Alternatives To Catnip

Catnip leaves many a house cat completely cold. That’s why we show you four lesser-known alternatives for cats who don’t like catnip.

Many cats love the smell of catnip. A catnip-scented toy will encourage play and perk up tired cats. If the cat is stressed and anxious, the scent of catnip can calm it down. However, there are some cats who are completely unresponsive to the smell of catnip. If your cat belongs to this group, you should try these four alternatives to catnip.


Tatar honeysuckle (Lonicera tatarica) is a bushy shrub native to Siberia. The shoots, branches, and trunks are particularly interesting for cats because they are particularly rich in stimulating scents. The berries, on the other hand, are taboo because they are poisonous to cats! It is best to use prefabricated pieces of wood: their aroma can be refreshed again and again by slightly moistening them.

If you want to grow Honeysuckle yourself, you should – as with any cat plant – pay attention to organic quality!

  • Location: sunny to semi-shady
  • Flowering period: May to June
  • Water requirements: fresh to moist
  • Frost resistant

Cat Germander

The cat germander (Teucrium marum) is the favorite herb of many cats. The delicate plant, which looks similar to thyme, thrives mainly in the Mediterranean region. It is therefore used to the sun and feels at home in our areas in the rock garden or in balcony boxes, also with other Mediterranean herbs.

Katzengamander contains essential oils and fragrances that stimulate tired kitties. Older dried leaves seem to be most attractive to cats.

  • Location: sunny
  • Flowering period: July to August
  • Water requirement: medium
  • Winter protection recommended


The Japanese ray pen (Actinidia polygama) has long been known in Asia as a cat weed. In English, the plant – which is actually a wild relative of the kiwi – is also known as a silver vine. All parts of the plant, from the leaves to the wood and the fruit, are particularly attractive to cats due to the different scents they contain. Consumption is non-toxic.

The climbing plant feels at home in the garden, but also in pots or tubs – but the latter should be big enough in the long run.

  • Location: partially shaded
  • Flowering period: June to July
  • Water requirement: medium
  • Frost resistant

Ladder to Heaven

Jacob’s Ladder (Polemonium reptans) is a plant native to North America valued by Native Americans for its healing properties. Its roots give off a resinous valerian scent that is very intoxicating to many cats.

The creeping Jacob’s ladder makes a good ground cover in the garden, especially in damp places. As a balcony plant in a pot or tub, it also cuts a fine figure – both for herb-loving cats and for the human eye.

  • Location: sunny to semi-shady
  • Flowering period: May to July
  • Water requirement: moist
  • frost resistant
Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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