I’m sure you know by now how important it is to engage all of a cat’s senses, especially if your cat is kept indoors. From play that mimics hunting to throwing open the windows on a sunny day, we can do a lot to improve the lives of our indoor feline friends. But when comes to providing variety to our cats’ lives, scent is often overlooked.
Scent is one of a cat’s strongest senses — 40 times as powerful as a human’s — so cats crave a variety of natural, stimulating smells. That’s where cat attractants come in. Almost everyone has heard of the power of catnip, but have you heard of the feline favorite silver vine?
Silver vine (aka Actinidia polygama) is a species of kiwifruit that is native to the mountainous regions of China and Japan and has many uses, but it is probably best known because it produces a euphoric response in cats. It is often compared to catnip, but is actually a more reliable cat attractant than our old standby.
A cat who encounters silver vine will exhibit some amusing behaviors such as bunting (rubbing their head against things), licking, drooling, rolling, or even scratching. Many owners swear by silver vine for behavior modification because cats who are normally indifferent to catnip often love their silver vine.
It also seems to last a bit longer than catnip, with effects lasting for up to 30 minutes or more. Cats will often revisit the silver vine, even after the initial attraction has worn off, and it only takes a small pinch to get cats going wild.
Although, “wild” may be a bit of a misnomer. Silver vine actually seems to mellow cats out, instead of creating the hyperactive response many humans observe with catnip. Although, every cat is different so it’s best to give it a try and see what works best for your pet.
One of the best ways to introduce your cat to it is to place a pinch of silver vine powder on a toy or scratcher. You can even buy a sampler of our own Cloud Nine blend that includes a Little Puff toy. This encourages play and interaction with something you want them to attack, rather than household furnishings. Don’t worry if your cat licks or rolls in the silver vine. That’s a common reaction, and it means they like it.
It is important to remember that cats tend to get a bit territorial over their attractants. So, in a multi-cat household, the trick with silver vine is to make sure each cat has their own little pinch.
Cats who experience a variety of natural scents will live much fuller and enriching lives. So why not try a bit of silver vine? And don’t forget to let us know what your cats think.