From Butter to Feliway

Welcome back, ladies and gentlemen! As you know, Athena and I moved house just before the Christmas break. We now live in our very own four walls, and it’s very exciting.

Athena, to her credit, was exceptionally well behaved during and after the house move. She gets a bit anxious every time I move a chair, so it certainly wasn’t an enjoyable experience for her – but as kittens go she did very well.

I contribute a lot of this success to my liberal usage of Feliway, the cat feline facial hormone (fraction 3, if that’s relevant). Feliway is one of those cool little body hacks that I love. You’ve seen cats rub their cheeks over people and objects, usually when they’re happy, or trying to greet someone. (I bumped into a cat outside Edinburgh Uni’s geosciences building on Monday who was so keen to rub her cheeks on my new riding boots she fell over twice. I understand, kitty, my new boots are beautiful). They’re expressing the feline facial pheromone while they’re doing this, specifically the part of the pheromone which says “this is mine” (and in Athena’s case it probably also say “and this is mine, and this is mine, and also that thing over there”).

There are a lot of interesting studies out there about Feliway – it is very good at reducing behavioural signs of stress in cats, particularly non-sexual spraying. But you have to think about the behavioural reasons behind this.

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