Cookie use on MRCVSonline
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive all cookies.
If you would like to forward this story on to a friend, simply fill in the form below and click send.

Your friend's email:
Your email:
Your name:
 
 
Send Cancel

Pheromones key to harmonious pet relationships – study
Pet owners in the study noted a fall in undesirable interactions, such as their dog chasing the cat.
Researches assess the effects of pheromone products on cat-dog interactions.

A first-of-its-kind study led by the University of Lincoln has revealed that pheromones could be the key to a harmonious cat-dog relationship.

The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Veterinary Science, analysed the effects of two different pheromone products – Feliway Friends (Cats) and Adaptil (Dogs) - on cat-dog interactions. Researchers found that both products had a positive impact on the interactions between cats and dogs living in the same household.

Over six weeks, pet owners noted a decrease in undesirable interactions, such as their dog chasing a cat, or their cat hiding from the dog. Adaptil users also noted a rise in some desirable behaviours, such as friendly greetings between cat and dog, and time spent relaxing in the same room.

Professor Mills, a professor of veterinary behavioural medicine in Lincoln's School of Life Sciences, said: "Although we are all aware of the perceived tensions between cats and dogs, we believe this is the first study of its kind to explore the use of pheromone products to improve the relationship when the two species are living in the same household.

“Many cat and dog owners report that their animals are comfortable in each other's company, but where this isn't the case, a poor relationship between a resident cat and dog can have serious consequences for the welfare of individual animals.”

In the study, pet owners were split into two groups and randomly assigned an unlabelled pheromone. The group reported weekly on the frequency of 10 specific undesirable interactions and seven specific desirable interactions between their cats and dogs.

Researchers were aware that, in many households, the comfortability of the cat seemingly has a stronger influence over the quality of the cat-dog relationship. They were therefore surprised to learn that it was Adaptil - the product releasing dog pheromones - that increased specific desirable interactions.

Dr Miriam Prior, who undertook the work as part of her PhD, said: "While it might be expected that Feliway Friends would be more effective in multi-species homes given the apparently stronger contribution of the cat's comfortability to the quality of the cat-dog relationship, this did not appear to be the case. Our results might be explained by the behaviour of the dog being the primary determinant of the cat's quality of interaction with it.

"We would like to investigate this further to really tease out the effects of these pheromone products individually and also to investigate their use in combination with each other. We suggest that Adaptil may have had such a beneficial effect because a more relaxed dog may be less likely to disturb the cat (e.g. by chasing it), resulting in a cat that is less stressed and more willing to form some form of social bond with the dog."

Become a member or log in to add this story to your CPD history

Tickets on sale for horse welfare conference

News Story 1
 Tickets are now on sale for the 'Welfare and Performance of the Ridden Horse' conference, due to take place at Nottingham University on Saturday, 11 December 2021.

World-renowned researchers, including Prof. Hilary Clayton and Dr Sue Dyson, will deliver the latest research updates. There will also be interactive Q&A sessions throughout the day, interactive polls and a fun evening of entertainment.

Organisers say that in the event of further coronavirus restrictions, day tickets will be transferred to livestream tickets. For more information about the conference and to book your place, click here.  

Click here for more...
News Shorts
SRUC to host virtual parasitology event for vet practices

Veterinary practices across the UK are being invited to an online CPD event hosted by Scotland's Rural College (SRUC). The event will include a 30-minute discussion on parasitology by Professor Neil Foster, head of the department of veterinary and animal science in SRUC's North Faculty.

The event takes place via Microsoft Teams on Wednesday, 16 September (6-7 pm). Certificates of CPD attendance will be provided, and a questionnaire will be distributed following the event with ideas for future events and courses. Click here for more information and to book a place.