McGlone, J. J., Garcia, A., Thompson, W. G. et al. 2019. Maternal-neonatal pheromone/interomone added to cat litter improves litter box use and reduces aggression in pair-housed cats. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science 22(2), 127-138.
Introducing a new cat into a household with one or more resident cats can be a significant source of stress for the cats involved. These studies sought to determine if rabbit maternal-neonatal pheromone (2-methyl-2-butenal [2M2B]) in litter impacted cat social behaviors and litter box use. Study 1 determined that cats preferred to eliminate in litter containing 2M2B; other semiochemicals tested did not change litter box use. Cats prone to aggression were identified in an intermediate pilot study, and eight pairs of these cats were selected for Study 2. In Study 2, cat pairs were provided litter containing either vehicle or 2M2B for 24 hours. Cats experiencing control litter displayed more aggression during the first 6 hours (p < .01) and spent more time using the litter box 12 hours and 18 hours after pairing compared with cats experiencing litter with 2M2B (p = .02). These results suggest 2M2B-infused cat litter may act as an interomone in cats housed domestically to prevent initial occurrences of aggression and may improve cat welfare in multicat households.