Cats are notoriously selective when it comes to their toys. And, since about 50% of all cats are crazy for catnip it’s important for you, your cat’s humble servant, to be just as selective when it comes to his or her catnip toys!
When shopping for cat toys, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by all of the shapes, sizes and features that are now available. So, how do you choose? Let’s take a look at the different types of catnip toys available and what benefit your cat will get from each of them.
Loose-leaf catnip is great for training, as cats love to seek out the flavorful herb. Use it to coax a reluctant cat into a cat carrier or when introducing your cat to new (and often scary) stimuli, like tunnels or specialty bags. Sprinkle a bit of loose catnip around to help your cat “loosen up” and relax around a new toy or to encourage your furriest friend to start using a new scratching post.
Catnip can elicit a wide variety of responses in cats, but the most fun is the hilarity that ensues when your cat becomes super hyperactive! You can help inspire this response by focusing on toys that offer additional stimuli, such as squeaking noises, bird noises, and even squirrel noises. Look for catnip-stuffed toys to get your cat really feeling playful. Our cats’ favorite is the catnip banana from Yeowww!
Others are uniquely featured to coordinate to our pet’s unique shape and behavioral characteristics, like the kicker toys and the “grab” toys. These let your cat grab the toys, flop over, and rabbit kick them as if they were hunting and attacking their prey.
If your cat doesn’t respond to catnip…
We mentioned earlier that only about 50% of cats have a reaction to catnip; and if your cat is under three months old, they likely will have no reaction at all. Fortunately, there are plenty of options available to cats who can’t (or don’t) respond to catnip, but will elicit a similar reaction. Look for toys featuring these amazing ingredients:
Silvervine In Japan, silvervine is known as Matatabi. When purchasing silvervine products, stay with vendors who specialize in organic and USDA certified products, as there are many variations and some may include pesticides that were used during growing. We’ve found that some of our cats actually have a much more powerful – and longer lasting – response to silvervine than they do to catnip. In fact, companies are now releasing cat toys that include a mixture of catnip and silvervine. Check out “HyperNip” from Petlinks that is actually more potent than catnip alone!
Tatarian Honeysuckle Lonicera Tatarica is one species of honeysuckle that most cats have a very positive reaction to – it can make them sleepy or inspire plenty of antics, just as catnip does. Be sure you work with reputable sellers when making a honeysuckle purchase – only one form of honeysuckle causes this reaction, while other forms can be dangerous for your cat.
Valerian Root Valerian Root acts as a stimulant to cats (even though it causes humans to be more relaxed and sleepy). Look for high-quality sellers who have plenty of wonderful reviews before purchasing. Our cats have enjoyed these Bavarian Cat Toys. Be aware that valerian root has a specific odor – not unlike stinky cheese or dirty socks – that we don’t love, but cats can’t resist!
When shopping for catnip, you are best served to focus on organic, made in the USA toys that feature the ultimate catnip experience that’s safe for your cat.