A Brief History of Cats and Feliway for Cat Behaviour

When your cat is sitting on the sofa he is nothing more than an adorable cuddly ball of fur that, at a first glance, doesn’t look like he could ever hurt a fly. He seems so quiet and absorbed with his self-centred thoughts, as he sits and mulls over your odd ways and the ways of the world. But the moment your cat arises from his momentary dull state, you know he’s got some sort of trouble brewing in his head that is just about to spill out into the real world. Sounds familiar? Cat owners have faced problems with cats since before the days of Cleopatra.

Egyptians were the first people to domesticate cats about 4000 years ago, but still I wonder what Cleopatra did with her cats in the days of Egyptian splendour. Just think, cats were so popular and a very integral part of the Egyptian culture, that whether she liked cats or not she would have had to respect tradition and make the care of palace kittens a truly sacred affair. The Egyptian people so loved their cats because they helped in protecting the harvest and food stores from rats. Cats also provided a useful service of helping hunters catch birds from the marsh. Therefore cats became associated with great hunting skill. Egyptian cats were respected as great hunters and worshipped as gods and goddesses. In fact, so great was the Egyptian love of cats that cats were mummified before burial and there was a death penalty for anyone who would kill a cat. When a cat from an Egyptian household died, all the members of the home would go into deep mourning and shave their eyebrows.

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But I am sure the Egyptians had some secret or the other about keeping cats under control, if they didn’t, I don’t think the palace would have been as grand as history has put it out to be. There would have been claw marks on the throne, shards of curtain flying in the Egyptian afternoon breeze, “stuff” in the corners of the hall, and pee on the red carpet. Cats have been known to swap with ease from their cuddle cat face to their bad cat antics. Running off the property and into “trespassers shall be prosecuted” territories, scratching on your living room wall or favourite sofa, and marking “territory” on your clean laundry are just some of the daily issues that cat owners are faced with. Unfortunately there are only so many ways to keep a cat grounded. While it’s fairly easy to teach a dog to obey, cats are rebellious and have their own ideas.

Thankfully for us now a days, Feliway was created in 1997 by a pharmaceutical laboratory in France called Ceva Sante Animale. Feliway, also sold as Comfort Zone in some stores, is liquid product that is available as Feliway spray or Feliway Diffuser. This liquid is a synthetic copy of feline facial pheromones. Cats give off pheromones from scent glands that are located in different parts of their body like their face, paw pads, and anal glands. Pheromones are chemicals that are released by animals to influence the physiology of that species. When a cat is new to an area and is inspecting it they will often rub their facial pheromones on it so that they can familiarize themselves with the spot. This is like marking their territory through putting a check mark on the area. Doing this gives them self-comfort and reminds them that this area has already been inspected and is acceptable. Whenever a cat feels stressed or frightened they tend to act territorial and mark their area by spraying, scratching, or making a mess in an attempt to gain control of their surroundings and feel safe again. Because Feliway imitates the pheromone smell that cats give off during marking, it helps cats to feel safe and secure during times when you have moved to a new house, are travelling, introducing a new pet or baby, or even changing the furniture.

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