Heard of cat products containing Matatabi (also called Silver Vine) and wondering just exactly what it is?
Matatabi sticks for cats are growing in popularity. Largely because Matatabi has a similar effect on cats as catnip, but it even more potent and affects a higher percentage of the cat population.
Most cat owners have tried using catnip with their kitties. We all like to see our cats rolling around in euphoria, drooling, and acting like they are on a trip – right?
We all know that cats love catnip, well about 50% of cats react to catnip. If your kitty is one of the 50% that seems to pay zero attention to catnip, or if you just want to give your cat a different awesome treat – I recommend reading on and checking out Matatabi sticks for cats.
CatTwig Silver Vine Matatabi Sticks
These are the sticks I’ve been using with my two cats, and they both love them!
My cats react very differently too. Loki spends all her time rubbing her face on the stick, licking it and nibbling it, and won’t give it up for anything.
While Yingers keeps having a bite, then rolling around like she’s a kitten again (although she’s an impressive 18 years old).
It’s like she takes a hit then rolls around letting her imagination run wild or just riding the effects of the sticks. It only lasts a few minutes then she goes off for a sleep, but it’s a lot of fun while it lasts.
They are 100% natural and unprocessed. And the company uses environmentally friendly packaging, so a nice clean product.
What Is Matatabi?
To clear up any confusion over the name, Matatabi is also called silver vine. Silver vine is a plant that grows in the mountainous areas of China and Japan and also has the scientific name (as plants do) of Actinidia polygama.
Matatabi has two ingredients that get cats excited; actinidine and dihydroactinidiolide. The leaves are also used to make tea if you want to sample it yourself, but more importantly to the topic of this article – cat treats are made with silver vine!
Cat treats containing silver vine are a lot more popular in Asia than the Western world, but this is largely due to availability and awareness at this moment in time.
I’ll explain in more detail below, but Matatabi is a more effective stimulant than catnip. So if you’re after catnip for the reasons of stimulating your cat and seeing them rolling around in joy, I’d recommend Matatabi sticks instead.
Matatabi vs Catnip? How Effective Is Silver Vine?
There is an interesting study published in the BioMed Central Veterinary Research (source) comparing the effects of Silver vine, Tatarian honeysuckle, valerian, and catnip on 100 domestic cats.
Almost 80% of the cats responded to Silver vine, aka Matatabi. This was the largest reaction to any of the stimulants used, showing that Matatabi has some serious power.
Around 50% of cats are stimulated by catnip, and most of those are not as enamored by catnip as they are by Silver vine.
Like I’ve already said, I’ve noticed my cats go crazy for Matatabi over catnip and other stimulants. So this study just confirms what I already knew, Silver vine is better than catnip.
Are Matatabi Sticks Safe for Cats?
Silver vine/Matatabi is completely safe for cats, yes. There are a couple of things to be aware of to ensure you’re giving your cat the best possible experience:
Firstly, although cats can’t really overdose, I recommend sticking to a pinch at a time if you’re using powder, or one stick at a time.
Secondly, keep an eye on your cat if you’re using it for the first time. Even though it’s safe, and I’ve never personally heard of any cats having a bad reaction – anything can cause an upset stomach for some cats.
If your cat is sick afterward they might be one of the few that finds Silver vine just doesn’t agree with them. Shouldn’t be anything more than a brief bout of illness, keep the sticks well away in future!
Using Silver Vine Sticks for Dental Hygiene
Cat’s aren’t going to let you stick a toothbrush in their mouths and have a scrub, but they still need to eat certain types of foods to keep their teeth strong and healthy.
Silver vine sticks not only allure cats to nibble on them, but they also give a cat’s teeth a good clean at the same time.
They have a rough texture like a bark with is good at removing plaque and other bits of dirt. Most cats salivate too which munching in the vine which is also good for their teeth while they are chewing.
Should You Try Matatabi/Silver Vine with Your Cat?
It’s up to you, but I think it’s a good idea to try some with your cat as cats that are affected by it clearly love it!
You can try the sticks above, or buy a powder and use it on their favorite toys. It’s inexpensive and easy to use and seeing a cat rolling around purring, face rubbing, and licking it is really cool.
Give it a go and see how your cat reacts. Feel free to share your experience below to help others!