Q: Alternatives to catnip for cats immune to it?
Unfortunately, my cat is among the one third of cats who don't respond to catnip. I want to give her something similar though, for the fun of it. I know honeysuckle won't work because it has the same active ingredient as catnip - nepetalactone - which is what cats react to, and what the ones who don't react are immune to. Seems like my only option left is valerian, but it's so hard to find any valerian cat products! The only place I found is a company called Plain Brown Tabby. Their website is sketchy though, and I don't know if I can trust them... Does anybody know where to get valerian cat toys/products, or anything that has worked on catnip-immune cats? Or if a bottle of valerian pills from CVS would work, tied in a knot or something?
Nov 16, 2008
I used to have a kitty who loved valerian even more than catnip. The only two companies I know if that make valerian toys are Plain Brown Tabby & Kooky Kat. The PBT site, catniptoys.com sell both as does cat-alog.com
As long as your capsules contain pure ORGANIC valerian you could probably make your own toys but I wouldn't leave it in the capsules. If kitty manages to tear open the toy she could choke on a capsule. Many of them try to eat the herbs that cause these euphorias & a capsule probably wouldn't stop her. It would be better to use the loose herb just as you do catnip.
Valerian contains the chemical, valerinone, which has a similar effect as catnip on many kitties. It is not harmful. The oil is too potent for kitties but the dried variety is safe. It shouldn't be given to those with kidney failure.
Also, if you haven't already, you may want to try the honeysuckle. It contains a chemical similar to that of catnip but many cats that don't respond to catnip will respond to honeysuckle & vice versa. There are some that won't respond to either.
Other herbs to try: catmint (Nepeta mussinii) & cat thyme (Teucrium marum)
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