Cats and catnip are like peanut butter and jelly. You can’t spell ‘catnip’ without ‘cat’! However, there’s another similar product available when it comes to satisfying your cat’s playful side, and it’s called Silvervine. If you haven’t yet heard of this catnip-esque plant, read on to learn more about it from The Refined Feline.
What Is Silvervine?
Silvervine is often referred to as the “Matatabi dance” as cats will get the same playfulness out of it as they do catnip. Silvervine is actually a fruit-bearing vine, while its counterpart catnip is a herbaceous plant. Silvervine primarily grows in the mountainous regions of China, Japan, Korea and Eastern Russia. In the summertime, silvervine will produce little white flowers with yellow centers for about a month. The vine will then sprout egg-shaped fruit for a month in October. Asian regions have known about silvervine for years and years, using it for both humans and cats. In Japanese Kampo medicine, silvervine leaves are used to treat back pain, cancer, urinary tract infections and kidney disease. This vine has just recently made its way to the United States, where people are realizing how much cats enjoy it.
Silvervine & Catnip: Which One?
According to researchers, nearly half of all domestic cats don’t have any reaction to catnip. However, when introduced to silvervine, nearly 80% of cats responded to it, getting “high”. This may be due to catnip having only one chemical called nepetalactone, which is what gives cats their playful edge. And when it comes to silvervine, there are two main chemicals, called actinide and dihydroactinidiolide, that cats respond to. In addition to these two chemicals, silvervine also contains around six active ingredients similar to the chemical in catnip.
It may be time to try something new if you’re noticing your cat not eliciting a reaction from catnip. And with silvervine sticks, cats could help decrease the amount of tartar on their teeth with regular chewing. Silvervine is also known to help cats with arthritis, nausea, high blood pressure and even anxiety. This vine could even help your overweight cat shed some pounds since they’ll be more active.
How Is Silvervine Available?
There are different varieties and multiple parts of the vine that are available for your cat’s enjoyment. Generally, silvervine is ground up to have a similar appearance as catnip. But most cat owners notice that the fruit galls of the silvervine are what cats respond to the most. These fruit galls can be found whole or ground up. Silvervine is still dried out like catnip, and the pieces you can use include the fruit, stems, leaves, and buds. Kittens under eight months old and pregnant females seem to be the only cats that are known to not respond to silvervine.
If you hear of silvervine sticks, these are not an actual part of the vine, though. The sticks are usually infused with silvervine, and can help prevent tartar buildup on your cat’s teeth. If you do decide to give the silvervine sticks a try, keep an eye on your cat when they’re chewing or playing with them. The stick can break off if your cat is too rough with them and it can become a choking hazard. The silvervine sticks are for dental health, though, and giving your cat the actual vine will elicit a much stronger response.
How Does A Cat React To Silvervine?
The reaction cats have to silvervine is similar to that of catnip. Cats will typically drool, climb furniture, roll around in the vine, jump and bounce off the walls (especially if you have cat shelves and trees). Most people picture cats being hyperactive and zooming around, but some can actually become more relaxed! No matter how they react, most cats will thoroughly enjoy any form of silvervine you give them. Normally, the “high” your cat will experience typically lasts anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes but could last as long as an hour!
Can There Be Too Much Silvervine?
Silvervine can be used everyday just like your usage of catnip. You can sprinkle the vine on their favorite cat bed, or their food, toys, scratching posts, really anything! Don’t worry about your cats getting too much as there is no such thing as an excess of silvervine. Indoor cats will especially get a kick from silvervine and all of the zoomies that follow.
Give Silvervine A Try!
There are literally no negatives to giving your cats silvervine. The only negative is the potential that they don’t react to it! But the positives are vast, as they’ll get playtime with their favorite human and plenty of extra exercise.