What is Silvervine?
You can think of it as Catnip 2.0; it causes the same fun reactions but comes in different forms and is more likely to be enjoyed!
While catnip is from the mint family of plants, Silver vine is a flowering, fruiting vine that is native to the mountains of East Asia.
It is the most popular cat attractant among cats and their owners in Japan and Asia. It is sometimes referred to as “matatabi” or “Japanese catnip”. The vine and fruits contain the essential oils that cats love with no additives or processing necessary.
Studies of cat stimulants show that 1 in 3 cats do not react to catnip however 8 in 10 cats DO react to silvervine. It is the perfect alternative to catnip to try for your pet. Many cats love both and react differently to each plant.
How does Silvervine work? Is it a cat drug?
Silvervine works entirely through your cats super sensitive sense of smell – none is ingested or metabolized to cause their reaction. The scent is said to be similar to cat pheromones which kick all of their senses into high gear and makes them more likely to play or be loving towards you.
It aids in relieving stress and anxiety and helps to promote play and exercise for house cats who prefer to lay around all day. It also helps to promote a bond between pet parent and kitty.
Reactions from silvervine vary for each cat, but common behaviors include rolling, chin and cheek rubbing, meowing, pouncing, drooling and licking. Some cats become more ‘kitten like’, while others become more relaxed and show a more ‘chilled out’ reaction. Effects of silvervine usually last anywhere from 5-30 minutes. Kittens (under 8 months old) may not have a reaction to silvervine.
What does silvervine look like? How do I give silvervine to my cats?
Silvervine powder is the most common way for cats to enjoy this wonderful treat. The highly potent powder comes from the ground gall fruits and a little goes a long way! But be careful, many brands will use the regular fruit of the plant which cats likely will not react to. It is difficult to find gall fruits and hard to identify which is which from photos alone. The only way to tell the difference is the smell! It’s almost impossible to describe the gall fruit but once you smell it, you know it.
Sections of the vine of the silvervine plant are trimmed and often given to and enjoyed by cats! Most commonly known as matatabi sticks or silvervine sticks, they are all the fun of silvervine powder and an all natural cat toy all in one. They are the perfect size and shape for cats to hold them between their paws while they chew, rub, and bat around! They also act as a natural tooth brush for chewers, as the vine like texture helps to gently exfoliate teeth and gums.
The whole silvervine gall fruit is also enjoyed by kitties. These are very hard to find, which may account for why they are less common with cat owners. They can be given whole as a toy or crushed into pieces and put inside of a toy. The whole fruit is so attractive to cats that they are sometimes even used as bobcat lures!
Is silvervine safe for my cat?
Like catnip, silvervine is totally safe to give to your cat and can even be beneficial to their health! In fact, where silvervine is native, people even eat the silvervine fruits. Silvervine is completely safe for your cat to smell and ingest in the amounts used in play. Because it is not metabolized it is impossible to overdose on, be addicted to, have withdrawal from, or cause any long lasting physical effects.