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Let’s get this clear: cats love getting high (on kitty-drugs). The proof is on the internet. Thousands of videos show cats drooling, either rubbing their faces into catnip or lying in a state of absolute bliss. And this is when only 50% of domestic cats are genetically inclined to like catnip. What about the cat-population at large that doesn’t take to the nip, you ask? Well, there are plenty of options for nip-resistant felines, says science; all plant, all safe.
Nip it in the bud
Catnip has taken the market by a storm. There are innumerable ways for you to offer a nip-fix to your cat today: the plant, dried leaves or catnip sticks, toys made out of or hiding the nip, or simply spray an extract onto your cat’s toy. The active ingredient in catnip (called nepetalactone) is psychoactive in nature and mimics cat pheromones, which may induce mating-like behavior in your cat. When on the nip, some cats may chase an invisible prey, while others turn almost comatose in their euphoric state.
High of the tiger
The most popular of catnip alternatives is silver vine. Despite having found its way into the western markets only recently, silver vine goes back a long time in Asia. Used heavily in traditional Japanese and Chinese medicine, it has also been enjoyed by the felines of Asia for centuries. Interestingly, not one, but half a dozen other active components similar in structure to nepetalactone have been identified in silver vine, which would explain its higher potency and preference among cats.
In case of emergency
Another hidden gem from Asia popularly used in traditional medicine for humans, that their feline companions can’t seem to get enough of is Valerian root. However, it is nowhere near as effective as silver vine, and hence, can be used as an alternate for the few cats who may display indifference to catnip and silver vine.
If none of these are available to you, give Tatarian honeysuckle or Indian nettle a shot. They are similar in nature to valerian root, and don’t smell nearly as gross.
Don’t worry, be happy
Of course, you may be inclined to question the benefits of getting your feline-friend high, even if the substances are non-toxic, non-addictive, with no chance of an overdose. Research has shown a myriad of positive effects studied in cats exposed to these plants:
-provided with “enrichment”, indoor cats cope much better with over-stimulation and anxiety caused by staying indoors all day long.
– helps cats prime their hunting skills, which leads to a healthier lifestyle, especially for older cats.
-the capacity to bond with humans increases considerably in these euphoric states.
So, grab your mini lions a fistful of the good stuff, and help improve their emotional, physical, and mental health.