- What Effects Does Catnip Have On My Cat?
- Plants that Cats Like
- Catnip easily tops the list of my cats favourite plants.
- Valerian is another cat favourite
- Cat Thyme
- Cat Grass
- Spider plants
- Silver vine
- Crazy for catnip
- So, what is catnip anyway?
- What is Catnip and Why do Cats Love it?
- TOP 10 PLANTS FOR CATS — PLANT A CAT FRIENDLY GARDEN FOR YOUR MOGGIE
- Cat-Friendly Garden Ideas: Tips For Creating A Cat-Friendly Garden
- Cat-Friendly Garden Ideas
- Cat-Friendly Plants for the Garden
- 1. Valerian
- 2. Silver Vine
- 3. Acalypha Indica
- 4. Cat Thyme
- 5. Tartarian Honeysuckle Sawdust
- Are Cats Attracted To Catnip – Protecting Your Catnip From Cats
- Why are Cats Attracted to Catnip?
- Protecting Your Catnip from Cats
- What Is It About Catnip?
- Selecting a Cat Litter Additive
- Eliminate Litter Box Aversion
What Effects Does Catnip Have On My Cat?
Catnip is a perennial herb from the mint family labiatae.
The term ‘catnip’ is thought to originate from the response cats show towards the plant. It is the nepetalcataria variety that most cats enjoy.
What happens when my cat has catnip?
The active ingredient nepetalactone, is an essential oil which alters the behaviour of domestic and other cat species. Around half to two thirds of cats will respond to this oil. Kittens may not react and only develop the full behavioural change at an older age.
A typical response includes sniffing, chewing, licking, head shaking, followed by chin, cheek, and body rubbing. The body rolling is similar to oestrous patterns and has thought to be an aphrodisiac, but this is unlikely.
Additional responses may include stretching, drooling, jumping, licking, aggression, and hyperactivity. The so called “high” will usually last between five and ten minutes.
1. Is it harmful to my cat?
No, cats wont overdose as they usually will refuse it once they have had enough.
2. How can I give it to my cat?
3. How much can I give?
There is no specific dose. If dried just a sprinkle at a time on scratching posts/floors etc. Avoid feeding in their bowl – if you cat eats too much it can cause digestive problems.
Plants that Cats Like
Not all cats like all the plants listed below. Cats are the oddballs of the animal world!
When planting for your cat garden here are a few suggestions.
Catnip easily tops the list of my cats favourite plants.
Catnip (Nepeta cataria) is a well known cat favourite and stories abound about its effect on felines, not only house cats but some of the large cats.
I have a page on Catnip and Why cats like it.
It’s easy to grow and strangely enough is mostly quite safe from cats until you pick a few leaves and bruise them to release the smell cats love. There are exceptions of course and some cats will dig it up.
Here are a couple of my cats checking out the catnip patch. It’s early spring and few things are growing.
You can easily get seeds online but sometimes just throwing commercial catnip in the soil will give you enough seeds to get a few plants. It seems that catnip prefers to have seeds exposed to some light to germinate, so don’t bury the seeds, just press them into the top of the soil and keep moist. It usually comes back for a second season and reseeds itself. A few plants dried in a hight place will supply my herd over the winter.
The nepetalactone contained in the nepeta (catmints) attaches to olfactory receptors of cats, usually causing temporary euphoria, sometimes it makes them playful or aggressive. Catmints also produce a mild sedative effect on humans and cats seem to want to sleep after they are finished rolling around and eating their catnip.
There is a large range of variations of the Catmints and Catnips. Some people classify catmint as (nepeta mussinii), at any rate the cats will love them.
Wee kittens don’t like the smell and I’ve seen some being afraid of the smell.
Some of the cat mints have nicer flowers and more human friendly smell than others. Herb catalogues will be a source of these more exotic catnips. Your cat probably doesn’t care.
Last summer I grew a large patch of catnip with the intention of drying it but when I came to cut it and dry it the catnip was so covered with honey bees and butterflies that I decided the bees needed it more than I did. I took enough for the cats and left the rest.
I have a page about Catnip for humans. It has long been a medicinal plant and can be made into an insect repellent.
Not only does catnip attract cats but bees and butterflies like it’s flowers and later the goldfinches will come for the seeds.
Catnip is also a mosquito repellent. I have tried it and it works well.Catnip Seeds 400 Seeds
Valerian is another cat favourite
Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) has a long established use for humans as a mild sedative, tranquilizer and anti depressant. It also has medicinal effects on cats. This is an interesting Paper looking at the research on Valerian. in PDF format.
Valerian is an easy to grow plant that prefers to be regularly fertilized. It is a heavy nitrogen-feeder. Valerian stinks but has nice white flowers that smell like cherries.
I planted a small Valerian plant and found it was very easy to grow. I live in 6B gardening area and it has no trouble coming back each year.
Old seeds can have poor germination rate, try and get fresh seeds. They also need some light to germinate so just push the seeds into the soil rather than burying them. I have a page on Requirement of seeds to successfully come up.
The bloom is an attractive white flower that has a striking cherry smell and which attracts bees and butterflies.
The effect of Valerian on cats is very similar to catnip. The leaves need to be crushed for interest to be shown by cats (mostly, some cats can’t leave it alone). The roots have the oil that is of medicinal interest to humans and these will also attract cats.
Valerian is a pretty perennial but no one will say it smells nice except your cats. It has has a slight putrid, dirty sock smell. Strangely, Valerian is said to smells good to rats. I’ve not noticed any rats around the plant so that could be an old folk’s tale. If you have cats it’s not a problem. It used to be planted away from buildings to lure rats away from barns and houses. I don’t think that works very well.
Valerian seeds are often not successful. Live plants are better if you can get them: these guys are from Amazon.com Live Valerian Plant – (Valeriana officinalis)Also these guys who get better reviews but are more expensive: Valerian Live Plant
Unlike catnip, VALERIAN has been studied quite a lot and has been shown to have some effect on sleep in humans, it also has a calming effect that has been used to decrease stress, lower blood pressure temporarily, and combat depression. Some research on cats show similar effects. The effects are not huge but seem to be there.
Cat thyme (Teucrium marum) Cat thyme is not a thyme! Its small, oval leaves give it a thyme-like look, its musty scent is very different from thyme, cat thyme is a mounding, tender perennial with grey-green leaves which bears fragrant pink flowers in summer.
Cat thyme, a native of the Western Mediterranean, and is too tender to survive in northern climate. In milder places it will live through the winter in the open, on a dry soil and in a good locations, when the frosts are not severe.
Some cats prefer it to catnip and will roll around in it and generally loose their cool.
It is not supposed to be difficult to grow in a warm well drained location and prefers lots of sun.
The plant Cactylis glomerata, is specifically named cat grass in the UK and is said to be favoured by kitties. Most grain grasses will be welcome however. I don’t know what attracts cats to Cat Grass. If you know drop me an email.
All cats should have access to a bit of grass. In my garden I get a roll of sod and plant that on the cement with a bit of soil. Cats roll around in it and go there for snacks all summer long. In winter I grow a pot of birdseed and keep it by the food dish.
Wheat seeds will grow in pots with a bit of soil as will many other cereal grains. It is possible to just throw in some bird seed in the soil and it will come up as a mini salad bar.
Wheat seeds are often grown for cats. Here is a link to wheat grass seeds: Organic Wheat Grass Seeds, Cat Grass Seeds, 16 Ounces- 100% Organic Non GMO – Hard Red Wheat. Harvested in The US. Easy to Grow.
It’s not clear why cats will eat grass. Speculation are many. Is it an aid to digestion providing fiber? Does it help get rid of hairballs? Is there some vitamin or mineral that cats like to supplement? Does it just taste good? Whatever the reason, cats like grass and will eat it and if they can roll around and sleep in it.
In the US and Canada, it’s common to be able to get “cat grass” sprouting in a pot. I see it in the pet food store all the time. It’s actually wheatgrass. Cats like it particularly in the winter when there is not much growing, or inside for cats that don’t go out. If you want to grow it just plant a handful in a pot of soil. If you have the room plant it in a cat sized tray.
Spider plants have provided generations of house cats with a ready salad bar.
It is a pretty house plant, will grow happily in the garden and cats will choose it rather than other house plants. It’s worth having around the house just for this reason.
A relatively small number of cats, about 30%, will respond to honeysuckle in much the same way as other cats will respond to catnip. To see if your cat is sensitive to it, honeysuckle toys can give them a sniff. It makes a lovely scented vine for humans as well.
Note that the seeds are not recommended for cats and can be poisonous. It is not reported to be deadly but keep the seeds away from cats that eat everything!
Even if your cat is not interested, it is a great favourite of hummingbirds. Plants (small): Mandarin Honeysuckle Vine – Perennial – Lonicera – 2.5″ Pot
Photo by Shu Suehiro
Silver Vine, Actinidia polygama or Cat Powder is better know in Asia
In Japan Cat sticks or silver vine sticks are readily available for cats. The effect is similar to catnip because it has a chemical similar to nepetalactone.
The plants grows in stout vines up to 15 feet high. The fruit is similar to Kiwi. This plant has been used as an anti-inflammatory and for arthritis, and a recent study was done on its cancer fighting properties.
It is hardy in temperate regions and I have seen it for sale in specialized garden store as fruiting vines.
NOTE: The links to seeds and suppliers I have included are for convenience. I have not tested them myself. I try to get suppliers with good reputations but I don’t necessarily recommend them personally.
Crazy for catnip
So, what is catnip anyway?
Catnip is one of the approximate 250 species in the mint family and has a leafy green appearance. Nepetalactone, the essential oil in catnip, can turn even the laziest couch potato into a crazy furball—if said furball happens to have inherited the sensitivity to its effects. The trait doesn’t emerge until a cat is between three and six months old; until then, a kitten will not have a response. Catnip sensitivity is hereditary—an estimated 50 percent of cats have no reaction.
Smelling vs. Eating
The most intense catnip experience starts with the nose—one whiff of the stuff and your cat promptly goes nuts. Researchers suspect that catnip targets feline “happy” receptors in the brain. When eaten, however, catnip tends to have the opposite effect and your cat mellows out.
Most cats react to catnip by rolling, flipping, rubbing, and eventually zoning out. They may meow or growl at the same time. Other cats become hyperactive or downright aggressive, especially if you approach them.
Usually these sessions last about 10 minutes, after which your cat loses interest. It may take as long as two hours for him to “reset” and become susceptible to catnip again. Be mindful of overindulgence though—cats are unlikely to overdose on catnip, but they can get sick if they eat too much. Trust your kitty to know when they’ve had enough.
A snack worth sharing
Catnip isn’t just for cats! It’s been grown in medicinal gardens for centuries for its sedative effect on humans. Made into a tea, catnip has calming properties similar to chamomile. Concentrated nepetalactone also makes for a powerful mosquito repellent. The only hitch is that it lasts just a few hours.
Keep it fresh
Catnip does lose its potency over time, so store it in the freezer in an airtight container for maximum effect.
Catnip Toys on Amazon.com
What is Catnip and Why do Cats Love it?
June 15th is World Catnip Awareness Day! If you would like to donate catnip or catnip products to our shelter cats, please drop off any donations to our main shelter on Holland Road. Your donation will offer added enrichment to the lives of shelter cats who are patiently waiting for their forever homes. June is also Adopt-A-Shelter Cat Month, so stop by our cattery while you’re here and visit with some of our furry friends.
In the meantime, we thought we would celebrate World Catnip Awareness Day by sharing some fun facts about this feline treat:
- Catnip is a plant that’s part of the mint family. This perennial herb is easy to grow and can grow up to 3 feet high.
- Cats are attracted to nepetalactone, a compound found in the leaves and stems of the plant. “The most active ingredient in this compound is nepetalic acid,” explains Dr. Ann Marie Woyma, Medical Director at the Virginia Beach SPCA. Nepetalactone is an essential oil believed to mimic feline pheromones and trigger pheromone receptors in cats.
- Catnip sensitivity is something your house tiger might have in common with the big cats. Lions, tigers, panthers, and other big cats react to catnip as well.
- Only 50% to 75% of cats are sensitive to the herb, so don’t be alarmed if your cat doesn’t respond to catnip. “Whether or not a cat responds to catnip is actually inherited as an autosomal dominant trait, so it only requires one gene to create a response to it, kind of like brown hair in people” Dr. Woyma explains. Young kittens aren’t affected by catnip either. Cats with a sensitivity do not react to catnip until they’re at least 8 weeks of age to a year old.
- We don’t know exactly why cats have different reactions to catnip, but that could be a genetic issue also. Out of Dr. Woyma’s three cats, “One becomes completely mellow, another has no reaction, and the third rockets around the house like a kid on sugar.” While individual cat reactions may vary, catnip generally acts in one of two ways. According to the Humane Society of the United States, if catnip is eaten, it acts like a sedative. It it is inhaled, it acts like a stimulant. The effects last approximately 5-10 minutes before wearing off.
- Cats with a sensitivity will no longer respond to catnip if exposed too frequently. When cats no longer seem interested in their new toy, remove the toy/catnip for at least two hours so their senses can reset. Our Cattery Coordinator, Evan Walker, tries to swap toys out every few days. “New toys combined with new smells are wonderful enrichment tools.”
- Catnip is safe for cats, but be mindful of how your cat reacts in case exposure causes unwanted behavior. Dr. Woyma explains, “There have been studies done where cats are exposed to an extremely large amount of catnip with no lasting effects, so you generally don’t need to worry about an overdose.” However, she does not recommend using catnip around pregnant cats because it can potentially induce labor.
- Catnip is safe for humans and has been used in teas similar to chamomile. Catnip has also been a popular home remedy from treating headaches to insomnia. The Humane Society of the United States even reports concentrated nepetalactone can be a potent but temporary mosquito repellent.
- Catnip can be used as a training tool. Walker recommends sprinkling or spraying catnip on a scratching post to promote positive scratching habits, just remember to refresh every few days. Catnip can also be used as a positive reward while brushing or to encourage play.
- Catnip can be purchased in stores, grown indoors, dried (most common), or found as a spray. It’s recommended to store catnip and/or catnip toys in an airtight container in a cat-proof area. With a limited supply of catnip, our Cattery staff marinates cat toys with catnip in a ziplock bag to absorb the smell. Dried catnip can also be stored in your freezer to help maintain freshness.
The Virginia SPCA carries a variety of catnip toys for your feline friends at home! Below are some of our staff favorites.
VBSPCA Recommended Catnip Products:
Kong Naturals Catnip Spray
Fat Cat Boogie Mat
Yeowww! Organic Catnip (Loose catnip)
PetStages Easy Life Scratch, Snuggle & Rest
Yeowww! Catnip Toys: Apple, Banana, Pollock Fish & Rainbow
You can directly help homeless animals in our community by purchasing your catnip items and other pet products at one of our VBSPCA locations: our main shelter at 3040 Holland Road and our Pet Supplies and Adoption Center at 983 Providence Square Shopping Center (the corner of Providence Road and Kempsville Road). You also help further the VBSPCA mission of compassion by increasing the demand for humane pet products in Hampton Roads. Thank you for your support.
TOP 10 PLANTS FOR CATS — PLANT A CAT FRIENDLY GARDEN FOR YOUR MOGGIE
set free my gypsy soulFollow Jun 2, 2015 · 5 min read
We all know cats love Catnip, but what other plants and herbs give them a sensory blast in the garden? Here’s my top ten plants you can grow at home to create a kitty paradise that can be enjoyed both you and your beloved moggie.
#1 — LEMONGRASS (Cymbopogon) :
Not only is Lemongrass a beautiful looking tropical herb grass that’s great for cooking with, adding flavour to Asian, Thai and fusion recipes, it smells uh-mayzing! It’s sweet, lemony scent can be enjoyed by humans and felines alike and is great for your cat to have a nibble on. Also, did you know it is great for relief of stomach disorders, insomnia, respiratory disorders, fever, aches, infections, rheumatism and edema.
#2 — VALERIAN (Valeriana officinalis, Caprifoliaceae) :
You may have seen Valerian in human holistic medicines before, and the same anti-anxiety producing buzz it gives us also chills out our kitties. This is great for nervous or stressed cats and from first hand experience works like a charm. My crazy little ball of fluff, Shimmy, has always been a nervous-nelly and since he regularly gets his Valerian fix in the porch is a much happier cat. It’s also great for overweight cats who need to lose a lil paunch.
#3 — CHAMOMILE (Matricaria recutita) :
Another calming plant, widely used in teas and the like, that is also great for your cat. These pretty daisy like plants have been used as a traditional medicine for thousands of years to calm anxiety and settle stomachs. When you combine them with some Calendula and Echinacea you can also help alleviate some skin issues such as itching. #4 — CAT MINT (Nepeta × faassenii) :
Photo by snowmanradio I love this one! It’s so easy to grow and with it’s attractive aromatic foliage and masses of blue or purple flowers, as groundcover it’s perfect in pots, as border edging, or in rockeries. It is drought resistant, attracts bees and butterflies, and will send your kitty into a euphoric state. Beware though, it’s so good, it will bring all the cats to the yard so if you live in a highly populated feline area, try popping it in a hanging basket near your cats favourite perch.
#5 LICORICE ROOT (Glycyrrhiza glabra) :
Photo by commons.wikimedia.com
Another very pretty plant for your garden that has surprising health benefits for your moggie. Knawing on this helps aid digestion, allergies and is especially good for cats with arthritis due to it’s blood cleansing and anti-inflammatory properties. The same benefits can be gleaned for humans too so be sure to look up some of the great recipes to try using Licorice root yourself.
#6 — PEPPERMINT (Mentha × piperita) :
Cats are drawn to the Mint family in general, but Peppermint is great for your garden not only for the epic smell and making yourself some home-brewed Peppermint tea, but it also keeps away mice. This is particularly useful if your kitty likes to bring you mouse-shaped presents on a regular basis. Peppermint is is a hybrid mint, a cross between watermint and spearmint and is great for digestion so a nibble here and there will keep feline tums happy.
#7 — CATS CLAW (Una de Gato) :
This gorgeous yellow flowered rain forest herb has been long used to treat asthma, ulcers, and cancer but is also great for itchy cats and those with allergies as it contains natural cortisone. You can also reduce it into a tea for yourself! Bonus!
#8 — GOLDENSEAL (Hydrastis canadensis) :
“Hydrastis” by James Steakley via Wikimedia Commons.
Now how pretty is this flowering Goldenseal? But it’s not just a pretty face, this one is an essential for all cat owners. Goldenseal is a naturally occuring disinfectant and when used in conjunction with salty water can shrink swollen eyes due to infections and allergies. Great for all the family! #9 — CAT GRASS (Dactylis glomerata) :
Does this look familiar?! Haha… No cat garden paradise would be complete without a patch of Cat Grass. You can buy this in pet stores but why not grow your own? Easy to grow and a feline favourite, it’s great for digestion and prevents hairballs getting stuck in their little tums. It’s also great for dogs, guinea pigs and rabbits too.
# 10 — CAT NIP (Nepeta) :
Of course, number 10 is Cat Nip. If I didn’t include this, my pack would disown me. Cat nip is the one we all think of when we look for a plant to stimulate our cat. Did you know however, how it works? The nepetalactone oil contained inside the plant binds to the olfactory receptors of cats, giving them that temporary europhic high. Respeonse to catnip is hereditory and 70 to 80% of adult cats go crazy for it. This is a great plant for humans too, not only because it comes in so many pretty colours (lavendar, bue, pink, white, lilac, spotty), but also we can use it oo. It’s great for ailments such as migraes, crams, gas, indigestion, insomnia, anxiety and reducing swelling from arthritis.
So there we are…10 awesome plants you can grow yourself at home to create your very own cat garden paradise. Which plants do your kitties prefer? Share your pics and stories below or on social media.
xo Cat nose pic courtesy of P.Fernandes @ Wiki
Cat-Friendly Garden Ideas: Tips For Creating A Cat-Friendly Garden
Okay, I probably know what you’re thinking… who wants cats in the garden? Well, if you already have outdoor cats or if your neighbor’s feline friend enjoys roaming about your property, then it’s inevitable that at some point they will visit (or have) the garden. Rather than fighting an unending battle of the cat-turf wars with multiple attempts at repelling these kitties, why not do the opposite and create a pet-friendly garden just for them. When placed in the right location, it may even thwart them from venturing into unwanted areas of your garden. Read on for tips on creating a cat-friendly garden.
Cat-Friendly Garden Ideas
My mother loves to garden but she also has a large assortment of cats too. Although these are largely indoor kitties, they have a designated area all their own outdoors in which they are free to roam about. Mom calls it the “cat palace.” This cat-friendly garden is fenced in so they cats cannot get out, so there’s no worry of predators getting to them or the cats venturing into dangerous areas, like the road. They are free to come in and out through the kitty door (just like many dogs have). Within its walls of safety are plenty of structures for climbing and plants that are safe for them to nibble on. They also have multiple dirt-filled areas in which to “relieve” themselves. Of course, this type of setup may not be for everyone, so here are some other cat-friendly garden ideas.
First and foremost, cats are naturally curious with a need for exploration. Choosing a location in the backyard just for them can help keep your furry friends appeased. They love to climb, hide and pounce. With this in mind you will want to include climbing structures, like cat posts, fencing and trees.
Give them some hiding places too, along with shade for those hot days lulling about. Shrubs are great for this and don’t forget some evergreen varieties too, not only for seasonal interest but for added cover in winter. Planting them close together can help create fun hiding spaces too, where they can pretend to stalk their prey (or each other), and pounce out to attack.
Create designated play areas for younger felines and don’t forget to include mounds of dirt, mulch or sand for them as well. Cats typically go potty in the same place, so this can help deter them from going into your prized garden spaces. Mulched pathways will also provide a soft landing. Active cats enjoy playing, so you can peak their interest by adding suitable toys attached to strings and tied to branches. Throw in a few balls and scratching posts too.
Just as the dog has a sheltered spot to go to, you can even include a “cat house” for your feline to hide in. Alternatively, placing the garden area near an outbuilding will give that added sense of security that some cats need.
Choosing plants for your cat’s garden space must be done with care. Hardy, but safe, plants is obviously an important consideration. And since cats enjoy chasing things, those that attract butterflies may be a good choice. In fact, attracting insects in the cat garden is a good thing in that you want to avoid using any toxic pesticides that could be harmful.
Cat-Friendly Plants for the Garden
A number of plants may not be suitable for your feline and may even be poisonous, so choose your plants carefully. Here are some plants you can add to create safe gardens for cats:
Herbs, flowers and foliage plants
- Catnip (Nepeta cataria) – probably one of the more obvious choices for a cat garden, this plant found to be highly attractive to cats, even inducing a sense of euphoria when around the plant.
- Cat grass – cat grass is normally a variety of several grasses that cats may nibble on, but oat grass (Avena sativa) or wheatgrass (Triticum aestivum) are the two most popular.
- Asters – these plants require little maintenance and are just right for adding dense cover for a cat’s hunting expeditions.
- Scented geraniums (Pelargoniums) – available in many types with citrusy aromas, your kitty will enjoy rubbing all over these charming foliage plants, and it’s ‘purr-fectly’ safe for them to do so.
- Blue mist shrub (Caryopteris) – this flowering shrub is highly attractive to pollinators and provides plenty of privacy and shelter for cats.
- Sunflowers – nothing is more charming in the garden, or easier to grow, than sunflowers. These large plants will provide plenty of cover while the blooms offer something to play with when added near climbing structures.
- Cosmos – yet another fun plant for cats, this one offers wispy growth, wonderful color and great screening, which your cats will appreciate.
- Maiden grass (Miscanthus) – adding ornamental grasses like this will give your kitty the perfect environment for prowling around, as it provides plenty of good cover and while the roots are not good for your cat, all other parts are safe.
Veggie plants cats like
While most vegetables are deemed relatively safe, the foliage of some, like potatoes and tomatoes, are not a good idea to have where you expect your furry friend to be roaming about. What is a safe veggie you can add to your cat’s garden?
Members of the cucurbit family, which includes cucumbers, squash and pumpkins, are safe for cats. The vining types are good choices for providing hiding spaces as well as hanging fruits to climb on or play with.
Runner beans can also be used in your cat-friendly garden to create secret hideaways and provide shade. You can even make a bean teepee for them! And if your cat nibbles on them, which in all likelihood they won’t, they are not considered toxic.
(Picture Credit: Bebenjy/Getty Images)
We’ve all heard about how cats LOVE catnip. They’ll drool, run around happily, and sometimes just space out with joy when they get their paws on the stuff.
But did you know there are other plants that might have the same effect on your cat? The effect of catnip only lasts about five to 15 minutes, so it might be good to have some other plants in your arsenal of cat toys.
In addition, about 30 to 50 percent of cats don’t react to catnip at all, but they may react to one of these alternatives.
Valerian root and valerian leaves can cause a reaction in cats very similar to catnip, but it comes at a price–the plant is very stinky!
Some theorize that valerian might attract cats because its pungent smell mimics the scent of cat urine. The plant doesn’t make cats mellow–it’s a stimulant that can make them happy and revved up.
Interestingly, rats have also been shown to be attracted to valerian, to the point that it’s sometimes used in rat traps! In fact, the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin shows him using both his pipes and valerian to attract rats.
The active ingredient in valerian that draws in cats is actinidine. However, other plants have the same attractant without the terrible smell.
2. Silver Vine
Silver vine, also known as Actinidia polygama, grows commonly in Japan and China. It’s the most popular cat treat in Asia, called matatabi. Some think that silver vine has a stronger effect on cats than catnip because it has two cat attractants in the plant.
You may be able to buy cat toys infused with silver vine or use silver vine’s brown powder on cat toys, similarly to how you’d use catnip. Cats also love to roll around in the plant itself.
The effects can last five to 30 minutes but silver vine is more potent than catnip, so you likely won’t need as much.
3. Acalypha Indica
Acalypha indica, also known as cat grass or Indian nettle, is very common in tropical countries. It’s a medicinal plant and sometimes eaten as a vegetable in West Africa. It’s also hugely popular among cats!
In the countries where Indian nettle is common, it’s widely known that cats react favorably and very strongly to it. In fact, some people mistakenly believe that this plant is catnip!
Interestingly, the effect of this plant might be stronger than catnip, but only the root of the plant is a cat attractant.
4. Cat Thyme
Cat thyme is another plant that works similarly to catnip. It can cause your cat to feel content, mellow, and happy.
It doesn’t grow as fast as catnip, though, so you’ll have to plan ahead if you want to grow your own. You might also want to note that cat thyme isn’t actually a thyme, it just looks like thyme plants.
5. Tartarian Honeysuckle Sawdust
This is the magic plant when it comes to cats because it is very likely to work on that small percentage of cats who do not react to catnip!
Remember, this effect doesn’t happen with all honeysuckle plants. It only works with Lonicera tatarica, also called tartarian honeysuckle sawdust.
Unlike catnip, this honeysuckle’s effects can be revived by dampening it. Just make sure that you use the sawdust shavings of honeysuckle, which you can buy at a pet store, and not the seeds or berries. The seeds and berries of honeysuckle plants can be toxic to cats and cause bad stomach issues.
So remember, if your cat isn’t interested in catnip, you have a lot of other options to try! And even if your cat is a huge fan of their catnip toys, you might give these other plants a chance to see if your kitty likes them more or just to offer a little variety.
Has your cat tried any of these plants? Did they have a strong reaction? Let us know in the comments below!
Are Cats Attracted To Catnip – Protecting Your Catnip From Cats
Does catnip attract cats? The answer is, it depends. Some kitties love the stuff and others pass it by without a second glance. Let’s explore the interesting relationship between cats and catnip plants.
Why are Cats Attracted to Catnip?
Catnip (Nepeta cataria) contains nepetalactone, a chemical that attracts many cats, including tigers and other wild felines. Cats typically react by rolling or chewing on the leaves, or by rubbing against the plant. They may even get a little crazy if you have traces of catnip on your shoes.
Some cats become super playful while others become anxious, aggressive, or sleepy. They may purr or drool. A reaction to catnip lasts only
five to 15 minutes. Catnip is “purr-fectly” safe and non-addictive, although ingesting a large amount could potentially cause a mild tummy upset.
If your cat shows no interest in catnip, this is also normal. Sensitivity to catnip is genetic and about one-third to one-half of cats are totally unaffected by the plant.
Protecting Your Catnip from Cats
Catnip isn’t a particularly pretty herb and it tends to be somewhat aggressive. However, many gardeners grow catnip for its medicinal qualities, making safeguarding catnip plants necessary.
Tea made from catnip leaves is a mild sedative and may relieve headaches, nausea and insomnia. The leaves are sometimes applied directly to the skin as a treatment for arthritis.
If the neighborhood felines are visiting your catnip plant more than you like, you may need to protect the plant from too much kitty attention.
About the only way of protecting your catnip from cats is to surround the plant with some type of enclosure. You can use wire fencing, as long as paws can’t easily fit through the holes. Some people like to put potted catnip in a birdcage.
Catnip also does well in hanging baskets, as long as the basket is safely out of reach.
What Is It About Catnip?
Dr. Ruth MacPete dedicates this blog to therapy dogs. For more from Dr. MacPete, find her on Facebook or at www.drruthpetvet.com!
I recently received a package of catnip in the mail. As I usually do, I dropped it off on the coffee table with the rest of the mail and went upstairs to change. After returning downstairs to get a glass of water, I entered the living room only to walk into a disaster. The package of catnip was ripped into shreds and there was catnip scattered across the floor. It wasn’t too hard to figure out what had happened: the guilty parties were rolling in the catnip with big feline grins plastered on their whiskery faces, too dazed and confused to know whether to run or to blame the dog. It looked like a catnip grenade had exploded but all I could do was to laugh and giggle. As I was cleaning up the mess, it made me think about catnip. What kind of plant is it and why does it make cats crazy?
What is catnip?
Catnip, known scientifically as Nepeta cataria, is a member of the Lamiaceae, or mint family. Originating from Asia, Africa and Europe, it is now found all over the world and grows as a weed. Catnip is also used as an ornamental plant in many gardens because it is drought tolerant, deer resistant, and repels many insects. Interestingly, in addition to appealing to cats, its essential oil nepetalactone also attracts butterflies.
Why do cats love catnip?
Nepetalactone is found in the leaves and stems of catnip. When it enters a cat’s nose, it binds to receptors on sensory neurons lining the nasal cavity. These neurons project to the neurons located in the olfactory bulb, which in turn activate different areas of the brain that control emotion and behavior. The effect is that cats tend to roll in it, lick it, and even eat it. Some meow and run around wildly, while others drool or become sedate and docile. The exact response depends on the cat and the dose consumed or inhaled. Like many things, the more your kitty eats or inhales the stronger the effect. In fact, some cats that binge too much may become anxious and even a bit aggressive. Luckily, the effect wears off quickly and usually within 15 minutes most cats are back to normal. Apparently, one third of all cats are not affected by catnip but I personally have not met a cat that didn’t seem to love it. Scientists believe that a cat’s response to catnip is hereditary and only affects sexually mature cats 6 months and older.
Is it dangerous?
Despite the crazy effects it has on some cats, catnip is harmless to our feline friends. And although cats seem to go mad over catnip, it is not addictive. So if your cat is a recreational catnip user, no need to worry about having to send him off to a feline Betty Ford center. Just let your normally sophisticated feline let loose and let their inner goofy kitten out!
If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian – they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.
Urinating outside the box is a somewhat common problem, but one solution is to use litter additives to attract cats to the litter box. There are several products on the market, including these four good options.
Selecting a Cat Litter Additive
Not using the box is the chief reason cats end up abandoned outside or at shelters. If you have already gotten rid of any home stressors and your cat has been cleared by a veterinarian for any health issues, you may be able to help attract your cat back to using his litter box with a litter additive. Sprinkling a cat litter additive in your cat’s litter will attract him by scent with the intent to entice him to start using his litter box again. There are a few cat litter additive brands available.
Dr. Elsey’s Cat Attract Litter Additive
Designed by a feline-only veterinarian, this natural herb blend was tested by cats in shelters and Dr. Elsey’s clinic over a number of years. Cat Attract has proven to be successful for many reviewers on EntirelyPets, who collectively gave the product an average four out of five stars for attracting their cats back to their litter boxes. Many reviewers noted that if their cat started to go outside the box again, adding more attractant helped their cats get back on track. A few reviews noted it didn’t work at all for their cats, so your success may depend on the reason behind your cat’s litter box aversion.
Bottles can be purchased for about $20 and should last one cat about three months. To use, mix one-fourth of the 20-ounce bottle in 20-25 pounds of fresh, unscented, scoopable litter. When you add more litter to the box, mix in another one-eighth of the bottle.
Simple Solution Cat Litter Attractant
This litter additive attracts cats by using an herbal blend that mimics a garden to pique your kitty’s interest. The formula works with any litter and can be used by sprinkling one-fourth of the contents of the package into your cat’s litter box and mixing well.
You can purchase a nine-ounce package for under $7. This attractant carries a 3.9 star rating on Amazon, and consumers say that the earthy smell attracted their cats back to their litter boxes even after several other similar products failed to work. One customer cautioned that his cat stopped using the litter box altogether after adding this product to the litter, so success will depend on your cat’s scent preferences.
Fresh Step Litter Box Attractant
One of the largest cat litter companies, Fresh Step, has come up with an answer to your cat’s litter box aversion. Another herbal blend, this formula claims to attract cats back to their litter boxes as well as aiding in training kittens to start using a litter box. You can use this product with any litter.
No customer reviews are available for this product. To use, sprinkle a generous amount in your cat’s litter and mix well, adding more attractant any time you add litter to the box. You can purchase a nine-ounce bottle for just under $8.
Jorvet Litter Magnet
Jorvet uses an all-natural, strong scent in their additive to attract cats to the litter box. Litter Magnet averages close to four out of five stars on Amazon, with customers saying the earthy texture persuaded their cats to get back to eliminating in their boxes. One review includes a customer who had success after he could not get his cat to stop using an old litter box’s location after moving the box. The product did not assist customers whose cats’ issues were medical in nature.
You can use this attractant with any clumping or scoopable clay litter. A 20-ounce bottle with a shake and pour lid, which will provide coverage for up to 100 pounds of litter, can be purchased for under $11. A client education brochure is provided by the company with every purchase to explain how to use it properly.
Eliminate Litter Box Aversion
All is not hopeless when a trip to the vet does not provide answers for why your cat is urinating outside of his litter box. With patience and regular scooping and litter changes, cat attractant litter additives can help solve a frustrating problem for your family.
Should you leave out a scent lure for your lost cat? Facebook is a great venue to post about your lost cat, and you can maybe get some leads on a possible sighting, or get valuable tips and resources. If you post about your lost cat on Facebook, inevitably someone will post that you should leave your cat’s litter box outside so that your cat will smell it and know which way is home. Please don’t. A litter box can attract unwanted attention from other cats, and one of the main reasons lost cats don’t simply come home is because of territorial disputes with other cats. It is disheartening that every single post about a lost cat on Facebook is answered with this little nugget of bad advice. When I say the litter box is a bad idea, many people will say that their cat came back when they put their litter box out. That only means that your cat came back while the litter box was out, not because the litter box was out.
Is there something else you can put out as a scent lure to attract your cat? If so, is there any scientific basis for this recommendation? First, let me say that putting out a scent lure is not a high priority for a lost cat. If your dog is missing, then I would definitely recommend putting out an article of your clothing at home or at the point your dog was last seen. Dogs do navigate by scent and I have strong evidence, in hundreds of cases, that a scent lure from a dog’s owner is a useful tool for attracting a stray dog. Cats are far less likely to navigate by scent, in the sense of finding their way back home. The main way cats interact with scent is by establishing territories. A cat will stay away from an area where a dominant cat has left his scent. Cats also recognize the scent of their homes and their people. Mostly, cats use scent in avoiding certain areas, not navigating to something.
Food. I recommend leaving food out in some cases and not others, and I can’t make a general recommendation to leave out food for your lost cat. If you do leave food out, it is best to have a camera watching the food, so you know who ate it. Also, if you are setting a humane trap, then it should of course have food in it. I would not recommend a feeding station if you have one or more dominant cats that are claiming your yard as their territory. Food can also attract wild animals and predators. I would want to learn more about a particular cat’s situation before I would recommend leaving food out.
Clothing. In most cases, it may help, and it probably wouldn’t hurt, if you put out some clothing you’ve worn. If you are setting a humane trap, I definitely recommend placing a shirt you’ve worn on the floor of the trap. Your scent is a specific lure for your cat, and it is unlikely to attract unwanted attention from other animals, such as neighborhood cats. As far as I know, there have been no scientific studies that show that lost cats are lured back home by dirty T-shirts. On the other hand, there is no evidence that the presence of your worn clothing would attract the wrong animals or keep your cat away. So, worn clothing may be an attractant for your cat, and won’t attract the wrong sort of animal attention. I almost always recommend putting out worn clothing, not because it has a great chance of success, but because it at least won’t make matters worse.
The lost cat’s bedding. Quite often, I see the recommendation of placing a cat’s bedding out on the porch. This isn’t necessarily a bad idea, but before you do this, you ought to consider whether or not you should preserve your cat’s scent for the use of a search dog. Lost cats have been found by search dogs in some cases. In most instances, it was a cat-detection dog that was able to find the cat. In a few cases, a scent-trailing dog was able to follow the scent trail of the lost cat. If you may want to try a scent-trailing dog, then you would want to preserve something that has the scent of your lost cat. So, putting your cat’s bed outside isn’t a bad idea, but you might not want to do that if it is the only thing bearing the scent of your cat. Leaving it outside could contaminate it and make it useless for a search dog. If a cat is going to be attracted to the scent of his own bed, then he ought to be attracted to the scent of your worn clothing. Also, something with your cat’s scent, such as a bed, may cause an intruder cat to spray it, and mark the territory as his own, which would negate the function as a lure for your cat. Putting out your cat’s bed isn’t a terrible idea, but I still wouldn’t recommend it in most cases.
Urine. Many sources on the internet recommend that you urinate in a spray bottle and then spray your own urine in your yard and around the neighborhood, to help your cat come home. This is nonsense, for a number of reasons. While many people will claim that they did it and it worked, they would have no way of proving that their cats came home because of the urine sprayed around. The most they could say is that their cat did come home after the urine was sprayed, not because of it. Further, your cat would definitely recognize your personal scent, in most circumstances. Everywhere you walk, you deposit your scent whether you want to or not. This is the reason fugitives and missing persons can be tracked by trained dogs: a human leaves her scent everywhere she goes. As you walk around the neighborhood looking for your cat, you will be depositing your scent, which is great. No need to spray any urine.
Sprays and liquids from the pet store. Some, such as Bach Flower Remedies, are just nonsense. Others, based on chemical analysis of actual feline pheromones, may have some logical basis for having an effect. However, to date their has been no clear scientific evidence that these products have any effect at all. I would not recommend anything of this nature.
In conclusion: Don’t spray urine, don’t leave out the litter box, leave food in some cases, don’t put your cat’s bed on the porch, and no Feliway or similar sprays. Go ahead and leave your worn clothing out because it may work, and it shouldn’t hurt anything. It is not a high priority, and there are many other effective ways of finding a lost cat which should be a higher priority. People will keep recommending the litter box and spraying urine because they want to be helpful and because these seem like quick and easy ways to get your cat back. I wish there was a way to stop these memes, but all I can do is try to get accurate information out there. The truth is often more complex than these quick and easy memes, and so it doesn’t get shared as readily.
Please see these free guides for proven methods of finding a lost cat:
How to Find Your Lost Cat
Guidelines for Humane Traps
Use the Five Cat Attract™ Steps Found Below to Get Your Cat Back to the Litter Box.
Our Free guide is the same booklet found in every bag of Cat Attract™. Ask for Cat Attract™, the Problem Cat and Kitten Training litter at your favorite pet store.
Five Steps to Solving Litter Box Problems:
1. Replace Your Current Litter With Cat Attract™
Unfortunately, cats don’t buy their own litter. If they could, they would buy a litter that has an outdoors-natural scent, like your freshly turned garden. Cat Attract™ is the answer. It has a unique herbal scent that attracts their curiosity and the right texture for their paws. Although you may not be aware of Cat Attract’s scent, your cat will.
2. Freshen Up
You don’t like a dirty bathroom, and neither does your cat. Their sense of smell is 1000 times better than yours, so clean the litter box and refill with Cat Attract™. Remove feces and urine clumps daily. If your cat does not respond to a clean litter box, you may need to replace it. Some old boxes are scratched and permeated with a scent your cat may find offensive. Replace it and set up a second litter box in a different area. Having one more litter box than you have cats is a good idea.
3. Destroy the Evidence!
Once a cat has marked an area with urine or feces, problem cats naturally regard it as an appropriate area for relieving themselves.
Do all that you can to eliminate any trace of odor from the “trouble spot.” Clean it thoroughly with a liquid enzymatic odor cleaner. Avoid ammonia-based cleaners, which actually contribute to the problem because of their urine-like scent. Try to keep your cat away from the trouble spot by covering the area with a plastic carpet runner, spike side up, or tin foil (cats dislike the feel of foil). A lemon scented air freshener will also help in both repelling the cat and neutralizing the odor.
If your cat still can’t resist the area, try placing its food there; cats are unlikely to urinate or defecate where they eat. Try using your cat’s own fragrance to your advantage: rub a cloth between your cat’s eye and ear to pick up its scent, then rub the cloth over the problem area. Recognizing its own scent on the carpet, floor, or furniture, a cat may be reluctant to soil the area again. Do this two to three times a day to be most effective.
4. Consider a Litter Box Makeover
Hooded litter boxes are for owners, not cats. Try removing the hood and rethink the location of the boxes. They should be in quiet, out-of-the-way places with convenient access for your cats, but no access for the family dog (some dogs will stay around a litter box and make the cat nervous).Keep the boxes away from bright lights, loud noises, and vibrations from washing machines or furnaces. Set up one more box than you have cats in your household to cut down on traffic and mess. If your house has several floors, have a box on each level for your cat’s convenience. Finally, do not put a litter box near the cat’s food dishes – this is no more appealing for a kitty than it would be for you!
5. Treat Your Cat to Some R&R
Stress is a leading cause of litter box problems. Fortunately, there is a lot you can do to ease your cat’s worried mind. Territorial by nature, cats need to feel secure in their environment in order to relax. In multiple cat households, make sure each cat has a separate “zone” with its own food, water, litter box, and a safe, elevated perch for relaxing. Thermal Kitty heated beds and carpeted Cat Condos make excellent retreats for your stressed feline. Play with your cat for at least 15 minutes every day, making sure he has plenty of toys to stalk and chase.