Do peace and harmony reign in your multicat household, or do your cats barely tolerate each other, or even get into fights? As many of you with more than one cat know, feline housemates don’t always get along. Aggression may include fighting but often occurs as passive blocking and staring. Feline victims may hide, flee or scream.
Now there is new hope for peace and harmony. Your cats may be eligible to participate in a clinical behavior trial on the management and resolution of aggression between familiar housemate cats with a new pheromone formulation. Theresa DePorter, BS, DVM, DECAWBM, DACVB, a veterinarian at Oakland Veterinary Referral Services in Bloomfield Hills, MI, is conducting a behavioral clinical trial to evaluate the effectiveness of pheromones to promote amicable interactions.
Pheromones are used by cats to mark objects, places and humans by rubbing the side of their faces against these surfaces. Cats also produce pheromones from their paws and tails. Since these pheromones can also communicate fear and distress, leaving these signals in the environment likely perpetuates the feline hostilities. Cats naturally are socially independent and lack the inherent skills to reconcile once hostilities have tainted feline friendships. Dr. Porter hopes to demonstrate that a new pheromone formulation can aid in management and resolution of aggression between housemate cats.
Your cats may be eligible to participate in the trial if they meet these criteria:
• Cats have been fighting for at least two weeks
• Minor or major aggressive encounters occur four times during the last two weeks
• Households of 2 to 5 indoor cats
• Cats must all be more than 6 months old
• Male cats must be neutered
• All cats should be healthy
• Cats that are separated are not eligible
• Cats given behavior drugs or pheromones are not eligible
Households that meet prequalification screening will be invited to attend one enrollment meeting in either Ann Arbor or Bloomfield Hills. The cats do not attend the meeting.
During this meeting, Dr. DePorter will explain feline aggression and inter-cat communication. Participants will also learn what to do and what not to do when their cats are being aggressive, and they will receive study materials and test pheromones. During the study, participants will keep a daily diary of aggressive events for seven weeks, and submit survey of behavior assessments once a week. Participants will also complete a brief phone interview every two weeks.
Upon completion of the study, participants receive an American Express Gift Card for $50 and a voucher for the new pheromone product.
For more information about the study, please contact Dr. DePorter via email.