Which leaves do cats eat and why

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There are plants that cats cannot get enough of. BAYERN 1 plant expert Karin Greiner explains what you can plant in your garden to attract cats and which herbs cats don't like at all.

Status: 25.01.2021 | archive

Cat drugs - these are the names of certain herbs that cats love more than anything. The reason for this are the so-called neptalactones. These are substances that are found in a similar form in cat urine and literally drive some cats crazy.

  • Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)
  • Cat's gamander (Teucrium marum)
  • Small catnip (Nepeta fassenii)
  • Catnip, white flowering (Nepeta x fassenii ‘Alba’)
  • Catnip ‘Six Hills Giant’ (Nepeta fassenii)
  • Tatar honeysuckle (Lonicera tatarica)

If you plant these cat herbs in your garden, you should protect them for the first time - for example with a wire mesh - so that no cats can come near them and destroy them again immediately. Once the plants have grown in after a few weeks, it does less harm if cats roll around or nibble off branches, says Greiner.

"By skillfully planting herbs that are effective for cats, cats can be lured away from other parts of the garden."

BAVARIA 1 plant expert Karin Greiner

Catnip belongs to the mint family and, depending on the species and variety, can grow up to one meter tall. From July to September the catnip blooms white or light blue and gives off a slightly lemony odor. Cats, and especially tom cats, are magically attracted to the plant. They rub against the plant and eat its flowers and leaves. The reason is the ingredient actinidin, which female, uncastrated cats also excrete with their urine.

Catnip is just too magical for hangovers and cats.

The plant itself uses its attraction to the animals to spread. Because when cats wallow in the plant, small so-called Klaus fruits get stuck in the fur. These later fall off again, take root in the earth and form new plants. The plant is completely harmless to cats, even if they seem slightly crazy in their presence. On the contrary, the smell increases the animals' instinct to play and move around.

And catnip has another advantage. It drives away mosquitoes in a very natural way. They don't like the essential oil nepetalactone, which is found in catnip, and therefore avoid the plant.

Why do cats eat grass?

Cats need grass to help clear hairballs from their stomachs from time to time. The fiber in the grass helps the animals to choke out the indigestible hairs that they ingest by licking their fur more easily.

In the garden, cats mainly eat grass, in the apartment they also nibble on indoor plants. Some cat owners therefore also give their cat saplings made of wheat, rye, barley, oats or millet to eat or plant perennial, vigorous and easy-care species such as sedge and room bamboo in the apartment.

Cats eat grass to rid their stomachs of hairballs.

Be careful though, advises Greiner: Many species of sedge are very sharp-edged, which can lead to severe cuts in the cat's throat and stomach. If the cat behaves noticeably limp after consumption, no longer eats, sneezes or rubs its nose, you should take it to the vet immediately.

Which plants do cats dislike?

If you don't care about the presence of the neighbor's cat in your garden, then you can plant lavender, peppermint, rue, cranesbill, scented geraniums or the so-called piss-off plant, because cats don't like all of these plants.

To keep cats away from certain beds, you can lay out thorny shoots of blackberries, firethorn, barberry, sloe, gooseberry or ornamental quince, advises the plant expert.

Be careful with green lilies in the apartment. These are often recommended as "cat grass", but the plant stores pollutants from the air. For example, if the plant is in a smoker's household, the green line is full of nicotine. If the cat eats the plant, it ingests the concentrated neurotoxin.