The first cat I ever saw on catnip was Fizz, and it was the funniest thing I had ever seen. Fizz could have been the poster cat for the power of catnip, the same cannot be said for Kiki and Lolly. Catnip, from the mint family, creates what scientists recognise as a ‘sexual response‘. However, this isn’t the case in some cats, in a study of 100 domestic cats in their normal living environment, only 68% responded to catnip. If your cat falls into this 68% you might be surprised to hear that not all felines react to the insanity inducing plant, but lo and behold, many other cats have many other vices.
So, what about the 30-40% of cats that don’t get the pleasure of catnip? Fear not, because there are alternatives. In the same study linked above silver vine, Tatarian honeysuckle, and valerian root were also tested for responsiveness. The honey suckle and valerian root were much more hit and miss, with only 53% and 47% response of the 100 cats observed having responded. However, the silver vine was successfully responded to by 79% of the cats. For more details on the cats observed in the research and all of the science talk check out the study, it’s an interesting read!
This is great news for the catnip snubbers, and in our own experience silver vine was a hit with our ladies. Silver vine can be used in its powder form, or as its original stick. The stick, or twig, of silver vine is great as a natural toy and dental stick for cats, and helps to clean off plaque on those hard to reach back teeth. Lolly is especially good at chewing the stick, Kiki hasn’t quite gotten past hugging it yet. To give some background about our cats, Kiki and Lolly are both spayed, Kiki is around 1 year of age, with Lolly being a little bit younger somewhere around 9 months. So it might be the case that Lolly will grow into responsiveness.
In regards to the final two stimulants, Kiki has also reacted positively to valerian root. When we have our bedtime tea to settle she goes wild! Lolly hasn’t ever reacted in any way to this, but considering the study’s results this isn’t all too surprising. We have yet to try honey suckle, but seeing as Lolly hasn’t reacted as strongly as Kiki to the other stimulants, we hope to try it out and see if that is to her taste. However, of the 100 cats observed in the above study, 3 responded to none of the stimulants, so it might juts be the case that for Lolly nothing will cause her to have the insane response we see from her sister. If you cat isn’t a fan of any, there’s no need to worry, there are other ways to play and have fun with your cat.
Catnip and its alternatives are great for cats and we really recommend trying them out. They’re not addictive and are great ways to enrich your furry friend’s life. Cats can be susceptible to stress and overtime this can cause negative impacts to their health, but through the use of catnip and its alternatives this can offer stress relief for our little bundles of joy. Even if there is nothing overly stressful going on in your lives, it is a wonderful way to bond with your cat and to make you both happy. I don’t know about you, but seeing our girls rolling around in absolute euphoria just makes me smile. In the calm that follows the crazy, it’s a great time to get closer to your cat and make your relationship even stronger.
To wrap up, catnip or any of its alternatives are a great source of fun and relaxation for both your cat and you. If at first they don’t respond to one, try again with the others, and chances are you will find something that works. Very soon I hope to have compiled enough footage to make a silver vine montage of Kiki as she is absolutely adorable on the stuff. Let me know what your cat loves and if you’ve found anything else to make them go wild!
Thanks for reading, and we will see you in the next one.
Kiki & Lolly