but not unpleasant odor (there is no added fragrance besides whatever the pheromones and alcohol smell like to humans) and has thus far not seemingly triggered any of Braunbeck's or my allergies.

The downside? It's not widely available in brick-and-mortar pet sections at places like Target -- you have to go to your vet or a specialty petshop. And the stuff is expensive ... you can get the 75ml bottle for $19 or $20 online, but when I hit our local Petsmart, they wanted $32 for a bottle.

I almost didn't get it. The expense seemed exorbitant. But then I had a vision of cleaning cat poop out of my brand-new carpet, and a second vision of being rudely awakened by two hissing, clawing cats who'd decided to start a fight directly over my face.

$32 then seemed a small price to pay for a peaceful, poop-free household.

I used about a third of the bottle spritzing our living room furniture and various doorframes and corners.

And you know what? It worked like a charm. There's been almost no growling since the Feliway application, and even some playing. We've got a house full of very mellow, adjusted cats.

If you want to get a copy of the Feliway Material Safety Data Sheet from Farnham, call (800) 234-2269.

GrouchyOldMan says I used Feliway on our psycho-curmudgeon-monster cat Buster to keep him from eviscerating the new kitten. It was like an instant personality transplant. Amazing stuff!

hapax says The diffuser works pretty well on our cats, but woe betide the household if we run out before getting a new batch. It seems to me that they're worse without it than they were before we discovered it.

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