Did you know that there are other herbs aside from catnip that are calming for cats? There are also herbs that can be used to excite our feline friends to help inspire them to get their exercise. And there are even herbs meant to stimulate a playful mood in our cat companions so they engage and will be more friendly. Of course, natural remedies for kitty’s stress and anxiety are preferable to medications. Not only are they effective, but they’re a safer alternative to prescription and carry little to no side effects.
No More Feline Freak-Outs
Some cats are naturally high-strung. They can easily become stressed when they get bored or overstimulated. Other factors play a role as well, such as too much noise, other pets, and general anxiety. Being introduced to a new environment or changes are in their environment and schedules can all cause frenzied fits beyond the typical playful zoomies when they’re excited and playful.
Giving our felines some stress-relief will also give us stress-relief! The first step we should take, however, is figuring out what causes their stress and anxiety. If possible, eliminating these causes or minimizing our cats’ exposure to them will do wonders for a calm cat and peaceful home. This would only apply to certain circumstances, of course. “Eliminating” other pets is inconceivable! But we can minimize their boredom or exposure to loud noises, for example.
Keeping them calm with herbs is also a great alternative. There are a variety of herbal options that are safe to use, easy to administer, and readily available. Most calming herbs that humans use are also safe to use for cats. Consulting our pet’s vet before we try any alternative stress-relief remedies is a must. And we should introduce our cat to only one herb at a time so we can accurately observe how it affects her.
Calming Herbs 101
This perennial herb from the mint family is so named because of its “popularity” among cats. Also known as “kitty crack,” it has a euphoric effect on our felines when it is inhaled, causing them to act kooky, but in a good and even funny way - rolling herself all over the plant, dashing every which way, and even hanging from the ceiling! Our cat’s hilarious and delirious antics are naturally followed by calmness and tiredness. Ingestion of catnip, on the other hand, has an immediate calming and sedative effect. Whenever possible, growing fresh catnip is preferable to eating the dried herb. It’s easier to monitor and regulate when administered as a live plant. Plus, we know exactly what kitty is feasting on. Dried catnip isn’t exactly a monitored or regulated product, which means there may be carcinogens, other filler herbs, and unnecessary additives that can be harmful to our feline friend’s health. For those who choose to grow catnip, have fun with it!. Catnip actually comes in flavors, just like the mint family such as lemon, mint, pepper spice, and more. This is truly the express road to gourmet catnip snacks.
Chamomile has long been used to induce relaxation and relieve stress, and this herb has the same calming and anti-stress effects on cats as it does on humans. Vets also recommend chamomile to treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which is, more often than not, a stress-related condition. For our cats, the flowers of the plant offer the best stress- and anxiety-relief benefits. Topically, it can lessen skin irritation.
Passion flower will do wonders for a jumpy cat. This plant’s flowers, leaves, and stems have been used for centuries to calm the nerves. Passion flower also has a mild sedative effect. Many supplements combine passion flower, chamomile, and valerian to maximize the effects. Just be careful not to share human supplements as they are often mixed in small amounts with other herbs and additives that are safe for humans, but toxic to cats.
Found in the mountains of China and Japan, this plant is actually twice as potent as catnip! So why the heck should we give our cats a sniff if our goal is to help them relax? Well, our cats thrive on stimulation of all kinds; sensory, mental, and physical stimulation actually helps them relieve stress. So while silver vine will not make our feline chill out, it will definitely make them happy and content. Also, once the initial burst of energy has subsided, a calm period of rest and contentment takes hold, which many cat guardians report as long-lasting for their kitties.
Just like other mint species, this flowering and hardy herb is known for its “cooling” effects on the nervous system. It can help slow the breathing, reduce the heart rate, and lower the blood pressure of an agitated cat, promoting calmness and relaxation. Most choose to get a liquid form and add a few drops to Ms. Fuzzy Boot’s water as a way to give reliable, long-lasting exposure without overdoing the dosage.
Humans have been using valerian as an alternative therapy for insomnia and as a sedative. This herb has a similar but has a milder effect on cats. Valerian root can induce calmness, relieve anxiety, and even soothe a nervous stomach. Our cat may also fall asleep after being given this herb; because of its strong sedative effect, many vets caution against using too much of it.
Herbs are available in a variety of forms, but the safest for cats are the dried parts of the plants and tinctures. We should never give our cats herbal teas or essential oils. Catnip, of course, is safe to be ingested; although we wouldn’t want kitty to eat an entire plant, so monitor ingestion.
In general, the dried flowers or leaves can be ingested in small amounts. The best way to administer their calming effects is through kitty’s hypersensitive olfactory channels. The herbs can be placed inside a sock, a handmade pillow, or in a small bag that can be attached to her collar.
Tinctures can be added to kitty’s water, or a few drops can be directly squeezed into her mouth. But we have to make sure that the tincture is prepared by a reputable manufacturer and is formulated for pets to avoid exposure to possible harmful additives that don’t show up on the labels for herbs that are designed for human consumption. It’s always wise to check with a veterinarian with naturopathic certifications if there are questions.
At Vet Organics, we pride ourselves on a long history of success with all-natural remedies and supplements for dogs and cats. We’ve seen countless cat- and-canine companions find fast relief from our carefully designed, vet-approved formulas. Give them a try! With a money-back guarantee, there’s nothing to lose.