Catswort, valerian and “cat grass” for the well-being and health of your cat
Cat grass is a term known to the overwhelming majority of cat owners. These are specially grown plants that have beneficial effects on our feline pets. They have the capacity to calm and relax them, have a positive effect on their state of mind as well as on their digestive tract, and even on their overall immunity.
This makes cat grass something that definitely should not be missing from your cat’s must-have list, whether your pet stays indoors or is allowed outside to enjoy the great outdoors and green fields. Simply put, there is nothing like cat grass except cat grass, and nothing can replace it.
Why cat grass?
Cat grass is a common name for grasses and herbs with beneficial effects for cats. First of all, they benefit their digestive tract and its cleansing. It is actually something like an imaginary food supplement for cats that additionally tastes good, and they can identify it among the whole spectrum of other grasses or green plants.
At the same time, some herbs such as catswort and valerian also have a positive effect on the cat's mental state. They can calm, relax and eliminate the cat's stress, and therefore are widely recommended as a therapy for stressful behaviour, whether it involves various forms of fear or insecurity, inappropriate marking of territory, or even when the period of cohabitation with a new animal member of the household begins. And, as they say, its horses for courses, which also applies to cats. Some of them literally graze for valerian, while others are completely indifferent to it, and there is nothing other than catswort can allure and calm them down.
Yet do you know what type of cat grass, and in which situation you should use it? And what will it bring to kitty? Here is a brief overview.
Generic, although imprecise, the term refers to a plant that is mostly reminiscent of a common type of grass found outdoors. In fact, this involves multiple plants, e.g., barley or rye most frequently. We can get cat grass seeds in pet stores, yet they are also available, for example, in some hobby markets or gardening centres. Growing cat grass is then absolutely anything but difficult. We can let the seeds swell and germinate and place them in soil, or maybe placed them directly into a substrate and start growing them. An easier way is to buy already mature cat grass, which we can find in a number of gardening centres. We can then grow the grass in a pot at home or transfer it into a garden bed.
Cat grass has a beneficial effect on the cat’s digestion and gastrointestinal tract, helping to cleanse the latter and contribute to their overall health. However, the best thing about this is the fact that cats love cat grass, so it can easily happen that as soon as you bring it home, they jump to it faster than they would do with, for example, meat.
If you have no experience with cat grass, you should definitely not be worried by the vomiting that takes place after your cat consumes the grass. This is not a symptom of a health problem, but quite the opposite. In this way, your cat is cleansing its digestive tract to maintain its health and fitness. Buying some cat grass is even recommended for owners whose cats have free access outside and can eat common types of grass. While they do not have the same beneficial effects on the cat's digestion as real cat grass, they can also be contaminated, either by environmental influences, animals marking their territory, or they may contain allergens such as pollen, among others.
In addition to the above, cat grass is also a positive thing for us as cat owners. Seeing your cat nibbling your plants in your home is not uncommon. Often, the pet will “enjoy” smaller tree-like plants (e.g. Dracaena), as well as rubber figs or similar green plants. Cat grass can literally help us protect them.
Catswort can be classified as a grass rather than a herb. It is a very aromatic plant with violet flowers, which is characterised by its intoxicating smell. And it is the scent that can calm the cat down, help it relax and adjust its disrupted mental state.
Catswort literally works wonders with a cat. Even the sharpest cat becomes more relaxed and cuddly, but also more playful. Cats really love it, so it is not advisable to chase them off as they began rolling in it, rubbing against it, or literally devouring it.
And here, too, there is nothing like one size fits all – every cat has an individual character with its own reactions to catswort. There are cats that may experience sedative effects, while for others the plant may awaken greater playfulness or even pro-active sexual behaviour, although nothing may happen with some felines. It is even no exception that a cat, which was initially excited about catswort, will gradually lose interest in it. All of this is linked to the development of the cat as such, as well as the process of aging and changing priorities.
Growing catswort is also relatively easy. The easiest way to do this is to purchase the herb at a gardening centre and then transplant it into a flower bed a spacious flowerpot.
Unlike catswort and cat grasses, valerian is a herb that we know very well. We usually recall its beneficial effects in tackling insomnia or helping to fight stress and increased mental strain. In the same way, valerian can also help our cats.
It can effectively calm them down, and is even attributed to greater soothing effects on the cat’s psyche than in the case of catswort. For a numerous group of cats, with whom catswort does nothing, valerian can cause them to lose their minds as they nibble it, rub against it, roll in it or lie in it for hours.
And, similarly to catswort, valerian perfectly calms and soothes some cats, while exciting and stimulating activity and playfulness in others.
Valerian, again, is available in most gardening centres. Its cultivation is relatively easy, and it can be kept in a flower pot at home as well as in a garden bed, and it also tolerates winter very well.
So, what type of cat grass to choose for your pet? In our view, cat grass should definitely be kept on the list for every cat, as it can support the health of a cat’s digestive tract, which is crucial for the overall vitality of the cat. And if you feel that your cat is suffering from stress, is nervous or restless, it is a good idea to bet on valerian or catswort. However, before you choose one, it would be ideal to get a few dried flowers of the intended plant and let the cat smell them. This very simple test will determine whether valerian or catswort is more to your cat’s liking. Some cats will ignore the former, while others will do the same for the latter.
Just a few seconds and everything becomes clear! Now you can play it safe at your garden centre.