Cats are very intelligent creatures that need stimulation to enrich their lives. Often their olfactory (sense of smell) system is overlooked as a form of enrichment to improve quality of life, especially for indoor cats.
Their olfactory system is very developed and capable of detecting pheromones! The chemical substance produced by catnip and silver vine have a euphoric effect on cats, which can be a great outlet and form of exercise for cats of all kinds…even big wild cats! Typically, cats respond to catnip by sniffing, licking, biting it, shaking their head, rubbing their head, chin or cheeks against it, and even rolling over it. This can sometimes be accompanied by drooling and kicking the material with their hind feet. These behavioral responses are normal and catnip is believed to be neither addicting nor harmful (BMC Veterinary,Art 70). However not all cats enjoy or respond to catnip, and most cat owners even vets aren’t always aware there are other similar options!
Silver Vine: Like Catnip, silver vine is not dangerous or addicting, and has similar reactionary behaviors. It is a plant that grows in the mountainous region of Asia, making it one of the most popular cat treats in asia and looks similar to a grape vine! Silver vine tends to be the same, if not more responsive than catnip. At least 80% of cats that did not react to catnip had a positive reaction to silver vine.
Overall, although both CatNip and silver vine are similar alternating adds great variety and enrichment to your cats lives!
Why Should You Give Your Cat Silver Vine, Catnip, or Honeysuckle?
You may be wondering if there is any particular reason that you should consider giving your cat one of these plants to induce excitement. There are several positive effects on cats from doing so.
- They act as enrichment for indoor cats. Cats that stay inside need to be provided with lots of enriching activities to ensure they don’t become bored and stressed. Catnip, honeysuckle, and silver vine can provide indoor cats with fun.
- They help cats keep their hunting skills primed. When indoor cats don’t regularly practice their stalking and pouncing skills, they may lose them. The effects of these plants can encourage cats to practice their hunting skills on toys or imaginary prey.
- They can help improve your bond with your cat. Spending time giving your cat some silver vine, catnip, or honeysuckle and then playing together can increase the positive relationship between the two of you.
- They can increase playtime and fight obesity. Indoor cats, especially as they get older, need to be encouraged to stay active, continue to play, and move routinely to fight stress and obesity. Using catnip, honeysuckle, and silver vine as part of an overall program of play for your cat can help achieve that.