gray cat wearing calming collar for cats

How Do Pheromone Calming Collars for Cats Actually Work?

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If your feline friend is displaying symptoms of stress or anxiety, such as noticeable aggression, hiding, urine marking, etc, and you’re looking for products to help ease your cat’s symptoms, it’s worth trying a pheromone collar. Whether you’re interested in buying one for your cat or you’re just curious about its effectiveness, this guide will walk you through everything you need to know about calming collars and whether they’re worth it for you and your cat. Let’s dive right in!

Pheromone Calming Collar Technology

gray cat wearing calming collar for catsAs a cat owner, you know that cats communicate through various methods, and chemical communication is one of the most primitive yet prominent ones. This method is expressed in chemicals that cats release to reproduce various feelings, called “pheromones”.

Among the pheromones that cats release are safe-marking pheromones similar to the ones a mother cat releases around her kitten to keep them calm. This induces a certain feeling of calmness among cats, and that’s the key to the collar’s effectiveness.

These collars contain synthetic pheromones that are continuously released to mimic this signal and help calm your cats and feel at ease.

Some calming collars might also include some essential oils that are known for their calming effect to boost the effectiveness of the product.

What Science Says About Calming Collars

According to a 2018 study, these pheromones were found to be a promising remedy to reduce aggression in a multi-cat household.

These findings were also confirmed by many cat owners who noticed various levels of positive improvements after using the collars.

However, another systematic review of pheromones’ effectiveness found that they lack the evidence to treat behavioral problems. In other words, the level of effectiveness can vary from one cat to another.

If you’re unsure whether it will work for your cat, speak to your veterinarian on your next visit or simply trial one. They are relatively inexpensive.

How Long Does It Take for a Cat Calming Collar to Work?

The pheromones in a calming collar start releasing shortly after they come in contact with the cat’s neck. So, technically speaking the calming collar should start working right away.

With that being said, it usually takes quite some time for continuous collar stimulation as well as a behavioral training program to cause visible improvements that you can notice on your cat.

For that reason, the actual time needed for a cat to respond to calming collar behavioral treatment is usually anywhere between 2 to 4 weeks, which can vary due to various factors such as:

  1. Age: Older cats with previous traumas will take a lot longer to overcome their chronic anxiety
  2. Gender: Male cats are naturally more aggressive than female cats, especially in a multi-cat household with various males
  3. Behavioral Differences: Some cats are naturally more aggressive and resistant to pheromones than others, which slows down their response to cat collars.

How Well Do Calming Collars Work for Cat Anxiety, Cat Stress or Cat Aggression?

Consistency has always been an issue when it comes to measuring the effectiveness of pheromones.

For instance, we’ve previously mentioned that scientific evidence supports the positive impact of calming collars on cats. However, many of these results aren’t conclusive, as the quantitative results varied significantly from one cat to another.

Ideally, most average cats with minor anxiety and stress issues could benefit from calming collars to a certain extent. However, every cat is different and what works for one cat may not work for another, even if they’re siblings.

In other words, collars are most likely going to be effective for your cat, but there’s always a chance that they don’t work at all, especially in the presence of factors like old traumas and inherent aggression.

Are Calming Collars Safe for Cats?

Since cats naturally produce pheromones, they’re totally safe for healthy cats and shouldn’t trigger any serious symptoms or adverse reactions.

While dogs and other pets may also use pheromones for communication, pheromones are usually specific to species, so they shouldn’t have an impact on other animals in your household.

As for the collar itself, its safety is highly dependent on choosing the right size so that it’s not too tight or too loose for your cat. If your cat is used to wearing a collar, base the sizing on your cat’s current collar.

Also, some cats with sensitive skin may react to the collar, but apart from that, there should be nothing to worry about.

How Long Do You Leave a Calming Collar on A Cat?

Most commercial calming collars for cats can work for up to 30 days. If your cat tolerates the collar itself, you can leave it on day and night for the entire period.

After the first month, you can then give your cat some time off the collar, especially if you already noticed an improvement, but since it’s quite safe for long-term use, you can put on another if your cat is still slightly stressed.

What Are the Best Cat Calming Collars on the Market?

We’ve researched and written about the 5 best calming collars on the market in this article here. As calming collars are an over-the-counter treatment for mild stress and anxiety in cats, you won’t need any veterinary prescriptions to buy one and they’re also readily available online. If you want a quick list of our top 5 picks, here they are:

A couple of other worthy mentions:

Wrap Up on Calming Collars for Cats

So that is our brief guide that shows how calming collars work and whether it’s the right pick for your cat.

A lot of cat owners find pheromone-containing calming collars to be effective in keeping their cats calm.

However, this doesn’t necessarily apply to every cat out there, as there are various factors that also play a role in the effectiveness of the collars. You can also try a pheromone diffuser which works on a similar principle. We talk about pheromone diffusers in this article.

If you’re interested in buying one, we highly recommend SENTRY Calming Collar for Cats: because it has a high percentage of pheromones and lasts for a long time, all the while coming at a decent price.


Picture of Carla Shaik, Chief Editor and Writer, BSC Animal Behavior and Welfare

Carla Shaik, Chief Editor and Writer, BSC Animal Behavior and Welfare

Our resident animal welfare expert, Carla Shaik has always had a passion for writing and educating the public on topics that really matter, especially cat welfare. Since graduating with a BSC in Animal Behavior and Welfare, Carla has written for a national cat magazine for eight years and more recently branched out into becoming a freelance writer full-time. Carla is an avid cat lover and has owned cats all her life. She couldn’t imagine life without them.