Do Calming and Behavior Tonics Work for Cats

I’m not a scientist, but I’m going to give you my opinion on it anyway. Take it or leave it.

Pet owners are sometimes desperate people. Their unconditional love and affection knows no bounds, but their knowledge of animal behavior and anatomy definitely does. I’m constantly reminded that the average person has no idea how to express their pet’s anal glands, trim their nails, or perform even basic grooming. This is why they are so desperate when their cats begin to behave in a way that they’ve never witnessed before. “Why would my precious Floof start spraying urine on the oven door? Why did my veterinarian say they will have to sedate my cat just to vaccinate him? Why does my cat keep getting crystals in his urine?” Most cat owners don’t have a great understanding of why any of these things would happen, so when they see a product on-line or in the store that specifically addresses one of these problems, they JUMP for JOY! They’ll try anything (because cat pee stinks, and bladder-stone removal is expensive). This is what the companies peddling all these new pet supplements, tonics, enzymes, serums-whatever you want to call them- are counting on. They are counting on YOUR desperation and ignorance when it comes to basic pet health maladies (and the fact that you might not read the ingredients before purchasing).

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then you probably aren’t familiar with Jackson Galaxy, Two Crazy Cat Ladies, The Natural Pet, the list goes on and on. Just name a feline medical or behavior problem, and they’ve got a tonic for it. Is your cat a bully? There’s a tonic for that. Does your cat get stressed during the holidays? There’s a tonic for that (In my house it’s called Vodka). Does your cat need a boost of confidence? They’ve got the answer! Are the ingredients mostly water, yes. Do they work? I can take a very educated guess on the answer, but as there are currently no scientists remotely interested in doing studies on a treatment that is 99% water and 1% dandelion extract/rose hip/lavender oil, no one will be able to confirm my suspicions. While researching for this post, I actually came across an ingredient called “double helix water” (I kid you not). Don’t worry, I’m including a definition of it for your reading enjoyment. I also stumbled upon the ingredients “Full Color Spectrum” and “Reiki Energy” in several tonics. I’m not dismissing homeopathic remedies, but come on people. You can’t sprinkle a few rare herbs in with mostly water (even if it’s “double helix water”), say that you added “Reiki Energy” and sell it as a product to keep cats from marking, can you? Actually you can. The FDA doesn’t evaluate any statements on pet supplement bottles. They can claim whatever they want, as long as they put in fine print somewhere on the bottle that “this product is not intended to treat or cure any diseases.” And if you actually believe that they are “bottling” reiki energy and infusing it into these pet tonics… well this might be the wrong blog for you. **I thought full color spectrum had to be referring to a type of reiki, but there was a comma between the two, so I’m guessing that’s something else entirely. I don’t possess the mental inhibitions required to even begin to speculate how “full color spectrum” can be a tangible ingredient. Please enlighten me in the comments section if you know what this refers to.

It is thought that over time, drinking double helix water (and using its infused creams) may help your body bypass blocked or misaligned meridians allowing Qi to flow freely through your body

I do need to make one important distinction; I am NOT referring to pheromone sprays such as Feliway. I personally haven’t had any success with the Feliway diffusers for marking behaviors, but have heard from others who had decent results. I have, however, had success with Feliway aerosol spray and pump products, which I’ve used to spray onto towels or bedding of fractious cats. It’s one of those things that helps sometimes, under perfect conditions, and used in conjunction with other things. Most veterinarians believe in the science behind Feliway, and regularly recommend their products, which are in no way comparable to the snake oil tonics being peddled online.

If your cat is exhibiting any strange behaviors or symptoms that are either worrisome or problematic, you should just google it and then buy the appropriate corresponding tonic, right? NO! This was just to see if you are still reading! You should speak to your vet and see what they recommend! Urinary issues in cats can spell serious problems- you don’t want to play around with something like that by giving a product that’s never been seriously evaluated in studies. Marking behaviors may not be as serious from a health stand-point, but they can be absolutely detrimental to your relationship with your cat. Your vet can recommend behavior modifications, diets, and even anxiety medications for marking. It isn’t easy to correct, but it is possible with hard work. What I can almost promise though, is giving Fluffy a dropperful of water and elderberry won’t do the trick. Go ahead- try it and get back to me.

Some final thoughts…shouldn’t veterinary technology classes be offered as electives in high-school? Most students will eventually grow up to own multiple pets in their lifetime- wouldn’t it be nice if they knew what labored breathing or a case of ear mites looked like? Wouldn’t it be absolutely brilliant if they learned that marking is a completely normal feline behavior, and that a cat’s personality is almost completely formed by the time it’s 3 months old? Wouldn’t it be absolutely RADICAL if they could scruff their own cat and shave it’s butt when it gets poop stuck to it’s tail? I’m suggesting it might be more beneficial in the long-run than teaching our kids how to sew a pillow in Home-Ec class. If that’s still a thing. Just a thought.

Want to try the Feliway diffuser? Here’s our link to it!

Still have questions? Or want to tell us that double helix water and dandelion threads helped your cat stop spraying? Send us a comment!

~Shannon & Whitney


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