What Herbs and Roots Attract Cats?

Cats are crazy about certain herbs.
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Cats really dig certain roots and herbs that produce what is called terpenoid-based organic chemicals. These tempting plants attract even the most indifferent pussycats and elicit safe, favorable responses. Legal and completely above board, they are available at the store or easily grown in your own herb garden.


Catnip (Nepeta cataria) is the No. 1 herbal attractant to most cats and the one most familiar to most humans. Sometimes called catmint, it is a perennial herb belonging to the mint family that delivers a scent most felines find extremely appealing. The effects of his herb vary from cat to cat. Your cat might roll in it or eat it. She may come away with a hyper buzz or just mellow out. Whatever the reaction the effect catnip has on your cat will be short-lived lasting only a few minutes.

Valerian Root

Valerian root (Valeriana officinalis), best known as a sleep aid for humans, works as a stimulant for most felines, often transforming lazy fat cats into Energizer bunnies. A perennial that grows from 4 to 6 feet with reddish flowers, valerian contains terpenoid chemicals similar to those in catnip's active ingredient. Cats become excited when they encounter this vanilla-fragranced perennial and enjoy its taste as much as its exhilarating effect.

Cat Thyme

Cat thyme (Teucrium marum) is a green, slow-growing, low-to-the-ground perennial that smells like your husband's nasty sweatpants. Most cats are strangely attracted to this herb's nasty scent and enjoy its soothing effects similar to catnip. Cat thyme also offers your pussycat additional feelings of contentment -- kind of an afterglow of sorts. If your cat doesn't seem to go for catnip you may want to give this herb a shot -- if you can handle the rancid odor.


Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) is a stalk-like lemony-scented herb that is surprisingly attractive to cats. Cats are intrigued by the scent and enjoy chewing this herb, which offers a soothing effect, similar to catnip. Lemongrass leaves also provide a zesty lemon flavor and aroma to many human recipes, so it's an herb you can you can share with your feline friend.

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