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Cat Health

Does Valerian for Cats Actually Work?

valerian for cats

Why Do Cat Owners Use Valerian?

Many people are aware of how important certain herbs and natural products are for people but don’t realize that they can be helpful for pets.

Staying happy is important for any animal, especially cats. Valerian is a popular herb, like catnip, that helps increase their happiness.

Happy cats are less likely to misbehave or act out of boredom, so will have happy owners.

Your kitty needs mental stimulation and their behavior is often less than ideal when they are bored. Indoor cats tend to have lower energy levels and need stimulation.

Does valerian for cats actually work? Yes, it does.

Valerian is a Safe Catnip Alternative

Catnip has long been seen as an ideal herb to help keep cats calm. However, some cats have only a minimal response to catnip, or simply don’t respond to the herb. In this case, valerian is a safe choice that will help get your cat moving.

According to pet nutritionist Lisa Salvaggio, valerian is one of the best catnip alternatives available. Its active ingredient is actinidine, which is safe.

Another element that makes cats react to valerian is valeric acid. This chemical acts like a pheromone, which is a type of hormone. The pheromone properties help explain cats’ different reactions to valerian.

The difference between a cat’s reaction to valerian versus catnip is often a lot more pronounced. Excited, playful behavior such as rolling is very common when a cat has valerian.

Cats will engage in stalking and hunting behavior after ingesting valerian.

This recommended YouTube video covers some of the basics of valerian, including one of the biggest differences between it and catnip. Valerian is effective on other species besides cats.

How Should You Use Valerian?

A little bit of valerian goes a long way, and its application is similar to catnip. Consider adding it to one of your cat’s toys, or using it to sprinkle on a scratching post. The herb is also safe to put into your pet’s food if you feel it is easier.

If you don’t mind growing things, valerian is an easy herb for you to grow. Despite the strong smell, it is likely to attract cats who enjoy investigating new plants.

Even if your cat enjoys chewing on the plant, you can rest assured that they won’t get sick.

Can Valerian Calm a Cat?

Even though valerian acts as a stimulant, it also has effective use for calming a cat. The active ingredient that serves as a stimulant helps put the kitty in a more relaxed mood. In many cases, your pet will settle down and nap after the stimulus wears off.

Although the herb eventually calms your cat, you need to use caution before using it very heavily.

If your plans include using it over a longer term, consult with your vet. He or she can help you determine if valerian is right for your kitty’s needs.

Does Valerian Offer Health Benefits?

Valerian has been the subject of some research into possible feline health benefits. These benefits seem quite promising.

In studies, cats injected with valerian had lower blood pressure and lower heart rates. There was also a decrease in gastrointestinal pain.

Things look promising for these types of studies, and owners who use valerian might enjoy great results.

Are Toys with Valerian Available?

Toys filled with valerian are a lot rarer than catnip-filled toys. However, independent sellers are a lot more likely to carry such toys than major pet supply chains. Some such sellers offer more flexibility and better options for custom toys.

Things you should always look for in cat toys are non-toxic materials and is free of small parts that are not firmly attached, as well as anything that might catch on your cat’s collar. Cat toys should always have safety as a major factor.

One thing that cat owners need to be cautious of is letting their cats play with toys that can get wrapped around their neck or legs when unsupervised.

Puzzle toys that you can fill with valerian and favorite treats are safe alternatives when your cat’s alone.

Another safe alternative is an old, valerian-filled sock tied off at the top. Using old socks is cost-effective, and also avoids the use of string or other parts that could strangle or injure a cat.

This is also an option that provides a perfect chance to repurpose your old socks.

Why Does Stimulation Matter?

According to Cat Health, indoor cats are prone to boredom and stress. Providing extra stimulation through play will alleviate this.

As PetMD notes, valerian may help fight cat obesity by encouraging play. Any opportunity to allow a cat more exercise should be encouraged for their better overall health.

Providing valerian will usually encourage even the most sedentary cats to get up and play.

Playing with a wand toy, while tempting the cat with valerian, will give him or her plenty of exercise. This exercise will help your cat exercise and relieve boredom.

Another reason stimulation matters are because play and other stimulation help you and your cat bond better.

Most cats develop a bond with their owners, however, a stronger bond is even better for your cat’s wellbeing.

Should I Do Anything Special With Valerian?

When the cat chews the valerian, this action helps release the valeric acid that provides the pleasurable feeling.

To help increase the effectiveness of this herb, it is a good idea to chop it into fairly small pieces.

Many cat parents wonder if they need to do anything special when giving their cats valerian at first. Because each cat might have a different reaction, seeing how your cat responds is a good idea.

Confining your cat at first is a good idea, especially if there are other pets who might interfere with their play.

Having the chance to see how the cat responds to the valerian will give you an idea of what to expect each time they try the herb.

Are There Any Bad Effects?

Although it is not as common, some cats respond to valerian with aggression, rather than playful behavior.

Pinning the ears back, hissing, and growling are all aggressive behaviors to watch for when your cat has valerian.

If your car reacts with aggression, quietly back off and give him or her time to calm down. Taking this step will decrease your pet’s aggression level and leave you less likely to end up being bitten or scratched. Your kitty should return to normal shortly.

Another possibility is that your cat is unaffected by the herb. Your cat won’t be overly playful or aggressive. However, the health benefits might make it worth a try.

Does the Form Matter?

Only the dried or fresh form is appropriate to give to cats. Valerian in pill form is often in a dosage that may be too high for feline use. Too much valerian can be unsafe because of its cardiac system effects.

Another reason pills are not recommended is because they may have extra herbs or additives that aren’t suitable for cats.

Valerian usage should always be as beneficial for your cat as possible.

How Should I Store This Herb?

Unless you are giving your cat free access to a valerian plant, you will need to store this herb effectively.

An airtight container will help the cut herb keep its freshness for longer. Airtight containers also help contain the pungent smell.

The strong smell associated with valerian is associated with valeric acid. This smell has often been described as a dirty foot or strong cheese odor.

Keeping the herb in an airtight container will help keep the smell from affecting other herbs stored nearby.

Consider keeping the cut or dried herb in a similar place to where you keep tea and other dried goods.

This area should be somewhat cool and dark. Avoid keeping your container anywhere moisture is an issue.

Treating your cat to the effects of valerian can be great for him or her, both mentally and physically. Giving it a try is something that both you and your car will love.

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