HomeCat BehaviorcatnipWalter and Jozef get some Valerian teabags

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.

Jozef and Valerian teabags

Poster by Barbara

Cats and Valerian teabags

Poster by Barbara

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).

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Walter and Jozef get some Valerian teabags — 70 Comments

  1. This is exactly how our Sammy is only its with the Whiskas Purrfectly Chicken. It comes in foil pack that Sammy can smell even when they come by mail inside a cardboard box. We tried storing them in cabinets but Sammy knows how to break into cabinets. The only safe place is in the electric dryer. Now all of the cats go flying to the laundry area any time that dryer door is opened. Especially Sammy who gets a pack at night for being so sweet to Henry.

    Got to try the valerian bags 🙂

    • Love you too Dee. Having fun is good because we all have so much serious and sad stuff in our lives. Babz and I can usually manage to cheer each other up and if not, well Walter and Jozef certainly can lol

    • Love you as well Dee, this whole POC site is a little oasis of niceness amongst the big bad internet (well 99.9% nice until Mr P Woody comes along to spoil it)

  2. What a fun article. Thank you cool sisters! Jo and Walt always look so serious. What fun to see their silly side. With giggles to go along with it. I plan to find that tea! Marvin could benefit. I joke that he has a form of Sundowners syndrome, when it gets dark out, he becomes a different cat. It might be fun to chill him out with a “spot of tea”. Maybe he will hang out a bit longer.

    Thank you! Nice way to start my day.

    • Thank you DW! We had a bit of fun with the boys and their teabags I must say, they make us laugh most days I bet Marvin does you too 🙂

  3. I thought the same thing as Dee, that it was nice to hear your voices! When I read what you write on PoC or FB your accents in my head are exactly like mine, so it was eye opening (no ear opening) to actually hear them. I always feel the same when I hear Elisa in a video, because in my head when I read her articles she talks just like me.
    I think Monty is fine with just catnip. He certainly enjoys it. I’m glad I know about this because if I had bought that kind of tea and tried to have a relaxing cup he might have been all over me and I wouldn’t have known why. It’s interesting that there are other things besides catnip that stimulate cats.

    • Yes I suppose we only know each others ‘writing voices’ until we actually hear someone talking. So do you and Elisa live a long way apart? Is the USA like the UK, different dialect for different counties? The Yorkshires are right next door to us yet they talk so differently, as do counties further away, I wonder how it came about that there are so many variations in speech? We think our Essex relatives drawl but they think we talk too quickly. Intruiging!
      But the main thing is that all cat lovers cats meow and purr in the same dialect lol

      • Elisa is near the east coast; I live in the upper Midwest.
        When we were kids my sister and I always laughed about how our cousins talked. They lived in Illinois, just one state to the south of us, but their speech was very different, somewhat similar to how Elisa sounds. I remember thinking that they looked normal, but sounded so weird. Then mom reminded me that if her parents had not moved to Wisconsin when she was four we could very easily have been born in Illinois, grown up there, and talked exactly like our cousins. Wow.

      • To me, y’all do speak very fast, and it took me watching and listening several times to understand.
        The states have become very integrated, but there are still true New Yorkers or deep south southerners (and other areas) that speak very differently.

        • My dad said after I moved to Milwaukee I started speaking faster. Could be. I’ve noticed we drive faster in the city than in small towns. I have difficulty driving in Hartford, WI because I’ll see a car coming and wait for him to pass and then I’m sitting there, sitting there, feeling like a fool, because he actually was traveling a good 10 to 15 mph slower than I’ve come to expect of drivers when I’m trying to pull out in the city.

          The only big change I noticed in speech from people in the Wisconsin Dells area compared to Milwaukee is that in Milwaukee they say “soda” instead of “pop” and a drinking fountain is a bubbler. Being from a tourist town and not wanting to sound like a tourist after moving here I immediately switched to soda and bubbler and never went back.

          I know there are a lot of different words for things in the UK compared to what we say in the US, but do different parts of the UK have different words for the same thing?

          • Yes my friend in Devon ‘picks’ her washing in off the line, we ‘take’ ours in and down South for mother they say mum, we say mam, my friend in Birmingham says mom like you do.

        • OK, I have to ask this… There is something being used widespread that drives me crazy. It is “gone missing”. Does anyone else think this is poor english and redundant?

          • Guilty! I say that for sure. What gets my goat is “twenty four seven” and when people say bored “of” instead of bored with and there for their and threw for through, that’s the thing about the internet, Facebook especially, you see some awful grammar.

            • Around here if you are going to a friend’s house you might say that you are going to stop by. You could even say that you are going to get something at a store next time you are go by there. The reason, according to one of my profs at Concordia, is that many German immigrants settled this area and in German there is a word, probably spelled bie, that actually means you are going to a place. I don’t speak German, and this was twenty some years ago, so I don’t remember exactly, but his point was that sometimes things that aren’t grammatically correct but are common in an area are part of the local dialect for a reason. My grandma would say she was getting her hairs cut. Or she would say, “I need to get them cut.” Again, I think German would use the plural for hair, whereas in English we would just say hair. Word order can be switched around too when people learned a different language prior to learning English. My great grandma would say things like, “I’m going to throw the cow over the fence some hay.” I worked with an elderly German woman in physical therapy who said she was not feeling well because “last night I threw five times up.” I wouldn’t criticize any of those women for poor grammar, nor do I plan on discontinuing my use of the English word “by” in a completely inappropriate context. It’s those little things that make us who we are. I find it sad that so many people want to work with a speech therapist and erase everything from their speech patterns that makes them unique, that helps tell the story of who they are and where their ancestors came from.

              • My friend Melanie just called and I said, without even thinking about what I had just typed, “Do you want to come by for lunch?”

              • Ruth (MM)I like those examples you gave, they sound old fashioned and exact and make me think of Quakers and Amish, I would love to hear someone actually speaking like that, and again your grandma saying she was getting her hairs cut and referring to hair in the plural wasn’t wrong was she, we do get all the hairs on our heads cut and we do say “Oh I have found some grey hairs…”! I’d never criticise anyone speaking like that either, far from it, it’s the guttural grunting nowadays that is awful.

    • A good point Ruth. We read words and get a sense of the person but don’t know the actually voice. Perhaps the sound of a voice is different to the way the words sound if you know what I mean. An accent can invoke stereotypes that are incorrect.

      • Very true, Michael! There are people who pay speech therapists a lot of money to get rid of their accent– sometimes so they can be understood more easily, but often because of the stereotypes associated with a particular accent.

        • Not hardly Dee. It is true – stereotyping is alive and well in this country. Pity, that. My Hispanic roots have seen plenty of it.

          • There was a time (and still) when people would ask me what my heritage was. When I would say Irish and German, they would say, “Oh you must drink a lot and love kielbasa and sauerkraut”.

            • Irish, now there’s an accent I love to hear, I could listen all day I find it mesmerising, I also love reading novels set in Ireland for some of the words used, for instance kids aren’t naughty they’re “bold”

              • I love hearing Welsh people talk and I LOVE choirs and I love Irish novels too and I love PoC, because although it’s about cats, so many other interesting topics come up too. Like accents have today, so we find we cat lovers have a lot more in common than our love of cats and we all ‘chat away’ like comfortable together old friends 🙂

            • LOL. That is such a gross example of stereotyping. But people do it all the time. Some people think I am “posh” when actually I am very basic and down to earth. I much prefer honest “working class” people to any other sort. Although I disagree with the class system.

        • I hate to say it, but when I first heard Elisa’s voice I realized that although she is one of the most intelligent people I know, if I had heard her voice before reading her articles I probably would have subconsciously perceived her as being less intelligent than she is– not that I’d have thought she was stupid, but I guess I do perceive a northern accent as sounding smarter or more educated. I didn’t know that about myself, so I was a little surprised. Maybe it does have to do with the fact that my one Illinois cousin had to attend summer school one summer in the 1970’s because he nearly flunked a grade, so maybe my childhood brain associated the way he talked with failing in school. I know I was never taught that southern people were stupid.

          My father especially doesn’t have a racist or prejudiced bone in his body, one very good thing I can say for him. He was in an all black unit during his time in the army, the only white guy in there. Being in the military together bonds people in ways you can’t truly fathom if you never served. This is true even if you never see combat. So he came out with all these guys as closer than brothers who at first seemed so different from him. He’s expressed a desire to find some of those guys, those who are still living, and get together again. That would be really cool, but sadly about as likely to actually happen as all if us from PoC getting together in person.

  4. Lovely article and pics and video Babz.
    Valerian is as safe for cats as a nice glass of wine or a few chocolates are to us when we feel the need for a bit of a lift. We all need a bit of a treat at times to make us feel good.
    Jozef looks like a pouter pigeon so round, he isn’t actually that plump, he was fluffed up with umbrage at Walt who has been a bit naughty bullying him lately because of the cold wet weather.
    Jo went overboard grabbing the box and made us laugh, so he did it all the more, so funny when he dragged them under him to sit on and protect them.
    People down South say we ‘sing’ our words up here lol Accents are fascinating, Scotland isn’t that much further up than us yet theirs is totally different, I worked with a Scottish vet at one time and had great difficulty understanding her at first.

    • Wow Jo is a very silly boy – I loved the video! He deserves a prize for silliness. My cats get prizes for silliness most every day.

      Jo is a real hogger isn’t he – he was careful to lie down ontop of every single remaining teabag so he had them all 🙂

      • I was thinking Marc, if Gigi is still a bit depressed a valerian teabag now and again might cheer her up. Sometimes our boyz don’t bother for months, then Jo goes up on the kitchen worktop and snouts out the box in the cupboard lol and if he has one Walt wants one too of course. Jo often covers things or sits on them, our cats are a pair of right characters!

        • Jozef sits on Ruth’s foot as well, if anyone comes to the door and she goes to answer or if she is talking to anyone outside he sits on it, it must be how he defends things.

  5. Loved the video. Jozef is quite a character.
    Were those your voices? Such lovely accents. I’m a little southern, so I may sound odd to you. I try to keep some under wraps, but when I’m tired or just lazy it’s “winders” (windows), “I’m going to carry myself to the store”, “tarnation”…
    I don’t really know what Valerian is but I’m guessing that it may be a version of our “sleepy time tea” – no caffiene ofcourse.

    • Hi Dee, yes that’s us in the background, I’d meant to just take some photos of the boys but pressed the video button and we got carried away with it, should have kept quiet really LOL. People say they like our voices and yet to ourselves we sound rough and “pitmatic” so thanks for your compliment. Valerian is, as far as I know, harmless and just another wind down sort of thing much like your sleepy time tea.

      • Yes we have classic Northern accents I think even though our dad’s family came from Yorkshire to County Durham and our mams from Essex, she came up when she married our dad and picked up the local accent but never totally lost her Southern drawl. But we do have a bit of a mixture of North and South words and sayings, both our parents had a quote for every occasion lol

    • Sweet! I’ll have fun turning your comments into southern drawl dialect. I love it. Ya’ll be good now! Same with Ruth and Barbara. I’ll read their stories and comments with their singing voices. I already read Michael with his very propah English.

      • Yes Michael talks propah and very posh we think lol but if we try to talk like that it just makes us sound silly.

  6. O wow I never thought of just buying the tea bags for humans. THANK you for that tip – I want to see if my cats like it or not.

    • Has anyone ever said that Catnip or Valerian is addictive or whether it can cause health problems. I have never see it but it is a drug and it affects the cat’s brain. It is probably too mild.

      I’m being too serious and geriatric aren’t I?

      • I don’t think there’s any recorded problems with cats and valerian, we were told about them by someone trained in pet behaviour so surely she would know they were safe to use, and the boys have enjoyed them without ill effects for a lot of years now. Thanks for getting the video on to the page as well Michael.

    • You could give it a try and see if they enjoy them, I bet they do! You just have to make sure there’s no dangerous bits left on and stay nearby to make sure they don’t get the paper teabag stuck in their mouths, like with any cat toy really they need supervision x

      • Babz, the question I have being a bit cheeky is whether any people you know are tempted to pop one of those bags into a tea cup because Valerian is a very useful mild drug to help a person get to sleep. There are other uses. It would certainly benefit me 😉 I wake up at 4 am!

        • It certainly is useful for dozing off to sleep without a drug stupor to follow. I keep a bottle of capsules on the bed stand for those nights when Bigfoot is so active. (For me, not him!) I tend to wake up fully just to make sure he is okay. Pop a valarian capsule, and off to sleepy land I go. It has an awful smell. I’ve never seen or tasted the tea bags. I will seek them out.

          What a fun article. The cool sisters are pretty cool.

          • I’m happy to know that this is available here. I had never heard of it but will, certainly, find it. Damon needs a little for MY nerves.

        • No Michael I don’t know any humans who’ve tried valerian, I like “proper” tea and drink it by the gallon, Ruth likes proper tea and camomile tea but neither of us have tried the valerian. We could send you Jozef, he wakes up at 4am as well, watch out for a biggish, twitching parcel 😉

          • They sell it in a health shop so it must be good stuff, the shelves have so many various teas it’s confusing lol Do you have a Holland and Barrett in London? The staff are very helpful.

            • Yes, we have a Holland & Barrett. I have a look the next time I am in Kingston, a place where there are lots of shops. Perhaps Charlie and me will share some Valerian 😉 Cosy.

              • That has just reminded me, I thought I saw somewhere on the internet about someone dabbling a valerian teabag in their cat’s drinking water to encourage the cat to drink, can’t find the place now but it could work for cats that need to drink more water.

  7. The video is a good laugh. I though he just fancied a cup of tea before I realised is was about Valerian. It looks like he is obsessed with a good British cuppa and is looking for the best teabag.

    It certainly kept them amused for a while. I used a feed a cat I named Timmy and he was very fond of catnip. He zonked out after about 5-10 mins. Just went to sleep for a while. High as a kite I suppose.

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