F.A.Q.sQ: What is Silvervine?
Silvervine, (Actinidia polygama) is a deciduous climbing vine grown in the high mountainous regions of eastern Asia. It produces clusters of fragrant, creamy white 1 ½ inch flowers which bloom in the summer and bears a fruit similar to kiwi. Silvervine gets its name from its long, dark green 6 inch leaves with silver tips.
Silvervine has been used for centuries in Asia as a preventative health aid. It is very popular in Japan and China as a cat stimulant when ground into a powder. This is because Silvervine contains not one, but two cat attractant compounds. Silvervine is also an aromatic having a distinctive sweet tea-like fragrance which attracts cats.
Q: How will Silvervine affect my cat?
Silvervine has long been known to elicit euphoric responses in cats. Typical behaviors may include rolling, chin and cheek rubbing, meowing, drooling and licking. Some cats will become very active and frolic around behaving like kittens, where others may relax into silly positions as if in a dream like state. These effects usually last between 5 and 30 minutes.
Q: Is Silvervine safe for my cat?
Silvervine powder is a natural alternative to catnip. It can be sprinkled on your cat’s favorite toy, or infused in the toy itself. It should not be added to their food or edible treats.
Q: Why is Silvervine better than catnip?
Silvervine contains two cat attractants, which makes Silvervine more potent than catnip. In a study designed by Dr. Mark Mitchell, of the University of Illinois, Silvervine and catnip were compared side by side, using a cardboard “cat scratcher”. One had Silvervine sprinkled on it, while the other had catnip. The cats showed a preference to Silvervine both in terms of initial attraction, behavior and time spent at the cat scratcher.
Q: Why should I use Silvervine?
Silvervine is a fun, exciting alternative to catnip which provides environmental enrichment for your cat. Some cats either do not react to catnip, or have grown bored with it. Silvervine creates a reaction both cat and cat parent will love!
Q: How do I use Silvervine?
Silvervine comes in numerous forms, including dried sticks made from the vine, seeds, chopped leaves and flowers, and in a powered form. Depending on the form, Silvervine can be put in sachets or inside fabric toys. It can also be sprinkled on the outside of “fuzzy” toys or on scratching posts to help encourage proper scratching and claw exercise. It should not be used on foods or treats as this may interrupt the normal eating behavior/pattern.
Q: How much Silvervine do I give my cat’s toys or scratch pads?
The optimal amount of Silvervine to use is approximately a half of a gram (0.5 g) and can be sprinkled onto your cat’s favorite toy. Just a dash will do it!
Q. How often can I use Silvervine?
Silvervine can be used daily as environmental enrichment and to stimulate exercise and play. Silvervine is not harmful to your cat. They won’t overdose on it. In general, as with catnip, cats know when they’ve had enough and will lose interest.
Q: Can all cats use Silvervine?
All cats can use Silvervine; however, similar to catnip, each cat will have a different range of reactions. Kittens (less than 8 months old) and pregnant females may not have any reaction to Silvervine.
Zhao Yun-peng, Wang Xiao-yun, Wang Zhi-can, Lu Yin, FU Cheng-xin, Chen Shao-yuan. Essential oil of Actinidia macrosperma, a catnip response kiwi endemic to China J. Zhejiang Univ. Science B 2006 7(9):708-712
Hartwell, S. (n.d.). Catnip, Valerian, Honeysuckle and other cat-attractant plants. . Retrieved January 1, 2014, from http://messybeast.com/catnip-valerian.html