With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, I’ve been thinking about typical gifts like perfume and it occurred to me how powerful scent can be. My grandmother wore a potent Esteé Lauder perfume, and to this day, I still remember her by the smell. When she passed away, I kept her bottles and even now, 40 years later, can open one up and feel her right next to me. It’s not uncommon for humans to respond to scent memory in this way, but cats experience scent memory too. They just use it in a different way.
Cats are born with a strong sense of smell because they are deaf and blind for the first two weeks of life. During that time, they navigate their world entirely through smell. It’s how they know which teat to feed on and how to identify their littermates. Momma cats even leave their personal scent around the den so the kittens know their boundaries and they excrete a pheromone that promotes harmony among the litter.
It’s no surprise then, that cats retain a heightened sense of smell throughout their lives. Ever noticed your cat rubbing her cheek on the corner of a wall or your leg? This behavior is called bunting, and kitty does this to deposit her own scent. When cats bunt on you, they’re picking up scents from you as well. Bunting helps cats mark territory and show affection. In fact, kitties who live together will often bunt each other to say hello.
Of course, bunting isn’t the only way a cat will use scent. If you’ve ever seen a cat go crazy for catnip, you know that scent can be an important tool in playtime for your four-legged companion. But did you know catnip isn’t even the most powerful cat attractant?
Silver vine, a plant similar to catnip that grows in mountainous regions of Asia, isn’t particularly well-known in the US. However, it is much more potent than our old standby because it has two cat attractants, rather than just the one found in catnip.
Even better, silver vine is natural and non-toxic while entertaining kitty. It can help her sharpen her hunting skills, relieve her stress, and even provide some medicinal benefits.
Worried that kitty won’t take to silver vine because she doesn’t respond to catnip? Well, the good news is cats typically prefer silver vine— in one study, almost 80 percent of domestic cats responded to silver vine—even when they don’t usually find catnip attractive. Kitties who already enjoy catnip may spend even more time with their silver vine.
Our exclusive Cloud Nine Silver Vine is really easy to use, and won’t go stale nearly as quickly as catnip. Simply sprinkle a pinch of silver vine on a favorite toy and watch the fun. Remember, a little goes a long way, but Cloud Nine will bring spice to a cat's life and can be used daily.
Smell is vital to the way cats navigate life and indoor cats are limited in what smells they experience living within four walls. Allowing them various opportunities to indulge in scents that are pleasurable will help them cope better with the stresses of indoor life. Check back later this month to read more about the importance of cat-friendly scents in your home and ways to help your kitty enjoy them more.
Do you have a favorite scent that brings back wonderful memories? We would love to hear about it.