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Honeysuckle: An Alternative to Catnip

About one-third of cats have no reaction to catnip. But some of those cats might respond to honeysuckle and get a similar benefit.

How Does Honeysuckle Work?

There are over 180 species of honeysuckle shrubs and vines, though only one species, Lonicera tartarica or Tartarian Honeysuckle, seems to have an effect on cats. And what a fun effect it can be. Cats who are stimulated by honeysuckle tend to exhibit the same uninhibited playfulness and antics as those who are under the influence of catnip.

Tartarian Honeysuckle contains a chemical that is similar to the active ingredient in catnip. Most likely, it is this substance that puts cats into a delightful temporary altered state.

Which Cats Are Affected By Honeysuckle?

Although there have been no studies on the subject, anecdotes suggest that 30 percent or more of cats respond to honeysuckle, and many of those cats are ones who have no interest in catnip. Some cats are attracted to both.

Is Honeysuckle Safe?

There have been no reports of serious side effects from honeysuckle toys and spray. However, some species of honeysuckle, and possibly the berries from honeysuckle plants, may be toxic to cats. To be safe, only buy honeysuckle products from trusted vendors. Also, for your own safety, note that some cats may be more aggressive than usual when under honeysuckle’s spell, so give those cats some space.

Disclaimer: This website is not intended to replace professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed veterinarian. If you require any veterinary related advice, contact your veterinarian promptly. Information at is exclusively of a general reference nature. Do not disregard veterinary advice or delay treatment as a result of accessing information at this site.