clinical studies

When a cat feels safe and secure, it rubs it's head against object in the local environment, leaving behind substances called facial pheromones. These provide emotional support and help regulate feline stress. The absence of these familiar marks is believed to lead to an increase in anxiety.

FELIWAY is non-sedative, non-systemic and a species specific pheromone. The effect of FELIWAY has been shown in more than 19 studies published in reputable scientific journals or an international conferences.

Feline Urine Spraying

Urine marking, characterised by the deposition of small amounts of urine on vertical surfaces, is one of the most common* feline behaviour problems, with indoor spraying displayed by more than 20% of domestic cats*. There are 2 types of feline urine spraying, sexual and reactional or stress-related. Sexual marking is associated with sexual excitement in male cats or the onset of oestrus in female cats. Reactional or stress-related marking is associated with a stressful event, a change in the cat’s environment or an ongoing stressful situation, such as felines sharing space in multi-cat households.

  • Beaver B V, Feline Behavioural Problems, Veterinary Clinics of North America, 1976; 6, (3) 333-340 2
  • Hart B L, Hart L A, Canine and feline behavioural therapy. Lea and Febiger, Philadelphia 1985; 135-145

Functions and use of the facial pheromones in the treatment of urine marking in the cat

First Study - the effect of applying facial secretions to areas marked by male tomcats in the presence of females.

Results - The change in urine spraying was significant. Before the treatment, the areas were marked with urine approximately 5.2 times per day. During the use of treatment the areas were only marked 0.6 times per day.

Second study - the effect of applying facial secretions to areas marked by male and female cats.

Results - After day 7, urine marking had ceased in 89% of cases. However in following studies up to 20% of owners found the method inconvenient and unsatisfactory. For this reason, FELIWAY® CLASSIC (artificial analogue of the F3 pheromone) was synthesised.

Third study - the use of the FELIWAY® CLASSIC (synthetic F3 pheromone) on the spraying activity of cats

Results - Urine spraying decreased from 14.8 marks per day to 1.6 marks on day 7 with the use of FELIWAY® CLASSIC. By day 28, 59 cats had stopped marking altogether, with no relapse seen by day 49. This is a success rate of 96.7%.


Feline facial secretions are antagonists of urine spraying, therefore, FELIWAY® CLASSIC (feline facial pheromone F3 analogue) can be used to manage this undesirable behaviour in cats. The results of these preliminary not placebocontrolled studies have been confirmed by subsequent trials.

Pageat P Proceedings of the XXIst Congress of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association, Jerusalem, Israel, 1996

Experimental evaluation of the efficacy of a synthetic analogue of cats’ facial pheromones (FeliWay®) in inhibiting urine marking of sexual origin in adult tomcats.

A caged female cat in oestrus was placed in front of another cage containing a cardboard box. Each of the 3 tomcats, known to urine spray as a result of sexual excitement, were then introduced to the second cage, left on their own for 30 minutes and allowed to urine spray.

A fresh cardboard box was used for each cat. This process was repeated using a cardboard box previously sprayed by a different male cat.

The study was repeated again after treating the sprayed cardboard boxes with FELIWAY® CLASSIC Spray.

The number of urinary marks was recorded for the first cat, stimulated by the presence of urine from the second cat for 30 minutes and then by the presence of urine from the third cat for a further 30 minute-period. A similar protocol was used with the 2 other males.


In the presence of a box urine sprayed by another male, the first cat marked 5 times and the second and third cats marked 7 times. Following the use of FELIWAY® CLASSIC Spray the first cat did not mark the box at all, and the second cat and third cats marked once.


FELIWAY® CLASSIC Spray was effective in inhibiting or substantially reducing sexual urine marking in adult tomcats. This study was carried out in demanding circumstances, as the tomcats were encouraged to mark by the presence of the female in oestrus and the marking of other competing tomcats. Despite this the inhibitory effects were apparent very shortly after using FELIWAY® CLASSIC.

Pageat P Journal of Veterinary Pharmacological Therapy 1997; 20, 169

efficacy of synthetic feline facial pheromone (F3) analogue (FeliWay®) for the treatment of chronic non-sexual urine spraying by the domestic cat.

White J C, Mills D S Proceedings of the First International Conference on Veterinary Behavioural Medicine, Birmingham, 1997; 242

Fifty seven cats ranging in age from 8 months to 17 years were recruited from 46 households of up to 5 cats (neutered males, entire or neutered females). The subjects had been urine spraying for an average of 4.6 years.

For the first 7 days of the trial (baseline), the owners were asked to record the number of urine marking instances over each 24-hour period.

FELIWAY® CLASSIC Spray was then applied for 5 weeks where the cats had been urine marking and onto other prominent objects. On average, households treated 8-9 areas with FELIWAY® CLASSIC Spray. Single applications were made in single cat households and twice daily applications of FELIWAY® CLASSIC Spray in multi-cat households, until the offending cat had been observed rubbing its face on the area treated with FELIWAY® CLASSIC.

Progress was monitored on a weekly basis.


On day 35, 52 out of 57 cats (91%) had reduced their frequency of urine spraying and 30 (57%) had not urine sprayed after day 28 of the trial. Neither the number of cats in the household, age of cats nor duration of problem were predictive of the degree of improvement obtained.


FELIWAY® CLASSIC Spray was seen to be effective in inhibiting or substantially reducing chronic long-term, non-sexual urine marking in domestic cats.

Urine spraying in cats: presence of concurrent disease and effects of a pheromone treatment (FeliWay®).

Frank D, Erb H N, Houpt K A Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 1999; 61, 263-272

Thirty four cats were recruited from 24 households, aged from 3.5 to 16.5 years. All had a history of urine spraying of between 5 months and 10 years. Each was given a thorough physical examination at the beginning of the trial, including a CBC, a blood biochemistry panel, urinalysis, urine culture, urine cortisol, creatinine analysis and abdominal radiographs. Nineteen households (22 cats) completed the trial, with 9 of the cats being strictly indoor cats and 10 outdoor cats (up to 60 % of the time). All were multicat households (from 2 to 14 cats, mean 4.5, median 3).

FELIWAY® CLASSIC Spray was applied daily to all urine marks and to other prominent locations for a period of 4 weeks. The owners were asked to record the number of urine marking instances over each 24-hour period during the 4 week treatment phase. Owners were then asked to stop applying FELIWAY® CLASSIC for 4 weeks and again recorded the frequency of urine spraying.


Diagnostic procedures revealed abnormalities and/or crystalluria in 13 cats (38%). 7 (21%) of these cats had medical conditions involving the urogenital system and 8 (24%) had crystalluria. Urine spraying frequency decreased in both indoor and outdoor cats by on average 66.5% (median 75%). This concerned 74% of the households. There was no relapse within the 4 weeks post-treatment. A proportion of households with overt inter-cat aggression also reported a decrease in fighting. The 3 households with overt intercat aggression reported no significant change in urine spraying.


In this trial, FELIWAY® significantly reduced the frequency of Urine spraying behaviour on vertical surfaces. The author also suggests that combination of FELIWAY® CLASSIC with environmental modifications and pharmacological treatment may improve success rates in inhibiting urine spraying.

Clinical trial of a feline pheromone analogue (FeliWay®) for feline urine marking.

Thirty six cats were recruited from 52 veterinary hospitals across Japan. All the cats had a history of urine marking (1 month to 10.5 years - median 13.5 months) and were marking on average 14.2 times per week at inclusion). 28 cats were from multicat households (mean 4.8 cats) and 8 were single cats. The method followed that of Frank et al (1999). The owners were asked to fill out a questionnaire to determine the frequency of urine marking.


By the end of the first week of using FELIWAY® CLASSIC Spray, urine marking decreased significantly. It dropped to 4.2 times a week at the end of the trial (after 4 week’s treatment) and remained the same throughout the 4th week post treatment observance period. The frequency of urine marking decreased in cats with or without inter-cat aggression, although it was sustained at a higher level in cats with inter-cat aggression.


FELIWAY® CLASSIC appeared to reduce or eliminate feline marking problems in up to 77% of cases after one month of treatment. In addition, 41.7% of the owners felt that their relationship with their cats improved with the use of FELIWAY® CLASSIC.

Ogata N, Takeuchi Y Journal of Veterinary Medical Science, 2001; 63, 157-161

Evaluating a feline facial pheromone analogue (FeliWay®) to control urine spraying.

Cats were recruited based on a history of urine spraying and the data from 57 US households was analysed (mean of 3.8 cats per household). FELIWAY® CLASSIC Spray was applied twice daily to vertical urine marked spots and prominent vertical objects at home and owners were asked to record the number of marks which occurred during the week before FELIWAY® CLASSIC use and during a subsequent 4 week treatment period. The cats were aged 4 months to 16 years (mean 6.7 years). All cats had a history of urine spraying ranging from 5 days to 10 years (mean 2.7 years). Of the cats that urine sprayed, 39 were males and 11 were females and the sex of 7 cats was unreported.


The total number of urine marks per week reduced during FELIWAY® CLASSIC use. Significant decreases in the number of marks were identified within 1 week of treatment and this trend continued throughout the 4 week study period. Urine spraying was totally eliminated during the study period in 33% of households.


In this trial, FELIWAY® CLASSIC appeared to decrease urine spraying in a variety of household settings and population densities. In addition, the number of urine marks per household significantly decreased within one week and continued after each week of product use.

Hunthausen W Veterinary Medicine, 2000; 95, 151-156

long-term follow-up of the effect of a pheromone therapy (FeliWay®) on feline spraying behaviour.

Telephone interviews were conducted with the owners of 43 cats that had been involved in an earlier study by White and Mills (1997) approximately 10 months previously which consisted in using FELIWAY® CLASSIC Spray on urine marked areas, for 5 weeks. Questions asked as part of these interviews included: when they last used FELIWAY® CLASSIC, how frequently they used it, how often their cat urine sprayed and, if appropriate, when the cat(s) had resumed urine spraying.


Six (14%) cats were still not urine spraying approximately 10 months after using FELIWAY® CLASSIC. 27 (63%) were urine spraying at a lower rate than when the trial started, 7 (16%) were urine spraying at the same rate and 3 (7%) had deteriorated further. 21 owners had not used FELIWAY® CLASSIC in the previous 7 months. 13 were still using FELIWAY® CLASSIC in the home, but none were continuing to use it on a daily basis. 9 had used it only when the cat urine sprayed and 4 on an occasional basis between 1 and 3 times a week. 11 owners reported that the urine spraying had increased slightly between 1 and 2 months after they had stopped using FELIWAY® CLASSIC and a further 10 reported a similar change some time later than this.


Results suggest that treatment with FELIWAY® CLASSIC can lead to a longterm change in urine spraying behaviour by cats. In this study, 77% of cases were still under adequate control 10 months after using FELIWAY® CLASSIC. According to this open-label trial, FELIWAY® CLASSIC appears to be more effective in both the short and long-term than other physical or behavioural therapies for the control of non-sexual urine spraying in felines and should be considered a first line treatment.

Mills D S, White J C Veterinary Record, 2000; 147, 746-747

evaluation of a novel method for delivering a synthetic analogue of feline facial pheromone (FeliWay®) to control urine spraying by cats.

Twenty two cats with urine spraying problems were recruited onto a double-blind placebo study and randomly assigned to 1 of 2 groups. 10 cats used FELIWAY® CLASSIC Diffuser and 12 cats used a placebo (no significant difference in the demographic of the 2 groups).

The electric devices had to be plugged-in within the room where the problem was worst, and switched on continuously for 4 consecutive weeks. In the FELIWAY® CLASSIC group, 7 cats were male and 3 female (all neutered) and lived in a household with a median number of 2.5 cats (but only one cat was urine spraying outside the litter box). 1 cat never had access to the outside.

The median duration of the spraying problem amongst the FELIWAY® CLASSIC group was 24 months. In the placebo group, 8 were male and 4 female (11 neutered, 1 entire queen) and lived in a household with a median number of 1.5 cats (but only one cat was urine spraying). 2 cats had restricted access outside. The median duration of the urine group amongst the placebo group was 21 months.


A reduction in urine spraying by the fourth week of using FELIWAY® CLASSIC was recorded in 9 of the 10 cats in the FELIWAY® CLASSIC group and 7 of the 12 cats in the placebo group. In the placebo group, 2 cats were urine spraying with the same frequency at the end of the study and 3 more frequently.

However, the difference was significant only in the FELIWAY® CLASSIC group (p=0.004). By the fourth week of using FELIWAY® CLASSIC, the mean weekly level of urine spraying had decreased in both groups: from 11.9 (baseline) to 5.7 (4th week) in the FELIWAY® CLASSIC group and from 9.5 to 8.58 in the placebo group. In addition, the efficacy tended to increase with time.


In this trial, FELIWAY® CLASSIC was shown to be effective when used continuously at reducing urine spraying and the controlling new marks. This method is more convenient for owners than daily applications of FELIWAY® CLASSIC Spray, and is likely to result in greater compliance and improved success in treatment.

Mills D S, Mills C B Veterinary Record, 2001; 149, 197-199

a Meta-analysis of Studies of Treatments for Feline Urine Spraying.

Mills DS, Redgate SE, Landsberg GM PLoS ONE 6(4): e18448. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0018448 2011

Feline urine spraying at home is a common behaviour problem that owners seek advice for from veterinarians. Current strategies advocate cleaning urine marks and behavioural modifications to remove specific triggers alongside psychopharmacological and non pharmacologica interventions such as use of FELIWAY® CLASSIC in the environment. Several trials relating to different treatments are available in the literature, but without any consensus to date on the value of each treatment compared to the others. It appears that none is successful in completely resolving the behaviour in all urine spraying cats. This current study aimed to meta-analyse data from published trials that evaluated treatments for feline urine spraying. The search, done in 2009 on three electronic databases, included the following terms: Urine spraying, Urine marking, Cat, Feline, Behaviour/Behavior. Included studies had to be published as a peer reviewed publication, to provide sufficient information to extract representative data, and only to be about reactional vertical spraying. Among 24 identified studies, only 10 (from 9 publications) were suitable for analysis: 4 evaluated the use of FELIWAY® CLASSIC (synthetic analogue of the F3 feline facial fraction), and 6 pharmacotherapy papers (clomipramine or fluoxetine). Since all studies were not placebo-controlled, a placebo effect was calculated from two randomised controlled studies, then used in subsequent comparisons. Studied cats were mostly indoor, and living as single or multi-cats. A first analysis compared FELIWAY® CLASSIC (pheromonatherapy) and pharmacotherapy in terms of the number of cats that ceased or reduced urine spraying by at least 90% (meaning a decrease in urine spraying between 90 and 100%). A second analysis focused on FELIWAY® CLASSIC papers, with the number of cats that reduced urine spraying from baseline levels (whatever the decrease, compared to initial spraying).


The authors found a significant (p=0.001) association between the use of any intervention (FELIWAY® CLASSIC or psychoactive drugs) and the number of cats that stopped or reduced urine spraying by at least 90%. Analysis by intervention type indicated that fluoxetine, clomipramine and FELIWAY® CLASSIC may each assist in managing urine spraying beyond a placebo.

This Meta-Analysis showed that drug treatments and FELIWAY® CLASSIC were more effective than a placebo. Although, pheromones had a more limited effect on the threshold criteria compared to drug treatments, the number of cats that ceased or at least reduced urine praying greater than 90%. However, the comparison was done whatever the treatment duration (due to initial individual study designs), although fluoxetine and clomipramine trials lasted much longer than FELIWAY® CLASSIC trials (respectively up to 16 weeks compared to only 4 weeks).

In addition, some environmental modifications were implemented alongside drug treatment, whereas no change was added to FELIWAY® CLASSIC use. Thus, FELIWAY® CLASSIC effect reported here may be underestimated.

When looking at any reduction in urine spraying behaviour, a significant effect (p=0.05) was evidenced after 4 weeks of FELIWAY® CLASSIC use, compared to initial urine spraying rate.


This provides the strongest evidence to date that both psychoactive drugs and FELIWAY® CLASSIC are of added value in the management of feline urine spraying. This paper also highlights the need of further blinded controlled studies lasting for at least 8 weeks assessing the cessation or decrease of urine spraying at least 90%. Those would allow more direct comparison between the efficacy of FELIWAY® CLASSIC and drugs, as well as compliance (daily oral dossing for drugs versus plugging-in FELIWAY® CLASSIC Diffuser monthly).

Travelling and New Environments

Going into a cattery, moving to a new house/home, travelling by car or even just a few changes at home (new furniture, redecoration, etc..) can be particularly stressful for a cat. Here there are no reassuring marks and a plethora of strange noises, smells and often other cats to cope with.

FELIWAY® CLASSIC Spray and FELIWAY® CLASSIC Diffuser can help in those situations, as is shown by the trials outlined below.

Usefulness of the F3 synthetic pheromone, FeliWay®, in preventing behaviour problems in cats during holidays.

Sixty eight cats of 8 months of age and over, with no particular behavioural problem, were divided into 2 parallel groups (FELIWAY® CLASSIC Spray or placebo spray). Each travelled with their owners to a holiday cottage at least 60 miles (about 100 km) away from home, where they remained for 10 days or more. Each owner was asked to spray prominent objects within the home with the product provided (FELIWAY® CLASSIC Spray or placebo spray).

Owners were asked to ensure their cat’s last meal before the trip was eaten the night before and they left for the cottage early the next morning.

The study used 3 behavioural parameters: feeding behaviour (owners were asked to offer a meal to the cat on arrival and record any delay in eating), urine marking (owners were asked to record any incidence of spray marking and count the number of occurrences) and escaping (owners were asked to record whether their cats spent one or more nights away from the holiday home during their stay).


No spraying occurred in the FELIWAY® CLASSIC Group and the cats were seen to eat 35 minutes (+/- 7.5) after arriving in the new environment. 23.5% of the cats in the control group were observed to urine spray and it took 170 minutes (+/-3.8) (2 hours 50 minutes) before the control cats would eat.

In addition, all the cats in the FELIWAY® CLASSIC Group returned to the holiday home every night, while 61.8% of the control group didn’t return after their daily walks, requiring to be supervised or shut in. Statistical analysis showed that the results for all 3 criteria were statistically significant (p0.05).


This trial suggests that FELIWAY® CLASSIC is a useful tool in helping cats settle into a new environment and preventing the potential stress-related problems such as urine spraying or running away.

Pageat P, Tessier Y Proceedings of the First International Conference on Veterinary Behavioural Medicine, Birmingham, 1997; 231

effect of a feline facial pheromone analogue (FeliWay®) on manifestations of stress in cats during transport.

Fifty eight adult cats, ranging in age from 1 to 7 years, were assigned to 1 of 2 treatment groups (FELIWAY® CLASSIC Spray or placebo spray). Each cat was put in a carrier and driven by car between 60 and 300 miles (100 and 480 km). Treatment consisted of 8 spray applications of the product provided (FELIWAY® CLASSIC Spray or placebo) to the cat carrier half an hour before departure. The trial was blind therefore the owners were not aware of the solution they were applying.

Incidences of quantifiable stress-related behaviour (somatic responses) such as vomiting, urination or defecation were recorded. Non-quantitative undesirable behaviour such as meowing, agitation and salivation were scored by owners using a ‘stress scale’, graduated from 0 (quiet trip) to 6 (the driver had to stop the car). This information was then combined to give a global score.


Comparison of these scores showed a significant discrepancy in favour of the test group (p<0.001).


In this trial, FELIWAY® CLASSIC Spray showed a high efficacy in reducing somatic stress responses and anxiety-related behaviours in cats during car travel.

Gaultier E, Pageat P, Tessier Y Proceedings of the 32nd Congress of the International Society for Applied Ethology, Clermont-Ferrand, France, 1998; 198

Veterinary Practice Use

Going to the veterinary clinic and/or being hospitalised involves a dramatic and sudden change to a cat’s environment and can be highly stressful. In the practice, cats are shut in cages, handled by unfamiliar people and forced to alter their eating patterns*. In such circumstances cats usually spend more time being vigilant and attempting to hide than resting for recovery, eating or even behaving normally. In fact, not only are many conditions caused or exacerbated by stress, but stress is also known to have a negative impact on recovery. As a result, any attempt to reduce feline stress in a veterinary environment, including the use of FELIWAY® CLASSIC in the hospitalisation room, as well as in the waiting and the consultation rooms, is recommended.

*Carlstead K, Brown J L, Strawn W, Behavioural and physiological correlates of stress in laboratory cats, Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 1993; 38, 143-15

effects of a synthetic facial pheromone (FeliWay®) on behaviour of cats.

The cats in this study were at least 1 year of age and of a variety of breeds. Each was admitted to the veterinary hospital and housed individually in a cage, which included a litter tray, food bowl, water bowl and clean towel. Cats were kept in a typical ward that housed other cats and dogs and were therefore exposed to the typical noises, odours, sights and disturbances expected in the ward environment.

First study

Twenty cats (more than 1 year-old, varied breeds, 13 of which being admitted for evaluation of signs of lower urinary tract disease) were assigned to two groups (FELIWAY® CLASSIC group -4 healthy, 6 ill cats- or control group -3 healthy, 7 ill cats-). Each cat was placed in a cage containing a small cotton towel that had been sprayed 30 minutes previously, with either FELIWAY® CLASSIC Spray or the control solution spray. The cats were then videotaped for 2 hours 5 minutes to record the occurrence of various behaviours. Food intake was also measured.

Second study

Twenty cats were assigned to 2 groups. In group 1, all cats (2 healthy, 8 ill cats) were exposed to FELIWAY® CLASSIC, and had a cat carrier inside. While no cage was added in group 2 (5 healthy, 5 ill cats). Ill cats showed signs of endocrine, gastrointestinal, lower urinary tract or renal diseases. 24-hour food intake was measured. In all other ways, the protocol was the same as the first study (videorecording for behaviour analysis).


In the first study, significant increases in grooming and interest in food were found in cats exposed to FELIWAY® CLASSIC compared with the control.

In the second study, 24-hour food intake was significantly higher in cats exposed to FELIWAY® CLASSIC and the cat carrier, compared with cats exposed to FELIWAY® CLASSIC alone.


In this trial, exposure to FELIWAY® CLASSIC increased normal grooming, interest in food and food intake (increased by the addition of a cat’s carrier in the cage) in hospitalised cats. Results suggest that exposure to FELIWAY® CLASSIC may help cats feel more at ease in cage, in addition to the benefit of other features of the environment provided in the cage.

Griffith C A, Steigerwald E S, Buffington C A Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 2000; 217, 1154-1156