My name is Clare Hemington and I’ve been working in the field of cat behaviour for sixteen years, ten of those as an accredited Cat Behaviourist for with the COAPE Association of Behaviourists and Trainers International and the International Companion animal Network.
As part of my cat behaviour work I'm always on the lookout for ways to enrich the lives of our family felines. I'd been recommending catnip and valerian toys to my clients for years, as well as buying them for my cat (and CEO) Billy in the vain hope that he would get some benefit from them. However, he has indicated very clearly that he's not a fan. In fact, whether or not a cat responds to catnip is genetically determined.
So, I started to think there must be some alternative natural enrichment that I could offer to those cats for whom catnip and valerian just don't do it.
In 2018 I happened across some interesting research which showed that cats can also respond very well to the wood from the Tatarian honeysuckle shrub.
A Natural Cat Toy
I found out that Tatarian honeysuckle wood has been sold specifically as a cat toy in Canada and the USA for over 25 years, but it's availability in the UK was limited to just one or two pet suppliers in the form of toys containing ground honeysuckle wood.
So, I decided to run my own trial using slices of the wood. I got in touch with one of only two suppliers in the world who kindly donated me some of her wood. The results were amazing. Not only did all the cats in my trial group respond very positively, but my sample slices have subsequently been drooled on and 'caressed' by every cat that I've introduced them to.
I was determined to try and spread the word about this wonderful and natural source of cat fun, so I set up Honeysuckle Cat Toys, a small business offering slices of natural Tatarian honeysuckle wood and soft toys made using ground Tatarian honeysuckle wood. All the wood I sell on my site is harvested from honeysuckle trees in Alberta Canada.
Since first introducing them to the UK, the toys have twice been awarded ‘Best Cat Toy’ in the annual Your Cat Magazine Product Awards.
I also love encouraging cat owners to learn as much as possible about cat behaviour as possible as a way of helping them give their cats the best life possible. So please do visit my Curious Cat Blog where you may just find the answer to your cat conundrum! I also write for Your Cat Magazine and am a published author of The Hairy Tails of a Cat Sitter.