As much fun as I had at CatConLA 2016, I actually managed to learn a thing or two, too.
One of my favorite lessons – discovering the ground wood of one species (out of 25) of the honeysuckle plant has the same effect as catnip for many cats. It turns out that this species contains nepetalactone, the same organic compound in catnip that serves as a cat attractant.
This was brought to my attention by Joanne Wegiel from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, who stopped by the Conscious Cat booth. She and her husband have been selling cat toys made with honeysuckle as well as pieces of honeysuckle wood for a number of years at their store, The Cat House.
Unfortunately, in the fall of 2015 the store burned to the ground. Thanks to a successful Go Fund Me campaign, the Wegiels are in the process of finding a new location to rebuild.
Joanne was kind enough to offer me a honeysuckle cat toy to take home for my cats. It was a huge hit, as demonstrated by Peekaboo.
First, I threw the toy to him.
Then he went crazy.
For some of you, honeysuckle for cats is not news. It has been used to make cat toys for at least 7 or 8 years. But it was news to me! I am always seeking information/alternatives to share with my clients to make their pets happier and healthier.
As with catnip, which is effective for around 60% of cats, honeysuckle wood does not work as an attractant for all cats. However if your cat is a catnip lover, consider providing toys made with honeysuckle.
If your kitty does not respond to nepetalactone, valerian root is a great alternative and there is an increasing amount of cat toys being made with it. The issue for some people is that the valerian root scent can be, well, unpleasant (beauty is in the nose of the beholder).
If you would like to follow the progress of the rebuilding of The Cat House, Inc., click here.
For more information on honeysuckle for cats, click here.