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Cat pheromones are pheromones that are used by cats and other felides for cat communication.

Feline facial pheromone[]

Feline facial pheromone is a hypothetical pheromone used by cats to mark places, objects, and persons as familiar by rubbing their face on surfaces. It is currently not known if there actually exists a "feline facial pheromone" and what its chemical structure is.

A preparation that claims to mimic the feline facial pheromone is commercially available under the name Feliway.[1] This product contains common fatty acids as active ingredients, mixed with Valeriana officinalis essential oil as attractant.[2] Valeriana officinalis is known for its behavioral effects on cats, similar to Nepeta (catnip).

"Cat attractants"[]

Cat attractants are odorants and constituents of essential oils that have an apparent effect on cat behavior. A cat presented with a cat attractant may roll in it, paw at it, or chew on the source of the smell. The effect is usually relatively short, lasting for only a few minutes after which the cats have a refractory period during which the response cannot be elicited. After 30 minutes to two hours, susceptible cats gain interest again. These compounds might mimic the feline facial pheromone.

The volatile chemicals that are currently known to cause these behavioral effects in cats are actinidine from Valeriana officinalis, nepetalactone from Nepeta (catnip), dihydronepetalactone, neonepetalactone, isodihydronepetalactone, epinepetalactone, boschnialactone, boschniakine, dihydroactinidiolide, actinidiolide, iridomyrmecin, (-)-mitsugashiwalactone, and onikulactone.[3][4]


  1. Feliway official web site Feliway official web site
  2. Patent US5709863 Properties of cats' facial pheromones
  3. Journal / Book Citation
  4. Journal / Book Citation


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