While cats are often seen as independent animals that don't get clingy with people, some may still get anxious when they're separated from their owners and their home environments during a cattery stay. To combat this anxiety, some catteries use pheromone atomisers, diffusers or sprays to release natural chemicals around cats. This boost of pheromone chemicals may help your cat settle in to its boarding holiday more effectively.
How Pheromones Affect Cats
Cats naturally produce pheromones, using them to mark out their territory at home when they rub their faces against objects, or even their owners. This smell makes them feel at ease and secure in their own environment.
When you put your pet in cat boarding, it has to live in a new environment, full of unfamiliar smells that it may not recognise. Even the most independent cat will immediately know it's not at home, and this may make your pet feel unsettled and worried. According to WebMD, adding familiar pheromones to the environment may make cats feel less stressed and more relaxed. If your cat feels more at home in its cattery, it's more likely to be happy during its stay.
Tip: If you can't find a local cattery that uses pheromone products, you can buy cat collars that contain pheromones.
Other Ways to Reduce Cat Boarding Stress
Talk to the cattery about other things you can do to make your cat feel at home, before you put it in to board. For example, the cattery may recommend that you bring in some familiar items that your cat will recognise and that may also carry traces of your scent and home pheromones, such as the following:
- Some of the cat's favourite toys or its scratching post.
- The cat's basket, if it uses one, and a favourite blanket.
- An item of your clothing that you've worn recently, such as a sweater. Typically, this will smell more of you if you don't wash it before you take it in. Alternatively, wear a clean item for a while before you go to the cattery to impregnate it with your smell.
- A supply of the cat's regular food, if the cattery doesn't provide its favourite brand.
Tip: The relaxing effects of pheromones may also curb bad behaviour in cats at home. If you have a cat that constantly scratches your furniture or urine marks around the house, it may be worth trying a pheromone collar, spray or diffuser.