Chances are you know that some cats just don't care for catnip – whether by reading or personal experience. You might also know that Silver Vine is a really effective alternative. A while back, we put together an article describing how to make catnip spray. Though the preparation is similar, there are a few variations that you need to know if you want to make your own Silver Vine spray.
What Exactly is Silver Vine?
Actinidia polygama, better known as Silver Vine or Matatabi, is a climbing deciduous vine that mostly grows in mountainous portions of Japan and China. This pretty little plant is made up of woody vines, silvery leaves, and petite yellow-red fruits. The fruits, vine, and galls are all used to create cat toys, with each portion containing a different amount of the two main intoxicating chemical components, actinidine and dihydroactinidiolide. If you're interested in learning more about this plant and how it works, check out this article.
Why Should I Use Silver Vine?
Why do people use catnip? There are a ton of reasons – they like watching their fuzzy little buddies go crazy, they need to reign in some behavioral issues or encourage more physical activity, or they have to methodically calm their kitty before a big event – say, a move or a vet visit. But here's the deal... catnip truly does not work for every feline. In order to have a response to the stuff, a cat has to have a specific inherited gene, and something like 30% to 50% of kitties simply do not have it. There are a few other variables, too, of course. For example, your kitten may simply be too young to be able to catch a buzz, or the catnip itself might be weak. But if you've tried a handful of times, and you're simply not getting anywhere, then there's a good chance it's a matter of genes.
So if your cat is lacking that all-important chemical makeup, but you want a little bit of extra fun for him, then Silver Vine could potentially be the answer. Not only does it bypass that whole genetic deal, it is also said to be significantly stronger than catnip and more desirable than other alternatives, like Valerian.
What Are the Uses of Silver Vine Spray?
Silver Vine spray has a variety of applications. One of its most common uses is as a simple toy enhancer. In this case, just spray your silver vine on his favorite plaything, sit back, and watch things unfold. The spray can also be utilized as something of an attractant. If there are toys your kitty simply ignores, spritzing it with a bit of Silver Vine might just make it more attractive. In the same vein, if you want to deter your cat from something – for example, your fabulous couch – while also attracting him to something a little more appropriate, like a scratching post, a quick splash of this intoxicating solution may just do the trick.
How to Make Silver Vine Spray
In order to make catnip spray, you perform a simple brew, strain, and “serve.” For Silver Vine, the method will be a little different, and will depend on what part of the plant you're using.
Preparation for Dried Vines
Because the dried vines tend to have a more woody consistency, they will require an infusion. This method is simple, but a little time consuming.
What You'll Need
- Water, about 2 and ½ cups
- Silver Vine sticks, one
- A teapot or cooking pot for boiling water
- Heat-safe jar
- Spray bottle
- Put your water on to boil. Make sure that it comes to a full boil, and let it sit there for around 3 minutes to help kill off any germs that may be lurking in the water.
- Place one Silver Vine stick in your heat resistant jar, and put the jar on top of a thick towel or pot holder.
- Pour boiling water over your stick, then carefully screw the lid into place. Be sure to wear oven mitts or protect your hands with thick towels when you do this step, as the jar – and the lid – are going to get really hot, really quick.
- Let your infusion steep for around 8 hours. You can steep for a little longer for an even stronger concoction; however, I would stick with the 8 hours for your first batch, then play around with it later if need be.
- Once your infusion has thoroughly steeped and the water is nice and cool, pour some of it into a spray bottle. Keep the spray bottle, and any remaining infusion, in the refrigerator.
Preparation for Fruit
Unlike the vines themselves, Silver Vine fruits are quite a bit looser – sometimes even pulverized – and require less of a time investment. They are, however, strong, and measurements can be a bit tricky.
What You'll Need
- Water, about 1 and ½ cups
- Ground or powdered Silver Vine fruit, just a pinch
- Infuser or coffee filters
- Fine-meshed strainer, cheesecloth, or slotted spoon
- Heat-safe jars, 2
- Spray bottle
- Heat water until it reaches a rolling boil, allowing it to boil for an additional 3 minutes after it starts to roll.
- In one jar, place one small pinch of Silver Vine. If you're using the ground version, it may only equal to a few small pieces of the plant. If you're using powdered, it will end up being less than a ¼ teaspoon. Start with a small amount, then play with the ratios a bit once you know where you are with this baseline.
- Cover plant material with your boiling water. Let it steep, uncovered, for about 15 minutes.
- Strain your tea into the second jar, making sure that very little plant remains in the water as these pieces can clog up your spray nozzle.
- Let your tea cool to room temperature.
- Once everything is nice and cool, funnel your Silver Vine into a spray bottle. There may be some left over. Just put it in the refrigerator and replenish your spray bottle as needed.
As you can see, Silver Vine spray has a lot of benefits, and really isn't all that difficult to make. All you need is a little patience and a few kitchen gadgets, and you and your kitty can be enjoying that “buzz” for years to come!
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