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Cat-Safe Herbs and Grasses

It is important to know which plants are safe for cats and which ones are not. Fortunately, there is a long list of safe grasses and herbs that can provide your cat with plenty of enjoyment. Among them are:

 Catnip: The ubiquitous catnip or Nepeta cataria is well-known for being safe and enjoyable for cats. However, it’s best not to give it to cats who have a history of seizures. Also, young kittens and some adult cats do not respond to catnip, so it may be hit or miss with your particular cat.

 Catmint: A close relative to catnip, Nepeta x faassenii has wonderful lavender or white flowers that will delight both humans and cats. It grows as a bush about a foot high and two to three feet wide.

– Cat thyme: This evergreen perennial, Teucrium marum, is pretty stinky to us, but cats love it. Your cats will enjoy frolicking around this bush. It grows to about one foot in diameter with pink flowers.

– Wheat grass: These are sprouts from wheat, chock full of nutrition for cats. Many cats enjoy grazing on it.

– Oat grass: Like wheat grass, this grass is nutritious and very appealing to cats. It is made from the sprouts of oats, a feline favorite.

– Valerian: Valeriana officinalis is an herb that acts much the same as catnip to cats. It grows three to four feet in height.

– Rye grass: Like oat grass and wheat grass, this grass type tends to win over most cats. It made from the sprouts of rye.

– Lavender: English lavender is sometimes popular with cats and emits a wonderful scent.

– Creeping rosemary: Rosemary prostrates is a popular and hardy rosemary that can withstand a cat pretty well. At maturity, it reaches up to three feet in height.

– Lemon balm: Melissa officinalis is not only a cat favorite, but this herb also makes a wonderful tea and emits a lemon-like fragrance.

Photo at top of page courtesy of Thinkstock

This article originally appeared in the April 2016 issue of Tufts Catnip