If catnip does nothing to perk up your kitty, don’t worry, we have alternatives to ensure that even the grumpiest felines are soon feeling fine! Researchers have discovered three plants that induce similar symptoms as catnip; want to know how to get your cat feelin’ groovy?
Most of us have seen our fur babies go crazy for catnip. When presented with either the dry or fresh variety most cats immediately swoon and try to eat, roll in or rub on the plant. This is followed by frenzied behavior, or perhaps sleepiness, purring, or drooling.
What you are witnessing, and no doubt giggling at, are the effects of a compound (nepetalactone) that fixes itself to the receptors in your cat’s nose. The compound then triggers a response in your cat’s brain that is not unlike how cats react to sexual chemicals. Ah, that explains it!
If catnip leaves your cat cold, why not try a safe alternative: Silver vine, Tatarian honeysuckle, or valerian root? These three plants contain compounds similar to nepetalactone and may provide a little stimulation for an otherwise bored or sedentary cat.
Silver vine is well-known as a cat stimulant in China and Japan. Human parents in these countries know that if they grind the sweet-smelling plant into a powder, their fur babies respond with the same kind of happy nirvana as they do to catnip.
Related: How To Know if Your Cat Is Normal
Valerian root is another sweet-smelling plant, and it has a long history of use as an herbal remedy. In humans it is commonly used to soothe stress and headaches, which makes it a natural as a kitty picker-upper!
Tatarian honeysuckle is widespread in North American where it is considered a weed. Like Valerian root, the bushy plant is decorated with pairs of white, pink or red flowers.
Study researchers tested the plant’s effects on cats by placing the ingredients in a sock, and offering it to the curious kitties. Most of the cats went wild for the silver vine, but be sure to consult with your veterinarian before trying any these alternatives with your own cat.
Is you cat immune to Catnip? Have you tried any of these alternatives? Please share your experiences in the comments below!
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