Whether your kitty is high-strung all the time or only during special events, calming herbs can help soothe and relax an anxious cat. Calming herbs work to relieve anxiety by targeting the central nervous system, and they're a safe, natural, low side-effect alternative to prescription medications.
Particularly useful for events that might cause significant emotional upset, passionflower is native to the southeastern United States. It's collected from the leaves, flowers and stems of the passionflower vine and is available in many forms, including infusions, tinctures and dried. This herb acts to calm down a case of the jitters and works like a mild sedative.
Valerian is well-known in human herbal circles as a powerful sedative and sleep aid. For kitties, though, valerian has a far milder effect; instead of making your cat tired or sleepy, it simply calms her down. Valerian is useful while traveling because it not only relieves anxiety, it soothes nervous stomachs.
Backed by nationally-known VCA Animal Hospitals, chamomile is an herbal remedy proven to soothe upset tummies, reduce inflammation and facilitate relaxation. It's often recommended by vets whose patients suffer from irritable bowel syndrome because it not only reduces the gastrointestinal effects of the disease but also works to manage the root cause of IBS, stress.
Skullcap is a hardy form of flowering mint used for centuries as a sedative and natural anxiety remedy. As a "cooling" herb, skullcap works to calm down an overactive nervous system and to slow breathing, lower blood pressure and reduce the heart rate. The effects of skullcap work in tandem to mellow out a jittery cat and help her relax from the inside out.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
- Herbs for Pets: The Natural Way to Enhance Your Pet's Life; Mary L. Wulff and Greg L. Tilford
- The Animal Herbalist: Herbs for the Anxious Dog or Cat
- Green Little Cat: Calming Stressed Cats
- VCA Animal Hospitals: Chamomile
Since 2001, Kea Grace has published in "Dog Fancy," "Clean Run," "Front and Finish" and an international Czechoslovakian agility enthusiast magazine. Grace is the head trainer for Gimme Grace Dog Training and holds her CPDT-KA and CTDI certifications. She is a member of the APDT and is a recognized CLASS instructor. She's seeking German certification from the Goethe Institut.