natural calming remedies for cats

Best Natural Calming Remedies For Cats: Calming Herbs and More

Here’s a quick summary of the best natural calming remedies for cats in the form of herbs.

Cats are very sensitive animals that don’t appreciate loud noises or sudden movements. Unfortunately, humans tend to make a little more noise than they’d appreciate!

In fact, anxiety in cats is just as prevalent as it is in humans. So, you definitely don’t want to leave your pet to suffer.

If you want to give your feline friends a sense of relief and peace, try these natural calming remedies for cats.

Catnip

Plenty of cat owners are familiar with catnip and the effects it can have on their pets. In fact, the internet is full of YouTube videos showing seemingly calm cats going crazy after a sniff of the stuff! So, why would you want to give something like this to a cat when you are trying to calm them down?

catnip best herbs to calm cats

Well, the secret is to use this substance to tire your cat out before stressful events like vet visits.

Catnip will undoubtedly give your cat a sudden burst of energy for a while, but it should then leave them too exhausted to exhibit any anxious behavior in a typically stressful situation.

Catnip also contains a compound called nepetalactone, which can help to reduce stress and anxiety in cats. To use catnip for your cat, you can purchase dried catnip and sprinkle it on your cat’s toys or bedding. Alternatively, you can purchase catnip-infused toys or treats, or in our case, a catnip spray. My cats will sit beside their toys expectantly after their dinner, waiting for me to spray their kick toys with catnip. 

One thing to keep in mind is not to use high-strength catnip too often in order to avoid any addictive behaviors.

Is catnip safe for kittens? 

We’ve created an article around this topic and included safety precautions as well as frequently asked questions. You can check it out here: Can Kittens Have Catnip?

Chamomile

This herb has been used by people for centuries to help them relax and even sleep better. The same properties apply to cats. In fact, chamomile is one of the best ways to get your kitty to chill out. Chamomile contains compounds that have a sedative effect, making it an ideal choice for cats that are easily stressed or anxious.

To use chamomile for your cat, you can brew a cup of chamomile tea and let it cool. Then, add a small amount to your cat’s food or water. Or the dried flowers can be added to your cat’s food without them even noticing. Alternatively, you can purchase chamomile supplements specifically formulated for cats. Chamomile is particularly beneficial for cats with anxiety.

Interestingly, chamomile has similar ingredients to some anti-anxiety drugs that humans use. It’s a great natural calming remedy for your pet!

Valerian

The Valerian plant is another herb that has calming properties. It is often used to help humans with anxiety and insomnia, and it can also be beneficial for cats. Valerian contains chemicals that act on the brain to reduce stress and promote relaxation.  This makes it an excellent supplement to help cats cope with anxiety.

Try adding a few drops of valerian oil to your cat’s water bowl once a day. Alternatively, you could mix it into their dry food. You can also purchase valerian root supplements specifically formulated for cats.

Much like catnip, this herb works best if you give it to your cat around 20 minutes before a potentially stressful event.

Silvervine

Silvervine, also known as Actinidia polygama, is a natural herb with extraordinary cat-calming properties. Silvervine causes a feeling of calm bliss and rest in cats. The herb includes a chemical known as nepetalactone, which causes a euphoric response in cats similar to catnip. Silvervine, on the other hand, can affect a wider range of cats, even those who don’t respond to catnip. The aroma of silvervine activates the sensory receptors in a cat’s nose, causing it to roll, purr, and play. Silvervine can help calm cats and relieve tension and anxiety, and improve their overall well-being.

Bach Rescue Remedy

The last herbal natural calming remedy for cats on our list is actually a mixture of different flower essences that is proven to help humans and cats with anxiety.

There’s no need to worry about hidden chemicals or unnatural ingredients because this product has been approved by numerous global standard agencies and it only contains natural ingredients, like flowers. However, make sure you only use the remedy that is specifically designed for cats as the human version often contains small amounts of alcohol.

Which Is The Best Calming Herb For Cats?

natural remedies for cat anxiety

All of the herbs and remedies we’ve listed here are proven to help cats with anxiety. There’s no single best option for everyone because each cat has its own personality and preferences. 

For example, one cat might love the calming effects of chamomile while another may not enjoy it as much.

For this reason, it may be beneficial to try a variety of natural remedies to see which one has the best results. For safe and organic herbs you can use to create your own herb garden with your cats, check out this amazing company Mountain Rose Herbs.

If you’re looking for more specific herbal guidance, Naturally Cats can help.

Potential Risks and Precautions for Using Natural Calming Herbs for Cat Anxiety

It’s important to know what you’re giving your cat. While many herbs are safe, some can be harmful or even toxic in high doses. Essential oils, for example, can be highly concentrated and can be harmful or toxic if used incorrectly. Also, some herbs may interact with medications or worsen pre-existing medical conditions. If you’re not sure, before giving the herb to your cat, check with a veterinarian and carefully follow dosage recommendations to avoid any potential risks.

Where possible use organic herbs, and if they aren’t safe for you, they won’t be safe for your cat. 

An example is rosebuds that have had synthetic perfume added to them. Yes it’s a thing! 

What Are Some Other Natural Remedies to Help Calm your Cat?

If herbs aren’t your cat’s style, here are 6 other natural ways to ease cat anxiety.

1. Provide a Safe Space For Them

Cats naturally feel more comfortable when they have a safe space to retreat to. This could be a room in your house, a cupboard with easy access, a cozy bed or carrier that your cat can snuggle up in, or in some cases the top of the refrigerator! The most important thing to remember is that your cat needs to have access to their safe space at all times, especially when they are feeling anxious. In our house, if there are loud noises, our cats will snuggle into their bed in the cupboard.

2. Use Pheromone Products

Sprays, diffusers, and collars that release pheromones can help soothe your cat and lessen anxiety. When cats feel safe and relaxed, they naturally produce pheromones. These products release pheromones to mimic that effect in synthetic form. In households with multiple cats or when bringing a new cat into the house, pheromone products can be especially helpful.

3. Play Calming Music

Just like it does for us, music can help cats relax. Your cat’s stress levels can be lowered and their level of relaxation increased by playing relaxing music. Search for music specifically created for cats, or play soothing music in the background while you’re at home. 

Music can also be used to cover loud noises. We recently had a pavement construction outside our home and the pounding noise was frightening our girl, so we played louder music to mask the noises. 

4. Cat Massage

Yes we know this may seem weird, but massage can be a great way to help your cat feel less anxious. Try gently (and carefully) massaging your cat’s muscles to help relieve tension and encourage relaxation. Or try a handheld Cat Head Massager for Pets. Begin by petting your cat, then as it grows more at ease, gradually increase the pressure and length of the massage. Your cat will let you know if this is not something they enjoy!

5. Play With Them and Use Interactive Toys

We all know that regular play helps to reduce stress in animals. Interactive toys that require your cat to think and play, such as puzzle feeders or toys that dispense treats, can be really effective. These toys help keep your cat stimulated and reduce boredom. Win-win! One of our cats love the flopping fish (especially when sprayed with some catnip).

6. Establish and Stick To a Routine

Cats love routine, in fact, they thrive on it. Having a set schedule can really help to reduce anxiety. As much as possible, try to feed your cat at the same time every day and have regular playtime. Your cat may feel less anxious and more secure as a result of this.

calm cat sleeping

Final Thoughts: Natural Calming Remedies for Cats

Cat anxiety can result in a lot of unwanted behaviors from your pet, including loud meowing, scratching, and withdrawal.

However, using natural calming herbs or other remedies like the ones we’ve outlined in this guide, can combat these signs of anxiety and help your kitty to feel more relaxed. But talk to your veterinarian before giving your cat any herbs, especially if they are taking any medications as they can interact with each other.

Try out some of these remedies with your furry friend and hopefully you’ll have a much happier feline companion.

Author

Picture of Carla Shaik, Chief Editor and Writer, BSC Animal Behavior and Welfare

Carla Shaik, Chief Editor and Writer, BSC Animal Behavior and Welfare

Our resident animal welfare expert, Carla Shaik has always had a passion for writing and educating the public on topics that really matter, especially cat welfare. Since graduating with a BSC in Animal Behavior and Welfare, Carla has written for a national cat magazine for eight years and more recently branched out into becoming a freelance writer full-time. Carla is an avid cat lover and has owned cats all her life. She couldn’t imagine life without them.