If your cat doesn’t like catnip you might think he’s broken. Every cat loves catnip, right? You might be surprised to learn only 70-80% of cats respond to cat nip at all. So no, your kitty isn’t broken. This is an exciting time to learn what other plants and herbs can be enriching.

Over the years, we’ve learned how important enrichment is for our cats (especially our indoor kitties). Puzzle toys, vertical space, hidey boxes, scratchers, engaged playtime – things that engage their instincts and senses. But the world of plants and herbs is a big new world of enrichment we’ve just recently discovered.

So – if your cat doesn’t like catnip, you’ve probably already tried silvervine. Many cats that don’t react to catnip do react to silvervine. Both usually have a euphoric effect on cats – making some cats very calm and content, and others very excited. And while these two plants are the most popular for cats, there’s so much more!

If your cat doesn’t like catnip, try…

Cat Grass! You might think cats eat only grass to throw up. It’s true that it provides a form of fiber that will help cough up a hairball or help digest them. But cat grass also provides folic acid (B9 vitamin), chlorophyl, and vitamins A & D – and it’s a great source of environmental enrichment.

Types of grass you can grow (or buy organic) for your cats include wheat, barley, alfalfa, and oat grass (and probably more).

You can also grow catnip, lemongrass, mint, licorice root and valerian… which brings us to HERBS!

Herbs not only provide wonderful sensory enrichment, they also contain healing properties. While herbs have been used for thousands of years to help heal humans, we never considered how they might benefit our cats! Some of our cat’s current favorites – and the issues they help address are:

  • Valerian –  helps with fear and stress
  • Rose buds – help heal sadness
  • Chamomile – is calming
  • Calendula – helps build confidence

We highly recommend reading The Aromatic Cat by Julie-Anne Thorn if you (like us) are just beginning to learn about all the cat-safe herbs that can help enrich our cats’ lives! Julie-Anne (of Naturally Cats) is a master herbalist and also creates herb gardens – which are dried herbs we can lay down and let our cats self-select their enrichment and healing. We are realizing that this sensory enrichment is just as important for our cats as all the playtime, vertical space, puzzle toys and scratchers in the world!


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