Valerian is often used by people to help them to relax and reduce tension and anxiety and to sleep at night, but give a cat a hint of the dried root of this aromatic herb (NB NOT Valerian root oil which can be toxic to cats) and he is likely to go crazy for it. It’s said that around 70 – 80% of cats respond to catnip, valerian probably provides the same pleasure in an equal or larger percentage of cats.
Walter and Jozef love Valerian teabags, they’ve had a box of 10 every 3-4 months since 2003 when the behavioral specialist who was supposed to cure Walter of his anxiety issues recommended them to “calm him down”, far from calming them down though valerian makes cats happy and playful and even quite thuggish at times, anything goes when the teabags come out of the cupboard, and they know exactly which cupboard they are kept in.
Today we bought a fresh new pungent box of Dr Stuarts Valerian Plus teabags at the health shop while we were out shopping, when we came back both Walter and Jozef were waiting for us just as we’d left them, Walter in his new armchair and Jozef on his new settee, but we hadn’t even started to unpack our bags when first one then the other of them began to follow the scent of valerian to Ruth’s bag in the kitchen so we had to abandon everything else and open the box and get the camera out. They are supposed to have one each per playtime and so they did to start with, each one playing nicely with his own teabag and minding his own business, but then Jozef tackled the box and got them all out.
Things got a bit ugly quite quickly after that because Jozef didn’t want Walter to have any of them so he stared fixedly at him until he slunk away from them and then sat guard over them looking at Walter as though he was going to jump on him. It’s not often Jozef turns on Walter, and to be fair he does put up with a lot from him, but once he does turn Walter is terrified of him and backs down quickly.
In the end we had to distract them both and pick up the teabags, all bar the ones they’d been playing with at first which were by that time reduced to soggy bits of paper, because it looked like war was about to break out and all good manners forgotten. So the teabags are put away until another day and both boys are now happy again in their afternoon places, Jo in the cats chair and Walter in my computer chair, sleeping off the effects of their fix. Happy days are made of such as this.
(Note if anyone buys teabags for their cat please remove the string that is meant for dangling the teabag in a cup and the staple that closes the teabag before giving it to your cat as these could cause harm your cat if swallowed).