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Everyone who has ever lived with a cat knows about the big daddy of kitty highs: catnip. But there are several other substances your cat can use for her recreational enjoyment, some of which might even work better than the all-pervasive nip! Let’s take a look at each intoxicating substance and what they can do for your cats. Keep in mind that they 1) are all legal, 2) will not ruin your cat’s health or social standing, and 3) won’t necessitate a trip to the nearest rehabilitation facility or AA meeting. Your cats can enjoy them all freely, without repercussions. Lucky cats.
Cats love valerian root (Valeriana officinalis) with a devoted, drooling passion that will only be matched by your own revulsion to it, because valerian root has a most repugnant scent. Think of your brother’s stinkiest stale gym socks — it is that kind of bad. I have some valerian root, which I give my cats in small doses on special occasions. The rest of the time, the stash sits in my well-ventilated enclosed patio, where its odor won’t permeate the house. You might be able to keep some inside if you put it in an airtight, hard plastic container — mine is in a baggie, and the cats know when I bring it in. The active ingredient is actinidine (which is also contained in silver vine), and just a couple of small chunks of this root will suffice in getting your cat very stoned. Curiously, while valerian has a stimulating effect on cats, humans have used it as a natural sleep enhancer and muscle relaxant.
Felines who like catnip will generally roll around, rub their faces in it, salivate, jump, run around, and purr for about 10 to 15 minutes. Different cats have different reactions, but these are usually the signs that show your kitty is enjoying the herb.Originally from Europe and Asia, minty, lemony, potent catnip has long been associated with cats. Research shows that cats big and small adore this weedy member of the mint family. But why do they like catnip so much? Is it safe? And what does it mean if your cat doesn't like it? Some cats like to eat the leaves, and this is usually safe for most cats. If your cat is one with a sensitive stomach and vomits or has diarrhea as a result of eating the plant leaves, then you'll want to give your cat a toy with the leaves inside, instead of directly giving him the herb.The intensity of your cat's response to toys and training will be affected by the type of catnip you use. Catnip comes in the form of sprays, dried or fresh. Try them all to see which one your cat prefers.Though intense, that bliss is usually short-lived, lasting about 10 minutes for most cats. For some, the euphoria translates into aggressive playfulness. At the same time, it makes others mellow and calm. But no matter what reaction your cat has, once the blissfulness passes it'll be about two hours before you cat responds to catnip again.To lighten things up a bit around here by talking about something other than cat illnesses and also to provide the answers to the questions about catnip that most people ask me, I am adding this section about the infamous plant loved by most cats that come into contact with it.The plant contains a non-poisonous chemical called . Nepetalactone is an aromatic oil found in the stem and leaves of the plant. It's the smell (rather than taste) of the leaves that sets cats off.The scientific name for the catnip plant is Nepeta. The name is believed to have come from the town of Nepete in Italy. There are several different species of Nepeta. There is Nepeta Cataria which is common catnip, the type used most frequently with cats and the one they seem to enjoy the most. The name Cataria is assumed to have originated from the Latin word for cat.