Many cat owners realize that their pet has at least two distinct personalities: A stress-free cat might take a long nap by the fireplace, but when it's feeling anxious, it can become a blur of claws, hisses, and teeth.
Fortunately, there are a number of calming products on the market that will help a distressed cat become calm again, from natural oils to calming collars to herbal supplements. A dose of catnip can also be an effective mood equalizer. Some products work by boosting a cat's natural pheromones, while others work by reducing the "fight or flight" response.
Every cat has its own personality and that includes how it handles stressful situations. Some cats are triggered by the appearance of a pet carrier, while others react to the water in a bathtub or the sudden arrival of another cat. Loud noises, such as thunder or vacuum cleaners, can also induce stress. When shopping for a cat-calming product, it pays to consider exactly what creates the most stress for your cat and find a product that addresses that issue. A tight-fitting anxiety jacket might be the answer, or a diffused herbal oil blend could be more soothing. Some cats prefer familiar scents, while others find comfort with calming collars.
List of ingredients
Some cat-calming products work mechanically, such as a compression vest, while others rely more on natural or artificial sedatives and come in the form of pills or herbs. Herbal supplements tend to trigger the cat's natural stress-handling hormones, while chemical sedatives actually alter blood chemistry to create relaxation.
Ease of use
Some cat-calming products are very easy to use -- diffusers and sprays fall into this category. Catnip-infused toys can simply be left in a popular space for cats to discover on their own. However, some herbal supplements, prescription sedatives, and stress-related accessories require a more hands-on approach. Owners and cats should both be comfortable with the way a calming product is administered.
It is important to consider which approach would be most effective for a particular cat's needs since some cats are notoriously difficult to "pill," and others may not appreciate a restrictive collar or jacket.
Multipacks and refills
Essential oil diffusers and calming sprays are popular choices for owners, but supplies can become depleted quickly when dealing with multiple cats. Sprays or oils sold in multipacks are very economical and helpful to owners. The availability of refills or economy-sized containers is also a plus.
In order to be an effective calming aid, a collar or compression vest must fit snugly on the cat. However, it can't be so restrictive that a quick release becomes impossible. Many manufacturers address this issue through a breakaway design. If a cat needs to be released from a device in an emergency, the collar can be snapped off quickly.
Basic calming products, such as catnip-infused toys, small containers of herbal supplements, and sprays, can be found on pet store shelves for as little as $3 to $9. Homeopathic herbal blends and diffusers can cost between $10 and $25, while breakaway calming collars and compression vests could cost $25 or more.
A. Edible calming treats often contain essential amino acids that trigger the release of natural hormones, such as dopamine and thiamine. Calming sprays generally contain pheromones cats associate with familiar and calm environments.
Q. Can I use hemp oil or CBD oil to calm my cat?
A. In terms of product safety, both hemp and CBD oil are acceptable cat-calming products. Determining the proper dosage may require a consultation with a veterinarian, however. Some states have banned the sale of hemp or CBD-based products, so you may want to check availability in your area.
Our take: Cat owners who want to introduce a new cat to the family or treat several felines at once should consider this veterinarian-endorsed pheromone diffuser.
What we like: Works well with multiple cats. Diffuses calming pheromones over wide area. Reduces urge to mark territory and scratch.
What we dislike: Diffuser is not included with set. Not effective on all types of cats.
Michael Pollick is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.