The holiday season can be a stressful time for many pets and their parents. Doorbells ringing, unfamiliar people, loud laughter, strange scents, flashing lights, and changes in daily routines are just a few causes of holiday anxiety in pets. What if there was a natural, effective solution to reduce stress in your cat that also provided health benefits and encouraged exercise? There is! It’s called silvervine.
Silvervine, also called matatabi or cat powder, is a species of kiwifruit that grows in high altitude areas of Japan and China. It has been known to elicit euphoric reactions similar to catnip, but its effects appear more intense. Cats may respond to silvervine by rolling around, having dilated pupils, drooling, running around, pouncing on things, cheek rubbing, licking, and generally acting playful. The effects usually last between five and 30 minutes, and unlike catnip, cats can have a reaction again after about 20 to 30 minutes.
The euphoric state induced by silvervine can positively impact your cat’s emotional and physical wellbeing. Silvervine can help fight stress and obesity by encouraging cats to run and play, thus getting them much needed exercise. It can also strengthen the bond between human and pet. After the hyperactive effects wear off, your cat will be more relaxed and possibly more willing to cuddle.
Silvervine comes in numerous forms, but the common forms are powder and dried sticks made from the vine. Chewing on silvervine sticks is safe and great for your cat’s dental health since it knocks tartar off their teeth. Many cats enjoy sniffing or snuggling with the sticks as well. Be sure to throw the sticks away when they get so small that your cat could choke on them. Silvervine powder can be put inside toys, sprinkled on beds, cat trees, and scratching posts to help encourage play and proper use. Most cats (about 80%) respond to silvervine, so if your cat doesn’t care for catnip alone, try a blend of catnip and silvervine.
The holidays are busy for us all. Preparing to help your pet manage his or her anxiety can save time and prevent more stress from accumulating during an already busy season.