Herbs of Happiness for Cats

Two out of three cats react euphorically to catnip. There are alternatives for four-legged friends who are unaffected by this herb.

Cats have a highly developed olfactory system. In addition to smells and pheromones, they perceive fragrances produced by plants. Some of them, like nepetalactone from catnip, almost bring them into ecstasy: cats sniff, lick and bite the herb, rub their heads on it, roll over, salivate or kick at the plant. This can be used to enrich the animals’ environment, drive away stress or encourage overweight tomcats to play.

These herbs are arriving

There are alternatives for those who hate catnip. Behavioral researchers have now studied the response to various herbs. Almost 80 percent of the 100 house cats tested reacted to silver vine (Actinidia polygama, also known as matatabi). The cats especially liked the ovary, but some also liked the wood. The Asian plant can be ordered online as a powder, and toys filled with the herb are also available in stores.

After all, half of the cats tested reacted to real valerian (Valeriana officinalis), whose smell is often perceived as unpleasant by humans. Also, 50 percent of the cats liked the wood of the Tatar honeysuckle (Lonicera tatarica). It may not be easy to obtain, but a “purchase for life”, as the authors write.

There is no specific data on the harmlessness of cats, but all of the herbs mentioned are generally considered safe and not addictive for cats or humans.

Frequently Asked Question

How do you calm a cat?

Scented oils or special scented cushions can have a calming effect on your velvet paw. However, these should only be used in very careful doses. Valerian, lavender, and lemon balm are classic soothing scents.

What smell makes cats aggressive?

The less attractive smells include the smell of tea tree oil, menthol, eucalyptus, and the aroma of coffee. Onions and Garlic: The smell of onions and garlic also seem to be off-putting to cats.

How long can a cat play with catnip?

So that the catnip/valerian cat toy remains attractive for your cat for a long time, we recommend letting your cat play with the toy for about 15 – 30 minutes – after this time the enthusiasm for the scent noticeably decreases.

What does catnip cause in cats?

Catnip uses the scent to repel insects – it scares away uninvited guests. In cats, the reaction is probably sexual: nepetalactone is similar to the sex attractants that are released in the urine of cats and thus ensure the release of endorphins.

What is better for cats valerian or catnip?

Valerian and cat grass exert a similar fascination with furry friends. Catnip is euphoric, while valerian has more of a calming effect. Cat grass helps most cats clear congestion caused by hair. In a household with cats, none of the three plants should be missing.

Can catnip make cats aggressive?

How do cats react to catnip? Cats don’t always react the same way to the beguiling catnip. Depending on how they usually behave, the effects can also vary widely: they can become tired or active, calm, and even aggressive in some cases.

Is catnip harmful to cats?

The answer is no, catnip cannot create addictions, nor is it harmful to your velvet paw’s health. Only excessive consumption could give your house cat stomach ache, but most cats do not voluntarily go beyond a hesitant nibble.

How often can I give my cat catnip?

Items such as a new sleeping basket or the unloved transport box can be made attractive for the velvet paw, as long as the catnip scent is attractive to them. But: You should never offer catnip for playing every day to avoid overstimulating the cat.

How much catnip can I give my cat?

Don’t worry, catnip is non-toxic! The only danger would be if a cat ate large amounts of pure catnip. Then your cat could have an upset stomach. In small amounts, catnip is completely harmless.

Is lavender good for cats?

All parts of the lavender plant are harmless, at least for cats and dogs. If your darlings nibble on it from time to time, there is no risk of poisoning. In contrast, rabbits and guinea pigs can very well suffer from lavender poisoning.


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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