Although there are over sixty varieties of honeysuckle, there is only one that contains a chemical similar to catnip. Wood chips or sawdust from the plant are used to make cat toys, and cats may also play with small branches or logs that have had the leaves and bark removed.
For cats who enjoy honeysuckle, you’ll see reactions simliar to catnip and moistening the toys only makes them more appealing.
Just because a cat does not enjoy catnip does not mean they will not enjoy honeysuckle. Just like catnip, it is an inherited trait, but not the same trait. So some cats will only enjoy catnip, some only honeysuckle, some both, and the unlucky few will enjoy neither.
Humans will not notice the scent as much as they do catnip. Cats have a far greater sense of smell than us. Honeysuckle generally lasts longer than catnip, as it is wood and not an herb.
We stumbled onto this cat treat quite by accident. A neighbor offered us logs for our fireplace from an old shrub he was cutting back. We stacked them neatly by the fireplace and were shocked to find them in the morning strung out all over the room with two very relaxed kitties. We took a sample to the local nursery and then did some online research. Those old logs are still very well used, years later.
We suggest you try a small honeysuckle toys and see what happens. At Gatos, we usually have honeysuckle toys and honeysuckle mist in stock. Rarely, we get in honeysuckle logs, and they are snapped up very quickly.
Here’s the botanical information: Lonicera tartarica is a woody shrub, not a vine, that is native to Siberia and Asia and was introduced to California in the 1700’s. It has spread to many parts of the US as an ornamental shrub. It grows about 9 to 12 feet tall and almost as wide.
This is the shrub that got our cats hooked.