While you're gone, noises from the neighbors upstairs, pesky wild birds on her windowsill or even the disturbing scent of your slow-cooker chili can stress your pussycat out. When this happens, offer Kittie a little natural stress relief with the right herbs and watch her chill out.
Catnip (Nepeta cataria) is a well-known herb that can naturally relieve your cats mild stress. A perennial herb from the mint family, this weedlike plant recognized by its small, white, purple-spotted flowers can grow as high as 3 feet, spreading about as wide with lots of branches. Found in pet stores or grown in gardens, catnip contains various aromatic oils including one called nepetalactone that offers your cat a mild hallucinogenic magic carpet ride out of Stressville.
Most cats rub, sniff and eat catnip, while some roll in it like a pile of fresh Vegas jackpot cash. Whatever the method of ingestion, the effect is usually the same – a wild, intoxicating, stress-relieving (albeit short-lived) good time.
If the relatively pleasant-smelling catnip doesn't rock your cat's rowboat, try some Cat thyme (Teucrium marum) if you can handle its rancid odor. With the same soothing effects of catnip, cat thyme seems to offer additional feelings of contentment -- and what's better than a contented cat? Cultivate this green, slow-growing, low-to-the-ground perennial as a hedge and your furry pal will adopt it as her favorite napping spot. Cat thyme is suitable as a potted plant and available in dry form from most holistic suppliers.
Valerian (Valeriana officinalis, Valerianaceae) is an herb that promotes restfulness in cats. Unlike many other herbs, it does not normally interact negatively with other commonly used pet medications. A perennial flowers that grows from 4 to 6 feet with reddish flowers valerian contains a chemical called terpenoid that is similar to catnip’s active ingredient. Valerian smells like your husband’s dirty sweat socks.
Kava or kava-kava (Piper methysticum) is a well-known herb that can offer relief to your kitty's mild anxiety. This exotic broad-leafed green plant has been utilized as a sedative and muscle relaxer for centuries throughout the Pacific cultures of Polynesia. Readily available online or in your local holistic health store, kava cannot be combined with other anti-anxiety medications and should be avoided if your cat has a liver disorder.
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.