Beyond Catnip for your Cat

This toy is filled with a combination of catnip and valerian root.

Most people are aware of catnip, and the effect catnip has on many cats. However, did you know that there are several other herbs which your cat may enjoy?  Here are some other herbal treats your cat can try:

Valerian Root: Humans have used valerian as an herbal remedy for hundreds of years.  The root of this plant contains actinidine, which is similar to the nepetalactone found in catnip.  Many cats find valerian calming or soothing, and many react in the same way they do to catnip.  You can use this herb inside toys, or you may purchase a special valerian spray to be sprayed directly on cat toys.  While many cats seem to enjoy valerian, keep in mind that humans may find the scent of this herb unpleasant.

Honeysuckle: Approximately 30% of all cats respond to honeysuckle. Honeysuckle elicits a similar response as catnip in receptive cats. Of the many varieties of honeysuckle, there is only one species of honeysuckle, tartarian honeysuckle (Lonicera tatarica), which has an effect on cats. While honeysuckle berries/seeds are poisonous to cats, cat toys are made with honeysuckle wood shavings or sawdust stuffed inside. Some cats enjoy licking honeysuckle branches or sticks. If you try honeysuckle branches or sticks with your cat, to avoid accidental ingestion, supervise to ensure he doesn’t actually chew the branches.  Be sure to purchase from a reputable source so you are sure you are getting the correct variety of honeysuckle.

Matatabi: Also known as Silver Vine or Japanese catnip, this is a deciduous vine and also contains actinidine. The leaf of the Matatabi plant may be used in toys just like catnip is used, and in many cats it elicits a response similar to catnip.  You can also find small Matatabi sticks or branches that your cat may enjoy.

Have you tried any of these catnip alternatives with your cat?

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There are 3 comments

  • Carolynn Sager says:

    Not on purpose but, I use Valerian for myself and one day I spilled some on the floor and even though I wiped it up my two Devon Rex were very attracted to the spot and began rolling around on it like they would with Catnip. I didn’t know if it was safe so this is good to know.

  • Miss Louise Shanahan says:

    I bought a few matabi sticks for my cat… I’ve only given him one so far
    First time he played with it. Alot
    Slept for ages afterwards
    Since has been going off and sleeping alot which is quite unusual for him
    Is this behaviour normal?

  • John Cormier says:

    I would like to try the Watatabi silvervine sticks but I am concerned that the cat may swallow pieces as he chews away. Have you ever encountered this ?

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