Best Calming Products for Cats

Updated September 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

33 Models Considered
7 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
342 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Buying guide for best calming products for cats

Last Updated September 2019

There’s nothing quite as comforting as having a cat in the house. Its oddball antics make you laugh and reduce your anxiety, and petting your cat likely helps you relax, too. So, when your cat goes off the deep end and hides, meows excessively, jumps at the slightest sound, makes vet visits unbearable, claws and bites, or simply acts like it’s terrified of the world, it’s time to find some products to help calm your fur baby down.

As owners know, cats are finicky, even when it comes to calming products, so not every product works for every cat. You might need to try a couple products to see which one relieves your pet’s anxiety. If you’re introducing a new cat to the family, you might need different products for each feline to smooth out the transition.

There are six categories of cat calming products (not including catnip, which may rile your cat), including vests, collars, diffusers, wipes, treats, and oils. Choosing the best option is a matter of knowing what your cat will tolerate when administering a calming product. Our shopping guide covers all the categories, and we’ve included some of our favorites, too.

Calming treats given 30 minutes before a stressful event, such as going to the vet, may be of help. Some treats include amino acids that help your cat produce more dopamine and thiamine to reduce irritability.

Key considerations

Cat disposition

You may have to choose a product depending on the personality and disposition of your cat. In other words, if you can’t get your kitty to eat a chill-out chew, stay still to put on a calming collar, or wear a relaxing compression vest, you might have to stick with sprays or diffusers.

Convenience

Convenience means different things to different people. If you don’t mind spraying a calming cat product around the house every other day, that’s likely the right product for you. Perhaps it’s most convenient for you to put a collar on your cat so the calming product can be available 24/7 without your intervention.

Ingredients

Consider the type of ingredients you want your cat to ingest or inhale. Though all ingredients are likely extremely safe for your cat, you might prefer a treat with a nonsedative product in it like L-theanine, a soothing amino acid found in green tea, versus one that will make your kitty sleep. Another example is lavender. Though fresh lavender isn’t toxic to cats, lavender oil is dangerous, and you may prefer a product that is completely lavender-free. Or you might prefer treats that are non-GMO or organic, all of which are readily available.

Simple plug-in solution

Putting this calming diffuser (sold separately) and refill in the area where your cat is anxious could be a sanity saver for you and your kitty. One unscented refill covers up to 650 square feet of space and lasts for about 30 days. You can use the refills in the same space with other scented air freshener plug-ins without any problem.

Features of calming products for cats

Multipacks

  • Diffuser: If you’ve found a diffuser kit that works for your cat, you’ll appreciate the multiple refill packs, which come in all configurations. You can find a kit that has three diffusers and six refills, for example, or packages of two or three refills and no diffuser.

  • Collar: As with diffusers, you’ll find multipacks of calming collars. Multipacks of collars are ideal for a home with multiple cats. Collars are adjustable, fitting necks up to 15 inches, so size isn’t an issue when purchasing a multipack.

Breakaway collar

It’s critical to make sure that any collar you put on your cat is either stretchy or designed to open fairly easily. The cat needs to be able to get free of the collar if the strap gets caught or tangled in something. You also don’t want your cat’s jaw to get stuck and injured in a collar that won’t pop off. That also goes for a calming collar for cats. It’s a feature you need to be vigilant about when purchasing a collar.

EXPERT TIP

If using a collar on your cat, make sure it fits well. If you can put just one or two fingers between the collar and your cat’s neck, that’s a good fit.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

If your cat hides out of fear, put a pheromone diffuser in the area where the cat hides for a calming effect.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

Fifteen minutes before going to the vet, spray a calming pheromone product inside and outside of the carrier, on a towel, and on your own clothing as a way to reduce your cat’s anxiety.


Staff  | BestReviews

Calming products for cats prices

Inexpensive: If you start with small batches, you can try out a number of products to see which ones work. In the range of $3 to $9, you can find calming paw gel, small bottles of stress drops, a small bag of calming treats, and relaxing sprays.

Mid-range: From $10 to $19, you’ll see more homeopathic drops, larger bags of treats, larger bottles of drops, including hemp oil, and diffuser kits. Not all diffuser kits in this range include the diffuser, but many do include them in the starter kit. You’ll also spot calming collars in this range.

Expensive: In the $20 to $40 range you’ll find multipacks of calming collars, bottles of drops, and diffuser refills. Once you find a product and dosage that work for your cat, you can begin to take advantage of the refills, which will end up saving you money in the long run. You’ll also find the pricier calming cat compression vests in this price range.

Calming herbal formula

This nontoxic pheromone spray can be applied to your cat’s bedding and carrier and on your clothing, but it’s not to be sprayed directly on your cat’s fur. Spray the upholstery in your car to calm your cat down for long car rides. If you have any questions or problems, customer service is top-notch and responsive.

Tips

  • Never give essential oils to cats. Though essential oils can do wonders for humans, never administer them to cats because it can damage their liver functioning. Cats can’t break down the compounds in essential oils, and it can lead to serious consequences. Instead, put dry herbs inside a toy or small pillow, or use a professionally formulated liquid product so that cats can safely benefit from the relaxing qualities of calming leaves and flowers.

  • Introduce a collar slowly. Immediately putting a collar on a fussy cat can cause even more stress. If you’re determined to use a cat-calming collar, here’s a trick for using it on a difficult pet. Introduce your pet to the collar before putting it on. Let your kitty sniff it. Give treats as positive reinforcements each step of the way.

  • Try a diffuser if you have more than one cat. The best option to bring harmony to a multi-cat home is to use a diffuser that gives off calming pheromones to numerous pets at one time. A diffuser won’t cause added stress because you don’t have to make the cats wear anything. If a cat doesn’t like the pheromones from the diffuser, there’s no harm done. Your pet will just leave the room.

  • Try treats. Treats and other anti-anxiety cat foods likely contain tryptophan. That’s the compound found in turkey that promotes sleepiness in humans, but it also works for cats. Treats will also calm an upset stomach, which may be one reason your cat is anxious. Treats may also include an ingredient called alpha-casozepine, which may have a mild calming effect on stressed animals.

Other products we considered

We’d be remiss if we didn’t consider one solution that some cat owners love. The Thundershirt for Cats is a compression vest that gently snuggles a cat’s torso to reduce general anxiety. The theory behind the vest is that it’s like swaddling a baby. The vest is made of fur-resistant fabric and comes in three sizes. There are anecdotal reports that it seems to help cats be less fidgety. We also like the Feliway Animal Health Wipes, which are infused with pheromones that can help your cat feel safe and secure. You use them like cleaning wipes that you use on counters, but these wipes aren’t to be used directly on your cat. Wipe the carrier inside and out, or a spot in the house that causes your cat anxiety. If you want to test the waters with hemp oil, we found a good choice in the well-received Animalest Hemp Oil for Dogs and Cats. Give your cat a couple of drops twice a day directly on the tongue or on food or treats. This is not CBD oil. It’s non-GMO and contains omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 fatty acids for added benefits for your cat’s coat. The Bach Rescue Remedy Natural Stress Relief for Pets is an alcohol-free version of a product created over 80 years ago for humans. The oral drops contain five soothing flower essences. There are plenty of reports that this formulation, called by one cat owner “nirvana in a bottle,” helps to calm down hyperactive cats.

For best results, use layers of calming tools, such as a pheromone spray, diffuser, collar, wipes, playtime, and training. One calming tool may not be enough to fix the issue while multiple tools may work well together.

FAQ

Q. Will hemp oil or CBD oil relax my cat?

A. It’s becoming more accepted to give cats hemp oil or CBD oil to calm them down. The two oils come from the same plant, neither is psychoactive, yet they are very different. Hemp oil comes from the hemp plant’s seeds and does not have any CBD in it. CBD oil is extracted from other parts of the hemp plant and there’s no THC in it to get your pet high. You probably won’t get much help from the veterinary community regarding these products due to legal issues in some states. You’ll find plenty of products to try online, especially hemp oil for pets, if you choose to go this route. If you’re considering giving your pet hemp oil for anxiety, consider the quality control and dosing of the product. Hemp oil should be given in the recommended dosage in food. Though it’s extremely rare to give your cat too much hemp oil, scour the directions so you know the correct dosage to give your pet. As long as it’s odorless, you have a good chance of getting it into your kitty’s belly.

Q. Can I reduce my indoor cat’s anxiety in ways that don’t involve any products?

A. Yes, you can train and play with your cat to reduce anxiety. An indoor cat needs more playtime than an outdoor cat that naturally burns off energy. If you train an anxious cat, use a clicker and always offer positive feedback and interaction. Other cats love to train with ordinary treats. Playtime uses up the excess energy that makes a cat anxious, and you’ll also create a stronger bond that helps to reduce fear and anxiety.

Q. What are pheromones and how do they calm cats?

A. Pheromone products may be a solution to your cat’s unwanted behaviors, fears, and anxieties, but why? Pheromones are chemical signals naturally produced by cats (and every other species) that cause specific responses from others of the same species. Some pheromones can signal cats to become alarmed, aroused, bonded, anxious, and calm. The right pheromones can calm your cat down. Synthetic pheromones, such as those produced by nursing mother cats or facial pheromones that they rub and release on surfaces when they feel relaxed in an environment, are used in calming products to make a cat feel safe and secure.

The team that worked on this review
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    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Enid
    Enid
    Editor
  • Jennifer
    Jennifer
    Writer
  • Marilyn
    Marilyn
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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