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Dear Christopher Cat

I heard about a spray I can use in my cat’s carrier to relax her on trips. She becomes very anxious in the carrier, probably because she uses it only once a year, when she visits the veterinarian for her annual physical and vaccinations. What is the name of the spray?

Christopher Responds

The spray is Feliway, and it certainly relaxes me.

It’s a synthetic version of feline facial pheromone, the substance we cats release when we’re content and rub our faces against the furniture.

When sprayed into a carrier before the cat enters, it calms the cat and prevents anxiety.

Researchers studied Feliway in 58 adult cats scheduled to take trips in their carriers.

Thirty minutes before the cats left on car journeys of 60 to 300 miles, half the carriers were sprayed with Feliway.

The remaining carriers were sprayed with the same liquid minus the pheromone. The owners did not know which spray was used.

During the trips, owners recorded their cats’ physical problems, such as vomiting, defecation and urination, as well as behavior problems, including mewing, agitation and salivation.

They also graded the stress level, from 0 (“quiet trip”) to 6 (“driver must stop the car.”)

At the end of the experiment, it was clear that the cats whose carriers had been sprayed with Feliway had enjoyed significantly more relaxed car rides.

If you try Feliway, spray only the carrier and the towel that lines the bottom of the carrier, not your cat.

You can purchase Feliway from your veterinarian, at pet supply stores, from catalogues or on the Internet.

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