March 2008
The Herb Farm

Herbs for pets (part 2)

by H. T. Farmer

Last month I wrote about some of the herbs cats enjoy. Cat thyme, cat mint and catnip were among those mentioned.

Last week I received an email from a reader who said her cat isn’t fazed by catnip, so I decided to research this a little. If I have missed something in the research then please let me know. Hopefully my good friend Dr. Phillip Hubbard up in Montevallo will read this article and send me some information for next month’s article.

According to what I have read, the fact a cat is attracted to catnip or not is genetic. Cats not lifted by this herb simply lack the catnip gene. In further reading, I found out cats from Australia are more thoroughbred than other cats in the world and do not possess that particular gene. I guess none of my cats are from the Land Down under! They all go crazy over the stuff.

Catnip will not harm your animals, so let them have at it!

Another herb worthy of mention is Valerian (Valeriana officinalis). It seems this herb contains a chemical known as Valerinone, a terpenoid (remember from the Eucalyptus article?) similar in composition to nepetalactone which is found in catnip.

Cats like to nibble and chew on plant materials. Cats love grasses as a dietary supplement. There’s just no substitute for the vitamins and minerals taken in by allowing your cats to eat grasses. Oats, barley, wheat, rye and even flax are some of the favorites for felines. You can order small quantities of any of these or a blend of seeds online or check with your local Quality Co-op.

Plant the seeds in a good potting soil inside a fairly heavy, low-sitting container. Give the seeds some water, sunshine and warmth and in about 2-weeks your cats will be in "Cat Bistro Heaven!"

If you have difficulty finding any of these herbs in your local stores, please email me (farmerht@ and I’ll try to help!

Next month I’ll have even more information on herbs our pets like! Thanks for reading!

As always, check with an expert, such as your doctor, before using this or any other herbal remedy.