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Home > Cats > Will a Calming Collar Work for a Cat? What Science Says

Will a Calming Collar Work for a Cat? What Science Says

blue cat with red calming collar lying on the asphalt

If you’re a parent to an anxious or easily frightened cat, you’re likely willing to give anything a shot that might soothe them at rough times. In recent years, more and more cat parents have been trying out calming collars, which are supposed to reduce stress and fear in cats, but do they actually work? According to cat behavior consultant Mikel Delgado1, they do—but only for some cats.

In this post, we’ll explore what calming collars are, how they work, and share some tips on how to calm your stressed, anxious cat.


How Do Calming Collars Work?

When nursing, mother cats produce pheromones that help soothe their kittens and help them to feel safe. Calming collars are infused with synthetic pheromones supposed to replicate this calming effect. These collars are designed to help minimize stress in cats and reduce problem behaviors associated with stress, such as scratching and urinating outside the litter box/marking.

Do Calming Collars Actually Work?

As Dr. Mikel Delgado explains, calming collars work for some cats but not at all for others, so there’s no guarantee they’ll have any effect on your cat. They’re also only a short-term solution even if they do work. For example, some cat parents might try out calming collars on specific occasions when their cat gets stressed, like when it’s thundering outside or there are fireworks.

This is perfectly fine, but if your cat has deeper stress-related or behavioral issues like feline anxiety, calming collars can’t treat these conditions—only (potentially) the symptoms. If your cat is consistently stressed or afraid, they need to be checked out by a vet to find out what’s going on and to get appropriate treatment.

persian cat checked by vet.
Image By: didesign021, Shutterstock

Should I Try a Calming Collar?

If you’d like to give calming collars a go, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t—if they work for your cat, that’s fantastic! That said, some cats don’t take to collars well, especially if they’ve never worn one. If you’re planning on trying a calming collar for the first time, let your cat sniff it and get used to it in their own time before you put it on.

In addition, experts and cat parents are somewhat divided on whether or not cats should wear collars at all due to potential safety hazards like the collar getting caught, for example, on tree branches.

Some collars are designed to be “quick-release”, which means they open up easily if the collar gets caught to prevent injuries to your cat. You might want to consider one of these for peace of mind and also consider only putting the collar on your cat while you’re there to supervise.


How Can I Calm My Stressed Cat?

There are a few things you can try to relax your frightened, stressed-out feline or at least reduce their symptoms. Here are some top tips:

  • Offer a safe, covered place—like a cat condo—with enough room for your cat to stand up in. This is a place they can always go to when they’re afraid.
  • If your cat is stressed out, stay close to them but give them plenty of space. Avoid picking them up or cuddling them at this time (unless they come to you asking for attention), even though it feels like the right thing to do.
  • Talk to your cat in a soothing voice—from afar if necessary.
  • Keep their essential items like litter boxes and hideouts in the same places and always available. This sense of consistency and routine is soothing to cats.
  • If your cat is rubbing up on you or objects, let them. This is their way of marking their territory and it helps them feel safe. If they’re using destructive methods to mark, like scratching, make sure there’s a cat post around that they can unleash their urges on.
  • Make sure your cat gets plenty of exercise on a daily basis.
british shorthair cat scratching the post
Image By: Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay



Final Thoughts

In short, calming collars may be a great temporary solution for some cats, but they simply don’t work for others. If your cat is consistently displaying symptoms of anxiety or seems frightened or nervous a lot of the time, we highly recommend consulting your vet as there’s likely a deeper issue at play. Your vet can determine what’s causing your cat to stress out and can recommend an appropriate course of action.

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Featured Image Credit: Tinka Mach, Shutterstock

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