March 10, 2021 3 min read
We all need something to help us kick back and relax from time to time, whether that’s with a couple of glasses of wine, your favorite TV show, or a hot bubble bath after a long day of work.
Cats are no different.
After a stressful day of chasing butterflies and sleeping, cats also need an occasional treat to help them blow off some steam. Most people recognize the wide-eyed, crazed look of a kitty high on catnip. But silvervine is now becoming a popular alternative.
If you haven’t heard of silvervine or have heard about it but would like to know more, then you’ve come to the right place.
What is silvervine?
Silvervine (also known as Actinidia polygama) is a fruit-bearing plant that can be found in the mountainous regions of Asia.
Its name is derived from its silvery vines and leaves and has traditionally been used in Chinese and Japanese medicinal practices.
But now, studies have shown that silvervine isn’t only good for medicine, it’s also popular with our feline friends.
Catnip vs Silvervine
If your cat doesn’t respond to catnip, you may be thinking that they will have the same reaction to silvervine.
However, a 2017 study published in BMC Veterinary research found “In agreement with previous studies, one out of every three cats did not respond to catnip. Almost 80% of the domestic cats responded to silvervine.”
So, if your kitty isn’t a fan of catnip or has got bored of the stuff, it’s worth trying them with silvervine and seeing how they react. Studies also show that the effects of silvervine are more potent than catnip and the effects can last anywhere between 5-30 minutes. This is because silvervine has two olfactory attractants (actinidine and dihydroactinidiolide) whilst catnip only has one (nepetalactone).
Comparing silvervine and catnip is a bit like comparing Pepsi and Coke. They’re both great, but we can all agree that Coke is slightly more superior, right?
Is Silvervine safe for cats?
It’s natural to be wary of trying things you haven’t heard of before—especially when it comes to your loveable pet.
You’ll be relieved to know that silvervine is as safe and natural for your cat as catnip, which means it's non-toxic and non-addictive.
In fact, silvervine is a great way to help your cat’s health and wellbeing.
If your cat is still trying to work off some of that holiday weight, you can encourage them to burn off some kitty calories by scattering some silvervine and watching them go nuts!
It’s also a great way to encourage stimulation and keep your naturally nervous kitty calm and relaxed.
Whilst silvervine is completely safe, we always recommend supervising your furball when using it to ensure they stay out of mischief…
How to use silvervine
Silvervine can also be a great way to keep your lazy feline stimulated and make their toys more interesting. Just sprinkle ¼ teaspoon of silvervine powder onto that toy they’ve ignored since Christmas and see the difference!
Silvervine can also help with training your stubborn ball of fluff.
A study of silvervine used in scratchers showed “Scratchers in an upright form covered with cardboard or rope may be suitable for adult household cats and the application of CN or SV can be helpful in increasing the use of scratchers.”
You can encourage them to use scratchers and cat beds by scattering some silvervine on them.
Some cat productsare now even being made with silvervine in them, making them an immediate favorite for your feline.
If you’ve got to take your furball to the vets for a checkup, then sprinkle some silvervine in their carrier to help them get more relaxed for the journey.
Where can I buy silvervine?
Silvervine is becoming a more popular alternative to catnip in the western world and you should be able to get silvervine from most pet retailers or even on Amazon.
Silvervine can be found in powder form for sprinkling or made in chew sticks and treats.
You should also consider cat products that are made with silvervine, such as this range of scratchers which are made with organic silvervine and will help keep kitty claws off your furniture!
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