When Your Pet Has Anxiety….
Anxiety and stress is something so many of us deal with. The internet is filled with tips, tricks and products that will help us combat or manage our anxiety and stress. Kids, teens and adults are not the only mammals that deal with this though. Our four-legged family members also have stress and anxiety. Oftentimes pet parents may confuse the signs of anxiety with behavioral problems such as being destructive, going to the bathroom inside the house or outside the litter box or barking or meowing a lot. Thankfully, there are products on the market that can help your pets feel more comfortable.
I first learned about animal anxiety with my cat Boots who was always very skittish. If someone walked by her, tried to hold her or even pet her she would run away… fast! During one of our vet visits, I was telling my vet about Boots’ behavior and she said that we should try using Feliway help with her anxiousness. Feliway is used for cats to help calm them down. It contains a synthetic version of a pheromone that cats use to mark their territory. This pheromone helps cats feel calm and secure in their environment and can even help with any behavioral issues.
What is Feliway?
You can purchase Feliway in various forms; a plug in diffuser, a spray and even wipes. Humans cannot smell any odor with these products. Now I should stop here and tell you that I would buy almost any product for my fur babies to help them stay happy and healthy. I decided to purchase the plug-in diffuser and within a few days I could see a major difference in Boots’ behavior. She no longer ran away every time someone walked by her and was more social. Also, as the product said, there was no odor! The diffuser lasted about 30 days and I was able to buy refills for it. This hasn’t been my only success story with Feliway products.
A New Addition to our Family has anxiety too
Recently we adopted our newest cat, Loki, from the Humane Society. He was one and a half years old and was separated from his mom too early. Because of this, he has some behavior quirks as well as major separation anxiety. He follows us around everywhere and if he is locked out of a room we are in, he cries and cries until he is let in. We have continued to use the plug-in diffuser to help him feel more calm and comfortable. However, whenever we put him in his cage he has a complete meltdown. He cries so loudly (which sounds like he is screaming) and does whatever he can to try and escape. I recognize that most cats do not enjoy going in their cage and being taken from their comfort zone, even if it is just for a couple of hours. This extreme behavior in his cage was something I had not experienced with any of my other cats.
Other options for anxiety with your pets
I spoke with my vet about it and she suggested to get the Feliway Wipes and wipe down his cage with them ten minutes before I put him in. This would hopefully help him calm down a little bit while he is in his cage. Since I had so much success with the plug-in diffuser, I decided to try this out. The next time I put Loki in his cage, I wiped it down with the wipes first and said a little prayer that the 30 minute drive we were about to embark on would be a quiet one. Loki cried a little bit in the beginning of our drive but was calm for the majority of our trip!
With two positive experiences under my belt, I am a huge fan of the Feliway products and would recommend them to any cat owner! Dog parents, don’t worry, there is a similar product on the market for your K9’s! It is called Adaptil and is offered in a collar form and as a plug-in diffuser. It works the same way as Feliway does for cats. The product releases a synthetic pheromone that only the dog can smell and will help dogs that get anxious or stressed and even help eliminate some behavioral problems. You can buy both the Feliway and the Adaptil at your local pet store or online. Of course, contact your vet if you have any questions or concerns regarding the product or to get a professional recommendation!
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Jen Mastroianni is a thirty-something cat mom of two with a passion for helping others be the best version of themselves. Maintaining mental, emotional and physical health through a healthy lifestyle is incredibly important to her. When not working, you can find her out for a run, in a yoga class or curled up on the couch with a good book. Follow her on Instagram at @jenn_mastroianni.