Valerian And Its Effects
Valerian is a type of flowering plant that is native to both the European and Asian continents. In the summer months, the plant matures and reaches a height of roughly 5 ft. The flowers have a very sweet scent and are usually white or pink in color. While valerian has sweet-smelling flowers that were used to make perfume in the 16th century, the valerian root is a different story. The valerian root is extremely pungent compared to the flowers that the plant produces.
The valerian root was commonly used in ancient Roman and Greek times as a medicinal treatment as it offers soothing effects to any human that consumes it. Below are some interesting facts about the valerian root:
- All types of valerian contain essential oils that smell very strong when dried
- Pure valerian root (Valeriana officinalis) is used for valerian cat toys
- The smell of the dried plant is unpleasant for many people; reminding them of old socks and sweaty feet
- Valerian infusion has a calming and sleep-stimulating effect on humans
- Some cats love valerian while others are not interested in the smell
- Also, some large cats such as lions or tigers are ecstatic when it comes to valerian
Why do cats love valerian?
Valerian has a relaxing effect on the human nervous system. Valerian root is an herb that has been used for centuries in people to combat anxiety, insomnia, and high blood pressure. However, in the case of cats, it usually has the opposite effect. As soon as valerian-loving cats smell the herb, no one can stop them!
The cat will begin to squirm into it, begin to salivate or purr at the object of their desire. Some cats even start scampering around the house or yard as if they have been bitten by a spider. Others behave as if the smell has stunned them and has caused them to become highly intoxicated. The cause of this behavior is the strong smell of the valerian root. This particular strong smell reminds cats of a certain hormone that females emit during the mating season while they are in heat.
Valerian affects the cat in a similar way to catnip. However, some cats do not have the “catnip” gene that causes them to react to the smell of catnip. If your cat does not react to catnip you can try introducing it to valerian as it may have a stronger effect on your furry friend and acts as an alternative to catnip. It can help your pet cope with separation anxiety, travel stress, and thunderstorms, and more.
But why do some cats love the smell while others don’t? Experts still don’t have an explanation for everything to do with cats and valerian. For example, it is not clear why neutered males and females react to the smell as they no longer have strong sex hormones in their bodies. When the feline does not show any interest, it is usually a very young or old cat.
Practical Advice on Cats and Valerian Valerian Fun
There are numerous cat toys filled with valerian that are available for purchase in pet shops and online. One small downside compared to catmint is that people tend to find the smell of valerian much more unpleasant. But if you decide on purchasing this stinky gift you can be assured that your cat will love you for giving it this scented herb.
There are many different products available on the market that contain valerian and are designed for use by cats. For example, there are cushions that contain valerian in many different colors and sizes. In addition, there are also other cat toys and sprays that encourage cats to play with excitement.
If you want, you can even make a toy out of valerian yourself. For this, you can use old cotton socks and fill them with rice and two teaspoons of dried valerian root that you can get at the pharmacy. As an alternative to rice, you can also use padding material for cushions. Finally, tie a knot to close the sock tightly. The action can begin! It doesn’t matter if it’s bought or made by you; don’t let your feline play unsupervised! Otherwise, you run the risk that your cat might ingest large amounts of valerian or filler material which could cause damage to your cat’s health.
Tips on Valerian for Cats
After about ten minutes of fun put the toy out of the cat’s reach. In this way, the stimulus is maintained. If you leave the cushion and other toys with valerian around the house, your kitten will lose interest and not find the toy appealing anymore. It is best to keep them in an airtight box.
If the cat has slobbered all over the toy, let them dry well after playing. This rarely happens, but if your feline reacts aggressively to valerian, don’t give him a toy or cushion that contains this herb. Since, for most felines, it has a stimulating effect, it is not suitable for relaxing cats before traveling or for other exciting occasions.
Is Valerian Toxic to Cats?
Some kittens will try dry valerian when they have it within reach. Although it is not toxic to cats, they should not ingest large amounts of the object. This could lead to an upset stomach and vomiting. Also, too much valerian could damage the cat’s liver. That is, what is toxic is the amount ingested.
If your cat has eaten a small piece of valerian during the high of the game, you don’t have to worry about his health. However, ingesting stuffing material from toys can also be dangerous. That is why it is best to be around when you let your feline friend play with an object with valerian. In this way, you can intervene if your kitten breaks the seams. By the way, even though valerian is considered a drug for cats, it is not addictive.
If your cat is currently taking any other medications or is receiving special health treatment, it is best to consult with your vet before giving your cat valerian root as it may cause damage to its health.