Can the use of a synthetic feline interdigital semiochemical (FIS), with the provision of a scratching post, redirect unwanted scratching behaviour in cats better than provision of a scratching post alone?
Clinical bottom line
Category of research question
The number and type of study designs reviewed
Three studies were evaluated. One was a randomised blinded trial on a single group of subjects following a crossover repetition design (Cozzi et al., 2013), the second was an open, uncontrolled study (Beck et al., 2018), and the third was a randomised unblinded trial on a single group of subjects using a placebo (Zhang et al., 2019).
Strength of evidence
In two of the three studies where the FIS pheromone was applied to the scratching posts resulted in a statistically significant increase in the cats’ scratching behaviour compared to the control. The third study showed a result approaching statistical significance (p = 0.06).
Based on the assessed studies there is weak evidence that FIS used in conjunction with the provision of a scratching post is more successful in redirecting unwanted scratching behaviour than provision of a scratching post alone. However, further studies using larger and more representative cohorts are needed in order to confirm the accuracy of these results.
The application of evidence into practice should take into account multiple factors, not limited to: individual clinical expertise, patient’s circumstances and owners’ values, country, location or clinic where you work, the individual case in front of you, the availability of therapies and resources.
Knowledge Summaries are a resource to help reinforce or inform decision making. They do not override the responsibility or judgement of the practitioner to do what is best for the animal in their care.
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