Cats vs. dogs: The efficacy of Feliway FriendsTM and AdaptilTM products in multispecies homes
Prior, M.R. and Mills, D.S. (2020) Cats vs. dogs: The efficacy of Feliway FriendsTM and AdaptilTM products in multispecies homes. Frontiers in Veterinary Science, 7. p. 399
The aim of this parallel randomised trial was to compare the effects of Adaptil™ and Feliway Friends™ on the cat-dog relationship in multispecies households where there was tension in the relationship between the species.
The study, which was carried out at the University of Lincoln, initially involved the development of a survey that could be used to capture the key details of the cat-dog relationship as reported by owners. The final survey consisted of ten items relating to undesirable interactions, and seven items on desirable interactions, which were scored by the animal’s owner using a five-point Likert scale. Additional questions assessed dog or cat comfortability, changes in owner routine and behaviour of any other pets in the household.
Participants for the randomised trial, which was carried out between October 2018 and March 2019, were recruited via online groups, social media, and posters in veterinary practices. Participants were allocated a diffuser based on the order of recruitment; all diffusers were visually identical and randomly allocated a number in batches of ten (five of each product). The researchers were blinded to treatment group.
Data was collected weekly using the survey, two weeks of baseline data was collected, with the diffusers being plugged in immediately after the completion of the second ‘baseline’ week survey. For analysis, the total undesirable interaction score was calculated as the sum of the Likert scale scores for the ten undesirable interactions; the desirable interaction score was calculated in the same way.
Thirty-six participants were recruited to the study and two failed to complete, leaving 34 subjects for analysis: 17 in each group. Results showed that between weeks two and six, there was a ≥ 50% reduction in undesirable behaviour scores in 8/17 participants receiving Adaptil™ and 5/17 receiving Feliway Friends™. A reduction of ≥ 30% in undesirable behaviours was seen in 12/17 participants in each group.
Between weeks two and six, there was a ≥ 50% increase in desirable interaction scores in 6/17 participants receiving Adaptil™ and 8/17 receiving Feliway Friends™. A ≥ 30% increase in desirable interaction scores was seen in 8/17 participants in both groups.
In the Adaptil™ treatment group, there was no significant difference in cat relaxation scores between baseline and end of the trial, but a significant difference was seen in dog relaxation scores. In the Feliway Friends™ treatment group there was no significant difference in dog relaxation scores between baseline and end of the trial, but a significant difference was found in cat relaxation scores.
Limitations of the study included the lack of a placebo group, the small group sizes and that 29 of the 34 participants worked in animal-related professions, which is not representative of the general population of animal owners.
This study provides some evidence of the effectiveness of two appeasing pheromone products on cat-dog relationships in multi-species households. Further studies, including a group that receives a placebo and another that receives both products simultaneously, are encouraged.
Image copyright attribute: Volodymyr Muliar