The Difference Between Catnip And Valerian

If you’ve been looking things up about catnip you might have come across another cat attractant “Valerian Root.” You might have also figured out they have a similar effect as one another but exactly what is the difference between the two and what one should you use for your cat?

Origins of the Two Plants

First off they are similar but they come from two different plant species. Catnip comes from the plant “Nepeta cataria” and are native in southern and eastern Europe, the Middle East, central Asia and is also grown in the United States.

Valerian Root, however, comes from the Valerian plant. This plant is native in parts of Europe, Asia and was brought to North America as well. Valerian is also an evasive species and is banned in certain places including Connecticut. New Brunswick and Canada also list it as a plant of concern.

Different Effects Of Catnip

Roughly around 50 percent of cats will be affected by catnip. You think it would be more than that but for some reason only half of them will react to the herb. Catnip resembles cat urine to cats so when they come into contact with it they will do things such as roll, paw, frisk, slobber as if they were in heat. If you have more than one cat you might want to introduce it to them individually as they could start fighting due to the effects.

They may also chew on the object if it is infused with the catnip as well. Depending on how you cat interacts with cat nip it can cause different effects. If they ingest the herb it will act as a sedative. If you want them to go crazy and jump around you want them to smell it.

It also really depends on the species of the cat as well. The reason why this happens is that it contains nepetalactone. It’s the chemical that causes the high in them. Nepetalactone can also be used as an insect repellent. You can use it to get rid of flies, mosquitoes, cockroaches, and termites if you have a problem with these types of bugs.

Iridodial which is another compound found in catnip oil can attract lacewings. Catnip can also have some side effects if you give too much to your cat such as vomiting or diarrhea and you should only give it to them about once a week.

It sounds bad but catnip is actually very safe, is also not addictive and any bad side effects will go away on their own. Catnip also does not work on kittens and must be several months old before they can get the effects of catnip.

Different Effect Of Valerian

Valerian on the other hands works almost the same way as catnip except it is stronger and lasts much longer. I’m talking hours compared to catnip. The reason why this plant works as a feline attractant is that it contains the chemical actinidine.

It also has a very bad odor but cats for whatever reason seem to go crazy over it. If you’re cat does not respond to catnip because some cats do not have the gene that makes them react to the plant, Valerian is a good and very safe alternative if you want to get the same effects and have them last much longer.

This can be useful on car rides if you have to do such a thing. Valerian works on cats but the chemical inside the plant can also attract rats the same way that it does felines. If you live in an area with a lot of rats like New York, you might not want to use this cat attractant and go with another natural alternative which I have written an article about here.

If you have a rat problem you could put the Valerian Root on the traps and make it a lot easier to kill the rats. It works with mice as well. Valerian like catnip can also have side effects. If you give too much to your pet it can make them very sleepy and lethargic.

Is Valerian Root Safe For Cats To Eat?

Valerian root is known to be an alternative to catnip so it is very safe for them to take without any ill effects as long as they don’t take a crazy amount of it of course. If for some reason your cat has weird side effects for whatever reason they should probably stick to catnip.

Can A Cat Overdose On Valerian?

A cat can overdose on valerian root but it’s unlikely that it will kill them. It can cause GI upset (in other words diarrhea and vomiting) and can cause muscle tremors if it is taken in large amounts.

If this happens to your cat you should take them to a vet as soon as possible. They will probably induce your cat to vomit so they can flush out its system.

Dosage Of Valerian For Cats

You can give your cat Valerian in both liquid and tablet forms. If you want to give them liquid you would give them 1/4 tsp if they are a small cat and for a tablet you would give them 1-2 tablets per 5kgs.

Human Use Of Catnip And Valerian Root

Believe it or not some people actually smoke catnip for recreational reasons. However If you use it to make teas, it can cause stomach aches. Its also possible for it to give you a headache.

You would have to however ingest or smoke a lot of it to get these adverse effects.

How does it work?

It is thought that the chemicals in catnip have a calming effect.”

Valerian Root also has some uses for us humans.

Health Benefits Of Valerian Root

It won’t make us go crazy but it can actually help us deal with anxiety and help us relax.

 Improves Memory
This plant can actually improve your overall memory and problem-solving skills in both children and adults.

If you have insomnia this would be really good to take if you have a problem falling asleep at night, you want to take something that isn’t medication and that is more natural.

This supplement can actually help with ADHD!

Valerian Root can also have its side effects but in a different way than catnip. Since Valerian Root makes you tired and groggy, it can take a toll on your sex drive. Other than that if this isn’t a problem to you, and you want to reap the health benefits of this herb, this could be something that you could use for yourself.

Some Ways That It Benefits Cats

Weight Loss
If you have a cat that is very overweight and you can’t seem to figure out how to get him to drop those pounds, you could give Valerian Root to your cat and it will encourage them to be more active around the house. It also makes them more adventurous eaters as the root sparks curiosity in cats.

This can be used if you want to treat your cat’s anxiety over getting into a car and driving somewhere that you need to go. Cats do not like travel very much and can freak them out. Giving them this supplement can help with that immensely.

What One Should You Use For Your Cat?
Personally In my opinion either choice is a good choice it just depends on how long you want the effect to last with your cat. You could even grow both of these plants if you wanted to.

If you don’t want to go through all of the trouble of growing and you want to buy either of these, the catnip would probably be the better choice as its more cheaper to get. If you want the longer effects, I would go with the Valerian Root instead.