This post is part of a series about enriching the life of my house-cat who's been frustrated and fed up with the new dog. To start at the beginning click here.
Cats produce different pheromones from different scent glands of their body. These pheromones are communication signals that trigger emotions and stimulate certain behaviours. The behaviours I want to address with pheromone treatment are 1) digging at the carpet between kitchen and front room and 2) aggression towards Viv. Luckily clever people in CEVA laboratories have artificially reproduced a variety of cat pheromones marketed as Feliway and I've bought them in bottles from Amazon!
Carpet. By scratching the carpet Sam has marked it with scents from the glands between his toes. This scent attracts him to repeat scratch. So I used Simple Solution Extreme Stain & Odour Remover, a pet stain remover, with enzymatic action and bacteria to destroy the pheromone trail in that location. Then I introduced a new door mat on top of the area which has a flat-weave texture that won't be as satisfying to scratch as the carpet. I kept the new mat in place using Kraftex carpet tape. His original scratch posts are positioned close to the area so he only has to move two foot to engage in scratching behaviour, and his new scratch-ramp will be positioned on the wall above the doorway. Feliway produce a scratch pheromone, the one Sam has naturally distributed on the carpet, which I could purchase and apply to the new scratch ramp to encourage him, but I feel that the steps I've already made should be sufficient to deter his carpet scratching. On top of the new mat I applied Feliway CLASSIC spray which stimulates feelings of comfort for cats and is recommended by the company as a way to reduce scratching. These changes are still very new or in progress and I will keep this post updated with the results.
Aggression. I've plugged in a Feliway FRIENDS diffuser close to the doorway he tends to guard from Viv, and that is also in the room where he is most often offended by her presence. Within 3 days I observed a significant difference in his behaviour towards her. He barely aggressed towards her until the refill needed replacing. It was almost a complete solution by itself! However, the refill lasts only 30 days and a little aggression remained so other steps, environmental enrichment and training, are needed to complete the cat-dog harmony in our home.
If you're struggling with tension in your cat family or have difficulties with unwanted scratching I hope you find the ideas in this post useful. If you'd prefer one-to-one help with your feline frustrations I offer private consultations which you can book here. Keep checking back each week for a new post. Next week I'll be writing about the catification in our house so far and how it's working out for Samson. If you've enjoyed my writing be sure to let me know by commenting below.