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Tartarian honeysuckle tree

What is Tatarian Honeysuckle Wood for Cats?

Also known by the Latin name Lonicera Tatarica, Tatarian honeysuckle is a species of honeysuckle  that is native to parts of central Asia and eastern Russia, although  it is probably better known in North America and Canada where it was introduced as an ornamental plant during the 1800s. It is a multi-stemmed, deciduous shrub growing to 10 feet tall, though according to some sources it can take up to 15 years to reach it's full height.


Whilst there are many different species of Honeysuckle, only one of them, Tatarian honeysuckle, has an effect on cats.

How Does It Work?

Research conducted in 2017 discovered that Tatarian honeysuckle contains a compound called actinidine, which can also be found in other plant materials that attract cats such as silver vine and valerian root. So, it’s likely that it is this compound that causes the uninhibited playful response to the wood. However further research is needed to find out whether there are any other compounds in Tatarian honeysuckle that could be working in combination with actinidine to produce the cats’ positive response.

Click here to read the latest research on how cats respond to different forms of olfactory enrichment, including Tatarian honeysuckle wood. 

How do Cats Respond to Tatarian Honeysuckle Wood?

Cats respond to the wood in a very similar way as they would do to catnip. However, for about 1 out of every 3 cats, catnip has no effect. This is not simply a question of personal preference but is something that is genetically determined!

The good news for these cats and most others is that they will almost certainly enjoy playing with Tatarian honeysuckle. Typical response include sniffing, licking, drooling, hugging, rubbing it on their chins and cheeks, rolling on their back with their legs in the air, or raking the wood with their back legs.  To see these in action visit our gallery!

Can Tatarian Honeysuckle Wood Harm My Cat?

Tatarian honeysuckle is a plant material that makes wonderful natural toys for cats. It is considered safe and not toxic or addictive for cats and humans, and to date no negative side effects or adverse reactions to Tatarian honeysuckle wood have been reported.

The pieces of wood available on this site are sourced from The Cat House Inc. in Canada who, since 1991 have sold tens of thousands of pieces of Tatarian honeysuckle wood as enrichment for cats. The wood is produced from their own trees and they take pride in bringing only the best quality honeysuckle to market.  As a precaution however, we do recommend supervising your cats when they are playing with the wood pieces or with any other small toy.

Can Tatarian Honeysuckle Wood Help Anxious Cats?

Play is a great stress buster, it’s good for the brain, relieves tension and raises mood. For these reasons, Tatarian honeysuckle may be useful for reducing stress in anxious cats and may even help in specific situations such as taking a cat to the vet. Click here to read my article on spotting and resolving the signs of anxiety in your cat.

How Long Does Tatarian Honeysuckle Wood Last?

A slice of Tatarian honeysuckle wood is an inexpensive way to give your feline family member a whole load of fun for at least a year. If it does become a bit jaded, then sanding the wood will freshen it up again.

It’s a good idea to give the wood a wash every now and then to remove all the cat drool and spraying it with water enhances its aroma and makes it more attractive to cats.

Although most cats only lick and don’t chew Tatarian honeysuckle wood, as with any toy, it’s a good idea to supervise cats when they’re playing with it.

When Was Tatarian Honeysuckle Wood First Available as a Cat Toy?

The only downside of Tatarian honeysuckle wood is that it’s very difficult to obtain and has to be imported into the UK from Canada. Because it's so rare the honeysuckle toys on this site might be a little bit more expensive than catnip, but cats have shown that they think it's worth it! To date Honeysuckle Cat Toys is the only retailer and distributor of Tatarian honeysuckle wood in the UK.

The wood has however been sold as enrichment toys for cats in Canada since the early 1990s.

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