Feliway diffuser for stressed kitty - thoughts?

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  1. My cat has been so stressed lately and I feel horrible. First off, just for a little backstory:
    I adopted him in August 2009 from a woman who was desperately trying to find a home for him. He was severely unsocialized and anxious, and though he's still easily stressed, he has come a long way since then. Unfortunately, my roommates haven't been the easiest to deal with regarding him, as much as I try to explain "Hey, he gets scared easily, please don't yell/run around/clomp up and down the stairs...." it has no effect. He's TERRIFIED of everyone except for myself, my boyfriend, and the other girl roommate.
    My room is really more like a suite, I have two large walk-in closets, and that's where he seems to spend the most time - either out and about in my room, or in the closets (I put a cat bed in there so he could have "safe place" when he felt overwhelmed). He does walk around a little upstairs, but once one of the "scary" roommates appears, he darts back into my room.
    I feel like a horrible owner, as much as I try to get him to realize the rest of the house isn't a scary place, he doesn't seem to want to believe it.

    Even though we are making some progress without any calming aids (when I first got him, he wouldn't let anyone touch him...he's snuggled up on my lap as we speak:biggrin:), I'm thinking about trying the Feliway plug-in diffuser....however, I've heard mixed reviews about it. What do you guys think?

    We are moving out of this house mid-May and into a smaller apartment, which I think is best for him. He's technically going to be staying with my boyfriend then - I am transferring schools - which I didn't plan on when I got him, but I got a great scholarship offer to and they are offering my major - and have to stay in the dorms for a year...though I will basically be there every weekend and it's close to where I am going to school.
  2. I used the version for dogs and it didn't work at all. It had no effect at all on one of my dogs. The other seemed to have a really bad reactions to it. Within a day of having it plugged in, he started acting very anti-social (very unlike him) and he would do nothing but lay down at the front door. He even refused treats. I unplugged it and he was back to normal the next day. It could have been that he just had an upset stomach, but I never used it again.
  3. I have tried it with many of my foster cats and I have never seen any reaction at all. I suppose it wouldn't hurt to try it just don't expect too much. He will probably feel better once he moves into a smaller apartment and away from all the noise and people. Some cats are always scared or startle easily. It sounds like he has bonded to you, that's the important thing. If he wants to just stay in your room where he feels safe I would just let him. He is lucky to have found someone patient and willing to work with him. I'm sure he just adores his mommy. :smile:
  4. growing up we had a cat that would hide from everyone except my mom. until the day he died (which i was in high school i think). i hardly saw that cat. he would hide behind the couch and if he managed to come out while I or anyone else was there, he would scramble. some cats are just that way. I would feel too bad thinking your cat is really stressed out. he has his safe place to go and he knows that.
  5. Thanks everyone - since none of you have had a lot of success with Feliway, I think I'm going to wait. I don't really have the extra $30 laying around to spend on something that has an iffy chance of helping. I have some friends in animal rescue that I'm going to try and get ahold of and see if they can recommend something for my kitty.

    I also managed to talk to a couple of my roommates today and told them that if they wanted to be able to enjoy having a cat (all of them were excited when I told them I'd be bringing one to live with us), they had to work on their noise level around him. It was a little tough because I didn't want anyone to feel like I was singling them out, but I flat out said "You cannot yell, scream, jump around, charge at, grab, or otherwise scare my cat. If you do, I will not be happy with you, and he will have no interest in coming around you." The fact I have to repeat this to a bunch of 19-22 year olds floors me because to me, it's common sense....but these boys are almost like a bunch of preschoolers around this cat :rolleyes:

    He does seem to feel safe around me, whenever the boys start getting a little too loud, he runs to me if I'm in the room. It's very sweet. I am so angry with his previous owner - the way she raised him was borderline neglect. When I heard about his situation, I went to see him and knew right away that he could not be dropped off at any animal shelter or he would've been euthanized on the spot. Unfortunately I wasn't able to take his sister as well, but she went to a home with an older lady who is home all the time to work with her as well. I'm hoping things start to get better with him, but I kind of feel like unless my roommates make a 180, he won't fully open up until he's in an apartment.
  6. I found it helps a lot!
    The trick with the diffuser is to plug it in and then leave it switched on until it runs out - a lot of people I know have given up when they haven't seen a result after a few days.
    I work at a rescue centre and we use it a lot there.
    Good luck!
  7. Ive had both the spray and the diffuser. I used the spray when i moved into a very large house, and they were hiding and wouldnt come out and peeing in not good places...it really seemed to work...within days they were hanging out in the living room. When I recently had to move again, they were a little bit crazy so I bought a diffuser and plugged it in. I didnt really notice it helped at all. maybe a little, but it seemed to make them wackier, instead of calmer.

    I can completely relate though. Ive had both my cats for almost 4 years...they still have a hard time coming out around company and are very very skittish...i have no idea why...ive had them since theyve been just a few months old.
  8. I tried Feliway and didn't see any difference. Have you tried using Rescue Remedy in his water or lavender oil on his paws? Both of those were suggested to me by my vet.
  9. I have a highly aggressive and highly strung female cat (she was feral) and I find she's just a little less aggro with Feliway. We only have it plugged into one socket in the dining room, because she likes to hang out on the window sill there. We've been using it for about 5 years on and off now. We've tried her on Valium, but that makes her worse (believe it or not), so we stick to Feliway. I figure even a small difference is better than none at all.