Thriving Cat

How To Calm Down a Cat

How To Calm Down a Cat

Two Products and Some Simple Home Improvements

There are many reasons a cat could be anxious, stressed, defensive or misbehave. Most behavior problems come back to anxiety. I have a cat who suffered from bad anxiety after we rescued him and he needed some serious help! I can show you exactly what we use to allow him to be a perfect cat!

Rescued cats often get anxiety due to fear or confusion at the total change in their world. They may have been mistreated in the past, but we will never know. If your cat pees outside the box, bites, growls, is jumpy or grumpy, check out these solutions. My cat did all of the above!

There are some simple changes you can make your cats living space so they feel safe and secure. You can also use these two amazing products that saved our cat and our house! These are Safe Space for Cats Drops by Jackson Galaxy and Sentry Calming Collars.

Safe Space for Cats Drops

 

If you have watched Jackson Galaxy’s TV show My Cat From Hell, you know there is hardly a cat out there that he can’t help. No matter how angry, aggressive and destructive, he is the cat whisperer and can calm them down by making them feel safe and secure. These drops are one of his secrets. They are applied on the fur. We use them twice per day and use a bit more than recommended, but it works and then we don’t need to use them more often as recommended on the bottle.

When we rub these drops into our kitties fur around his head and shoulders, he instantly calms down. It is pretty amazing. I cannot imagine life without these drops! Seriously. Try them today!

My boy is a hard case however, he needs both the drops and these pheromone mimicking collars to be happy. So, he wears the collar all the time as well as getting the drops twice per day.

Sentry Calming Collars

 

Pheromone mimicking products like these collars are very effective. They mimic the smell of the mother cat which calms all our kitties. All we smell is the lavender scent that is added. The smell can be pretty strong for the first few days but it wears off slowly over time. There is also an annoying white powder that coats the collars when they are new but that is supposed to be there. I brush the excess off before I put it on him.

These work. When the pheromones start to wear off after about 3 weeks, my boy get jumpy and anxious once again and may start peeing around the house! The convenient 3 pack box is super affordable too! It works out to only about $2-$3 per month.

The collar can be cut to adjust to any neck size.

NOTE: Make sure you have the collar adjusted to the right length. It should not be tight, but it also can’t be so lose the cat can get it’s lower jaw stuck in it. Some cats will try to chew it off and end up getting it stuck in their mouth between their jaws if it is too loose. This only happened once, briefly, then I learned I needed to be more careful. You should be able to fit a few fingers under it but it should not be loose.

Diffusers

You can also get Sentry and Comfort brand diffusers which plug in just like an air freshener. I started with those but prefer the collars now. They work the same way with the smell containing the pheromone mimicking ingredients. They end up being more expensive however. If you had many cats you needed to treat all at once this might make more sense but you are supposed to have multiple diffusers throughout your home depending on it’s size.

 

Give Your Cat Safe Places at Home to Feel Secure

The most basic way you can make your cat feel secure and reduce anxiety is to give him places that feel safe at home. Cats love to be up high so a good cat tree is essential. It gives them both a safe place to hang out and some play space and exercise. Cat trees can cost a fortune and any you see in a store will generally be several hundred dollars for anything over 4 feet tall. Here is a 6 foot tall cat tree (the higher the better to make efficient use of space in your home and give you cat more room) that is much cheaper than any others I have found. My cats hang out in this every day and use the scratching posts. It is positioned so they can sit on top and look out the window which they love. My scared boy is always happy on top of his cat tree. It is his happy place.

 

You can read my review of this cat tree here. Affordable, tall cat tree.

You can also provide other safe spaces such as cat dens, cat tunnels, covered cat beds, anything that is dark and enclosed that makes them feel safe. Position these in a corner or against a wall, or perhaps under a table or somewhere secluded. This will make them feel safer and more at home.

Finally, make sure you are patient and calm no matter what. Don’t play extremely loud music, don’t yell. Arguments are very stressful to cats that have been traumatized. They need a calm environment.

If your cat just needs a little help, these drops and collars may be all they need. It can take a long time for a cat to come around that has been traumatized. It may be a year or more! At some point you will have a breakthrough and suddenly they will feel more secure. They may come out of hiding or nuzzle your hand or purr when you pet them. They may decide they like to sleep on you. It feels amazing to make this progress. It takes patience but with the right products to help them and time, they will come around!

All of our cats decided to sleep on the bed with us from day one. Even if they hid under the bed during the day. Our boy who misbehaved still struggles if he runs out of the drops or collars (so we make sure never to run out), but he is so sweet now! He is affectionate and purrs and loves love. All three cats are fully integrated into the family now. They all feel secure and comfortable and are not scared.

I hope these suggestions help you with your kitties. Please let me know if you have used these to calm down a cat!

Jessica

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20 Comments

  1. Justin C.

    What a great article. I really like the sound of the drops. I know that these can be quick acting given that cats can absorb through their fur rather easily. How long does a bottle last you?

    I also really like the collar. I think its absolutely brilliant. Simple, inexpensive, yet highly effective. Do your cats ever try to take them off? My cats don’t really like collars and take advantage of the opportunity to take them off when we are not home LOL

    Im curios about the diffusers, what do they smell like?

    I agree that people need to give the cats space to be their own. In my previous house we built platforms for the cats that were attached to the walls so that they could climb all over. I was beginning to stress about our ever increasing cat tree epidemic so i took matters into my own hands and did something really cleaver for them.

    Reply
    1. Jessica (Post author)

      The bottle lasts a month and a half probably. I haven’t measured it.

      My cats don’t like collars either. Luckily only one of my cats needs to wear this. He hates it when we swap them out, but once it is on he seems perfectly fine. I don’t quite understand it. He completely ignores it. He doesn’t even mess with it at all. Yet when we switch the collars he acts like he is terrified. I really don’t get it. He doesn’t mind it at all when it is on.

      The diffusers smell differently depending which brand you get, either Sentry or Comfort Zone. The Sentry brand smells like lavender chamomile they claim. Comfort Zone doesn’t have an easily identifiable smell. I read online reviews that said it doesn’t have much smell and someone says it is a cross between ceder and coconut! Someone else said it smells metallic…so, not very helpful. Sorry. It has been a long time since I used them so it is hard for me to remember what each one smelled like.

      I can say the smell of the diffusers was not bad though. Honestly, it is less obnoxious than the smell of the collars when they are new for the first day or two.

      Another reason I don’t like the diffusers is that mine started smoking! I don’t know if it was defective but I have other people have had this happen as well. So I was not comfortable leaving the house with them plugged in! I was afraid they would burn the house down! We had wiring problems though (we don’t live there anymore) and I thought it might be due to that.

      We would like to build kitty shelves too!

      Thanks for your questions and comments.

      Reply
  2. carol

    I did not know that cats could suffer from anxiety. I remember my daughter had a cat that was rescued, but we never knew the reason for its strange behaviors. Reading this article has opened my understanding of products that can be used to calm a cat’s anxiety. I am now feeling sorry that she gave the cat away. I think that if we understood the cat’s anxiety, she would still have it today. I will share this post with her.

    Reply
    1. Jessica (Post author)

      Thank you Carol. Yes, it really puts things in a different perspective when you see them change over time. I now understand much better what it takes to help a rescued cat. These products help so much though. I can’t imagine being without them! For our first two cats they were not necessary but it took one of the over a year to get comfortable. For our third cat, it was much worse. He was peeing on everything and always jumpy and nervous. These products make all the difference for him.

      Jessica

      Reply
  3. Lauren

    Very helpful! I didn’t think you could get cat trees that big for that low a price, and didn’t even realize the drops and collars were a thing. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    1. Jessica (Post author)

      Thank you. Yes, I didn’t know about the drops before I found them out of desperation for my cat. I was so relieved to find some products that really work! They work so much better than the prescription medications also. Those are compounded liquids and taste so bitter the poor cat thinks you are trying to poison him!

      Reply
  4. Matts Mom

    This is great information and I plan to pass it on to my son. Him and his wife have a cat, that I call the cat from hell. This cat is mean! I get totally afraid of it, if it is in the vicinity of me. I kept telling him that normal cats do not act like this. They have no cat toys, nothing for her to climb on, nothing and she is bad. Will adding something for the cat help? If so I plan to pick something up, because I don’t like being totally terrified of a cat, who is very sweet and cute looking….which is very deceiving LOL!

    Reply
    1. Jessica (Post author)

      Hello Leahrae,
      If the cat is that aggressive, toys won’t be enough. It would help for her to have safe feeling places to hide like the cat tree, covered cat bed (you can just put a blanket or pillow inside a cardboard box with a hole cut in the side and put it in an out of the way place) or other nooks. A place to sit up high makes cats feel safe.

      It sounds like this cat will need some additional help though. I would highly recommend something like the collar or drops or even one of the diffusers if they can’t get a collar on her. My cat was not very aggressive, mostly jumpy and scared and peed on things. He can’t function normally even one day without the collar and drops.

      Thank you,
      Jessica

      Reply
  5. Marion

    Hi Jessica,

    My cat is allergic to flea bites. I have to use a flea collar on her all the time because without it she looses fur around her back legs. I used to use a cat flea collar but it has an elastic section and she caught her front leg in it at one time so I’ve switched to a dog flea collar which I cut down to suit.

    She’s an indoor/outdoor cat and uses the pet door to go outside. I don’t use a litter tray because she doesn’t need it.

    Do you have any suggestions for something more natural than the flea collar?

    Regards,
    Marion

    Reply
    1. Jessica (Post author)

      Hi Marion,
      I live in Alaska and we don’t generally use flea collars here. We don’t have bad flea problems and luckily we don’t have ticks! I have never used a flea collar on a dog or cat in my life so I am lucky! I am also totally inexperienced in this regard.

      I have heard flea treatments can be very toxic and lead to serious diseases. Other people have asked me about natural flea treatments. I should learn about them but at the moment I don’t have any suggestions.

      Thank you for your question!
      Jessica

      Reply
  6. Heidi

    I have 5 cats, one of which is blind and she has become the silent dominator of all the others – because they just don’t understand her behaviour and get anxious and angry about her ways of being. Now in summer this is not a big problem, but in winter it was – and will be again.

    In your article you name several products which can help to “make peace” among cats. I first didn’t believe in it and didn’t really try it out. It seemed too expensive. Then I actually tried the dispenser you name here – and I was really astonished how the atmosphere in the house became more peaceful and the outbursts much rarer than before.

    After the end of the dispenser I waited a while to buy the next, still believing that it was pure chance. But after a few days the old quarrels began and stopped only when I inserted a new dispenser.

    Fazit: It works and I am fine with it. And probably I will stick with it without even trying the other possibilities. But it is really very useful to know that there are several ways to calm down cats, and for different people and different cat-tribes there might a different product be needed.

    Reply
    1. Jessica (Post author)

      Hello Heidi,
      I am so glad to hear the diffuser worked for your kitties! In our case only one of our three needs serious help calming down. It was cheaper to put one collar on him then use diffusers. I don’t know about you, but in our case we needed multiple diffusers throughout the house so it cost a lot more than the one collar at a time.

      I think it is important for different options to be available for these kinds of different circumstances. If you could not get a cat to wear a collar then the diffuser or drops may be needed.

      I have never had a blind cat. Good for you for taking such good care of all your kitties!
      Thank you for your comment!
      Jessica

      Reply
  7. Andrea

    It was interesting to learn about drops making the cats feel safe and secure- do you need to continue to use the drops over a prolonged period of time or will the drops help to calm the kitty down overall?
    P.S What a beautiful photo- are these your two cats?

    Reply
    1. Jessica (Post author)

      Hello Andrea,

      Yes, those are two of my cats. They are the two boys. The long-haired one is the one who needs the drops and collar.

      I would only use the drops for some cats during stressful situations like moving, going to the vet or when there are fireworks. For some cats like my boy they may need them continually. It depends on the cat and their level of anxiety.

      Thanks for stopping by!
      Jessica

      Reply
  8. Emma

    I teared up over this article because when I was little we had a stressed little cat called Tammy and when mum was finally ready to get another dog, she disappeared for three days, turning up underneath the neighbors house. She was so upset that mum and dad got her put down and I always regretted not being able to find a home for her.

    Now with my own cat, who is not as jumpy but still gets stressed out, I am doing everything I can to make sure he is happy. He constantly licks his fur on his tummy and most of it has fallen out and is raw, red and sometimes bleeding. I’ve been using aspen remedy which is really good, and lately I’ve been trying them out on myself! (Great for social anxiety!!!) but they do wear off quite quickly and it hasn’t solved the overall problem. ‘
    Did you find that your cat was upset by the collar? I’m sure that mine would try really hard to get it off. Do you have to buy a new collar every three weeks or just the scent?

    Reply
    1. Jessica (Post author)

      Hi Emma,
      I would really recommend the drops even if you have trouble with the collars. My cat hates when we change the collars but once he has one on he completely ignores it! I don’t know how it works but he doesn’t mess with it at all! If your cat is too freaked out by a collar you could just try the drops alone and see if that works or you could try the pheromone diffusers.

      Yes, you need a new collar each time (3-4 weeks). They come in a 3 pack and a 6 pack also so it is not very inconvenient.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting,
      Jessica

      Reply
  9. Ioana

    Thank you for this very helpful article, I had no idea such drops existed! I’ll surely need to try them out. And the collar too. As for the calming environment, we do our best to offer her the best home, and hopefully, she’ll change her mood very soon.

    Cheers!

    Reply
    1. Jessica (Post author)

      I really hope they help you Ioana. Let me know!
      Thanks,
      Jessica

      Reply
  10. Alex Chong

    Oh, now I know Jackson Galaxy’s “secret”!! Hahaha.

    Frankly speaking, I do have some fear of cats. I remember this one time many years ago when we visited a shelter and I got clawed by a cat there. Since then, I tend to be very cautious around them. Note: I do not keep any cats but my best friend has 3 of them. My friend’s cats can be really hostile at times when I dropped by for visits and I think what you are recommending here will be very helpful to him…well, to me. 🙂

    I wondered though on how the drops work. Is it just the smell that calms the cats down or they get absorbed into the skin and the then the bloodstream? Also what kind of ingredients are in the drops?

    Reply
    1. Jessica (Post author)

      Hello again Alex,
      It helps to keep in mind cats are just like dogs. Some could bite you and some could lick you all day long. They have very different personalities and even more importantly they have had different experiences. Many in shelters have good reasons to be scared or defensive since they may have been mistreated in the past. Our cats never bite anymore but they did a few times when we first rescued them. They just get scared.

      Now they all sleep ontop of me (3 16 pound cats!) and as I sit here at my computer my one boy is on the back of the chair by my shoulders sleeping. He is the one that used to bite. Now he follows me everywhere just like a dog. He is incredibly loyal and definitely does not bite. He is in fact so gentle. He never claws me even accidentally jumping on and off my lap like the others do. Our first boy is asleep on top of my husband on the couch and our girl is asleep by his feet! They are all big babies now and cuddle all the time.

      To answer you question about the drops. They contain essences of a bunch of different plants and flowers like lotus, rose coneflower, chamomile, vervain, yarrow and more. They also contain some ingredients I don’t have any understanding of such as “full color spectrum” (don’t have a clue how that works!) and “Reiki energy”…as long as it works I am happy! It is just the smell that works as far as I know. I just put the drops on their fur I don’t put it on the skin.

      Thanks!
      Jessica

      Reply

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