I have rescued and fostered many pets over the years. Keeping my pets healthy and happy is my number one priority.
After the death of my beloved flame point Siamese to cancer, my family decided to adopt a four-year-old flame point Siamese from our local shelter.
The new cat has all the personality traits we love in a Siamese. He's demanding and playful and smart. But he also has some stress issues, mainly caused by adjusting to the other cats in our household and adjusting to recently being neutered.
While behavior such as stress spraying may be common, especially when adding adult cats to a multi-cat household, it can be annoying for the owner. It is also important to remember that your cat is likely to be feeling stressed as well.
In order to help reduce our new adult cat's anxiety, I decided to try the Sentry Calming Collar for Cats and see if it would help him to feel less stressed and ease his transition into our home.
Why My Cat Was Stressed
I adopted our Siamese flame point from a shelter. He was four years old, and his history was unknown. He had been neutered a month earlier, and he was up-to-date on all shots. He tested negative for FIV and FLVS.
Siamese are extremely intelligent cats, and because of this they also tend to be more neurotic and sensitive. Once the new cat was brought home, there was the usual distress that happens when adult cats try to work out their relationship.
I have added adult cats to the household before, but this time the new cat was having trouble adjusting with another male cat in the house. When he got distressed, the new cat would spray on the wall or table leg.
Your Cat Will Need to Adjust After Being Neutered
Spraying is odd behavior for neutered, male cats, and if you have a cat that is spraying, neutering will almost always fix that problem. However, it can take up to six months for the hormones to wane from a newly neutered cat, so he may continue to spray for several months after the procedure.
Since he was spayed well into his adulthood (and it is likely he was originally given up because of the spraying—many don't know how simple this problem is to fix with neutering and behavioral modification), I needed something to help him transition and stop being stressed.
After researching, I tried the Sentry Calming Collar. I am converted. This simple device really works!
How the Collar Works
The collar comes in packs of either one or three. The three-packs are a better deal. The collar lasts for approximately one month.
It releases pheromones that mimic the same smells given off by a mother cat around her kittens. These pheromones are stress relievers for cats, and many cats will immediately feel calmer and safer—just the way a kitten feels around its mother. The technology is much like the way a flea collar works and releases the smell as your cat moves, distributing it on its body and in the environment.
While the pheromones cannot be smelled by humans, the collar does have a lavender scent added to it. My husband noted that our cat now kind of smelled like a Glade Plug In, which was a little bit true. For me, the trade-off in behavior is worth the scent.
After I put the collar on my cat and cut off the excess ends of the collar, my cat hissed at me, ran off, and sprayed the wall.
"Great, a failure already," I thought.
But, that evening, I began to notice changes.
How My Cat Has Changed
I noticed that he wasn't as jumpy as he had been before and that he wasn't hissing at the other cats when they walked by. He calmly laid on the floor and groomed himself and came up more often for petting and attention. He is still playful and loves to bat balls and toy mice around the house, but he's less concerned and worried about the other cats.
Best off all, the spraying seems to have stopped. He was never completely missing the litterbox, only spraying a small amount on a vertical surface when he felt stressed. That seems to have stopped.
My plan is to use the collar for three or four months (putting on a new one each month) and then taking it off. At this point, we can see if the stress of the new home has passed and if everyone has settled into their places and routines.
Any time you introduce an adult cat into a house with other adult cats, there will be stress. Sometimes, though, the cat may need an extra boost.
I may also try a collar on my other tomcat who is a bit of bully but also timid around people.
What Are the Pros and Cons?
As with any pet issue or problem, it is best to consult your vet for a full physical exam to ensure your cat is not suffering from other health issues that may be causing the spraying or the scratching.
Some vets do recommend the collar but note it may take up to a month for a cat owner to see full results. As always, it depends on the cat, how the cat reacts to the collar, and the severity of the problem to start with.
Nothing is guaranteed (is it ever?), but the level of success I've personally seen and read about makes it seem like a cheap and harmless option for the frustrated cat owner to try.
Here is a breakdown of the pros and cons of the collar.
Your cat may not enjoy wearing a collar
Easy to put on/take off
May take days or weeks to work
May work instantly
May not work at all on your cat
Works like a flea collar and stays with the pet
Powder may initially show up on a darker cat's fur when first putting it on
There's very little to lose with trying this product. I was skeptical, but—like most owners with a chronic issue they are trying to solve—I was ready to try anything.
If your male cat is spraying or your male or female cat is scratching excessively or if they feel stressed for any reason, consider trying the calming collar.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Questions & Answers
Question: Does the Sentry calming collar make cats sleepy?
Answer: My cat didn't get particularly sleepy. However, that definitely sounds like a good thing if you were trying to have a calmer cat. Lavender has that effect on some.
Tina Russell on August 31, 2020:
This is a very dangerous collar! It almost broke my cat's jaw! We had it super tight too, we could barely get our finger inside it but he still got it caught in his jaw while cleaning himself. It was a terrifying experience for all involved and had to be cut off. Thank the Lord we were both home because it took both of us to get it safely cut off while my cat was so scared. This needs to be in your con list and people need warned. Since it's not breakaway they could also get it caught on something.
L C David (author) from Florida on March 07, 2017:
If he's not using the tray at all you might try something else. I had good luck with getting a prescription for Prozac for one of my cats with severe behavioral issues. I've known other people that had Prozac work for their cat as well.
LisaPedley on March 06, 2017:
Do you think this would work with not using the litter tray? (he is a 4 year old Ragdoll that has used the tray for 3 years and just last year decided he would go next to the tray) We have tried EVERYTHING else, and have been told it is likely behavioral. At my wits end at the moment, cleaning the laundry 2-3 times a day!
Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on April 17, 2014:
Interesting. I didn't know about calming collars. I wonder if it will help my one cat who seems to be on kitty crack half the time? :-)
L C David (author) from Florida on April 17, 2014:
Flourish I'm sorry I didn't discover this product years ago. I had a nervous female who would not stop having accidents in the house and she ended up having to live her entire life in my master bathroom (which is big but I still wish she could have had free roam). I think this is a really great product.
L C David (author) from Florida on April 17, 2014:
It does have a scent but is strongest when you first put it on. Flame points have very sensitive skin so I have watched him closely for irritation and have found none so far. Like I say, it is worth a try for those facing these frustrating issues.
Hilda Spann on April 17, 2014:
I found it too aromatic for me so I figured it couldn't have been great for the cat....I like the thundershirt for my wild thing
FlourishAnyway from USA on April 16, 2014:
Thank yo for this suggestion, as I have a spayed female who is a nervous nelly and nothing else works. Tried Feliway and it helped, ruled out medical issues and cleanliness issues, the girl is just a diva. I slip her some amitriptalyne for cats inherent favorite wet cat food and that helps,but I need not know the is a back up plan. This is good! she is such a good, pretty, loving cat. I forgive her errors.
L C David (author) from Florida on April 16, 2014:
Thanks Author Cheryl. Yes I think that most owners will see at least some improvement and some is better than none. I was skeptical but now I"m pretty sure I will be buying more of these.
Cheryl A Whitsett from Jacksonville, Fl on April 16, 2014:
This reminded me of how awful our fourth cat was. I have four cats. Buffy who is almost 14, Baxter who is 5 and Sia who just turned 2. In July we bought a big house and decide to add another feline. Charlie who was posed as a six month old kitten was a year old when we took him to the vets but his behavior to the other cats was awful. He targeted my little black cat Sia and was relentless always attacking my girls. So I bought the collars and put one on each of them because Baxter is a big old boy and Charlie wasn't going to mess with him. It did help. He never sprayed or tore up anything but the girls life was miserable to say the least. His behavior improved but not completely. We got a dog a month ago and he goes after Charlie when he hears any of the girls hissing. Voted up they really do help the cats. Thanks for reading my long post also lol