As you’re thinking about your holiday shopping, consider this news from the Winn Feline Foundation: silver vine, not catnip, is cats’ recreational herb of choice.
Researchers actually tested several mind-bending plants on 100 cats. Catnip made the cats happier than any of the others, but in the face off between silver vine and catnip, silver vine won paws down. Seventy-nine percent of the cats had the most fun with silver vine, while 68 percent really got off on catnip. Of the cats who didn’t respond to catnip, 71 per cent were turned on by silver vine.
Among the duds were honeysuckle and valerian root, which are popular substitutes for catnip when cautious humans are planning their cats’ recreational activities. Turns out they’re not at all popular among cats.
The Many Uses Of Catnip
“Use of plant materials that cats enjoy can increase their playtime and offer activity for cats left at home alone or confined indoors,” the foundation says.
Catnip can make shelter cats seem more playful and attractive to potential adopters. It can be used for training and socializing cats and as a no-cal reward, Winn says. And it can relieve stress for cats when they’re traveling, boarding, undergoing a medical procedure or during trap/neuter/return.
Cats High On Herbs
Turns out silver vine and catnip aren’t the only herbs that can give cats a buzz. Despite the study the Winn Foundation reported, some cats enjoy valerian root and honeysuckle. Add to the list the more potent Indian nettle and cat thyme (Teucrium marum).
My cats love catnip, but after watching this video, we want to give silver vine a try.