Is Silver Vine Safe for Cats?


Catnip has been the preferred cat attractant for as long as I can remember. But so many cats don’t seem to be attracted to it.

What is catnip?

As part of the mint family, catnip might seem like an ordinary plant, but it contains nepetalactone, which is what makes some cats excited. These effects can last from five to thirty minutes.

Orange tabby cat smelling a catnip plant

What is silver vine?

Silver vine is also a simple plant, but it contains two cat attractants: nepetalactone and actinidine. This makes the plant more potent than catnip. And it also might cause a slightly different euphoric reaction.

Silver vine, also known as matatabi, is a climbing plant that can be found in the mountains of China and Japan and has been used for centuries in East Asia as medicine or in tea. The dried fruit galls of the plant prove to be the most potent due to a midge larvae that matures there. But this also makes it more difficult to produce commercially because not much is known about the silver vine gall midge.


silver vine fruit galls

Do cats prefer catnip or silver vine?

This depends on your cat. If your cat doesn’t seem to respond to catnip, you might give silver vine a go. Only about a third of cats respond to catnip. But nearly 80 percent will have a reaction to silver vine. Because of its extra attractant, silver vine tends to be more potent, even for cats who respond to catnip.

Cloud Nine silvervine is better than catnip

If you are looking to try silver vine with your cat, a powdered version is probably the best place to start. Our Cloud Nine Silver Vine is made from only silver vine fruit galls, without any additives, leaves, sticks or stems. It’s also processed in the USA. That way we know it’s pure whole fruit silvervine.

cat laying on its back next to an open tin of silvervine

Is silver vine safe?

I think what makes owners worry about using cat attractants is the correlation to drug use in humans. To be clear, silver vine does, in fact, produce a sort of “high” for  your cat. But studies have shown that the plant has no addictive properties. The effects are temporary, and you shouldn’t notice a resistance to it over time. 

gray and white cat in a tunnel playing with a toy cloud

Is it okay if my cat eats silver vine?

This is probably the most common question I get about our Cloud Nine Silver Vine. Many cats like to roll in the powder, attack it, or simply sniff it, but a few will be compelled to lick it from surfaces until its gone.

While it’s important to note that silver vine is not a food product, and should not be used as a food-based treat, it is perfectly safe if your cat consumes some from time to time. Like any stimulant, though, silver vine should be used in moderation. It’s a great idea to use silver vine when getting your cat acclimated to crate travel or to encourage them to play with a new toy.

looking down on a cat with a cloud toy in its mouth

The long and short of it is that silver vine is purrfectly safe and can be used to provide scent enrichment, fun, and stimulation for your cat. Try it out, and let me know what you think!


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