All About Cat Herbs
Welcome! If you're curious about Catnip-Alternatives, you've come to the right place! We first learned about Catnip-Alternatives when our oldest boy Niko did not respond to Catnip. Since then, we have made it our mission to spread the joy of herbal enrichment to every kitty in the galaxy, even the 35% who do not respond to Catnip!.
Whether a cat likes or dislikes a certain herb depends on their genetic makeup. We still do not know why cats react the way they do to Cat Herbs, but it is not a "drug" and does not automatically work on every cat. When you offer your cat a toy with cat herbs in it, think of it like "olfactory enrichment." You are giving them an interesting smell that they are attracted to for some reason (that we have yet to fully understand). This attraction causes some cats to act wild, in that classic "Catnip-like response" where they twitch, roll on the floor, and rub the herbal scent on their cute little faces.
All of the herbs we offer are safe, non-addictive, and well-known. According to a study involving 100 house cats, ~80% of cats respond to Silver Vine, ~65% respond to Catnip, about ~50% respond to Tatarian Honeysuckle, and ~50% respond to Valerian Root. We sell sample packs so that you can find out which herbs are your cats favorite!
We will briefly summarize some facts about the Cat Herbs that we offer.
The Silver Vine plant is native to Asia, where it is sometimes called "Matatabi". It produces several active ingredients that attract cats. There are several parts of the Silver Vine plants that contain these aromatic compounds. The leaves, wood, and "fruit galls" contain enough of the active ingredients to elicit responses from cats. Some cats are attracted to the actual un-galled fruit itself, but less than the other parts of the plant. Our Silver Vine Sticks, Leaves, and Fruit Gall (which we just call fruit for simplicity, because Gall is such a weird word) have been awakening cats to the magic of Catnip-Alternatives since 2014. If you want to try Silver Vine, we have plenty of options!
This plant is a member of the Honeysuckle family, but it is the only one that has the compounds that some cats absolutely love. Please do not try to give your cat flowers or parts of other Honeysuckle plants, because they may be toxic. Tatarian Honeysuckle is an invasive species in the US, so it can't be grown commercially. We actually hike out into the woods and harvest this ourselves. It has a pleasant, almost citrusy scent when wet that even human noses can detect. If you buy a bag of Tatarian Honeysuckle Wood Chips from us, please remember that it is wood, so you will need to make sure that your cat doesn't chow down on a pile of it! (We have never heard of a cat being harmed from our Wood Chips, but you can never be too careful.)
Many people know of Valerian Root tea that helps humans get to sleep. This herb can have varied effects on different cats, some catsthey get wild and jump around, sometimes they chill, do a big stretch, and enjoy napping in the scent of their Valerian Root toys. We sell our Organic Valerian Root mixed with Organic Lemongrass, because when we first started selling 100% Valerian Root toys, we got a few customer complaints that the smell was too strong for their tiny apartment and we haven't gotten a complaint since. Lemongrass does not elicit any euphoric responses from cats, but it is known that some cats enjoy the smell of Lemongrass.
What more is there to say about this classic cat herb? Many people out there just say "catnip" to mean any cat herb, but Catnip is special. We only buy our Organic Catnip from American sources. We blend the best to create our fragrant and potent mix.
Don't know what to pick? Don't really care which herb is your cat's favorite? Try one of our Multi-Herb Blends. We offer a crowd-pleasing "Complete Cat Herb Blend" that contains all of our herbs, and also a "Catnip-Alternatives Blend" that contains everything except for Catnip.
What might cause my cat to not like these herbs?
Throughout our history as a company, we have heard of rare cases where certain herbs actually repulse cats. We had one customer whose cat hated Catnip. Some cats are just indifferent to some Cat Herbs. Over the past 8 years, we even learned of two cats who did not like our "Complete Cat Herb Blend" with everything in it!
Another reason why your cat might not respond to our herbs is that they are too young. Some kittens show responses to cat herbs, but others show no interest until they turn one year old. This is why some scientists believe that the active ingredients in the cat herb mimic pheremones, which would require cats to mature before they are respond.
Remember, every cat has their own preference when it comes to Cat Herbs, just like humans have preferences when it comes to smells. Some people have a bad association with a certain smell and can't stand it, other people can't taste certain herbs because they lack the enzyme to do it. If you want to see if your cat reacts to any of our herbs, we highly recommend our sample packs, which will let you learn their favorite!