Are Matatabi Sticks Safe For Cats? Find out Why!

As cat owners, we want the best for our feline friends, and ensuring their safety during playtime is paramount. One question that often arises is, “Are matatabi sticks safe for cats?” Luckily, the answer is a resounding yes!

Matatabi sticks have emerged as a popular choice among cat owners due to their natural appeal and stimulating effects on cats. These sticks, derived from the silvervine plant, provide both entertainment and potential health benefits for our beloved pets.

In this article, we will delve into the safety and advantages of matatabi sticks, highlighting why they are an excellent option for your cat’s playtime activities.

Understanding Matatabi Sticks

Matatabi sticks have a fascinating origin rooted in traditional medicine and culture. The silvervine plant, Actinidia polygama, has been used for centuries in Eastern medicine for its various medicinal properties.

In addition to its health benefits, the silvervine plant has been revered for its attractiveness to cats. The dried branches and stems of the silvervine plant are carefully harvested to create matatabi sticks, ensuring that they retain their natural properties.

Matatabi sticks are known for their fibrous texture, light brown color, and distinctive aroma that appeals to cats. The sticks contain actinidine, a compound that triggers a reaction in cats similar to nepetalactone found in catnip. However, matatabi sticks often produce a stronger and more prolonged response compared to catnip, making them an exciting alternative for feline playtime.

Benefits of Matatabi Sticks for Cats

Matatabi sticks offer a range of benefits that contribute to the overall well-being of cats.

  1. Dental Health: Chewing on matatabi sticks offers significant dental health benefits for cats. The fibrous texture of the sticks acts as a natural toothbrush, helping to scrape away tartar buildup on their teeth. Regular interaction with matatabi sticks can contribute to healthier teeth and gums, reducing the risk of dental issues such as gum disease and tooth decay. The mechanical action of chewing also stimulates saliva production, which helps to naturally cleanse the mouth and maintain oral hygiene.

  2. Stress Relief: Cats are known for their sensitive nature, and they can experience stress and anxiety for various reasons. Matatabi sticks contain actinidine, a compound that acts as a natural sedative for cats. When cats interact with the sticks, whether by chewing, rubbing, or playing, the actinidine is released and triggers a calming effect. This can be particularly beneficial for cats that exhibit signs of stress, nervousness, or anxiety. The soothing properties of matatabi sticks create a peaceful environment for your cat, helping to reduce stress levels and promote overall well-being.

  3. Exercise and Stimulation: Cats are natural hunters, and engaging in play that simulates hunting behavior is essential for their physical and mental health. Matatabi sticks serve as a fantastic outlet for cats to channel their hunting instincts. When presented with a matatabi stick, cats will often engage in active play, swatting, pouncing, and batting it around. This dynamic interaction not only provides exercise but also stimulates their agility, coordination, and mental sharpness. It helps them release pent-up energy, reducing the likelihood of destructive behaviors or obesity.

  4. Variety and Enrichment: Cats, like humans, can benefit from a diverse range of experiences and stimuli. Matatabi sticks offer a unique alternative to other cat toys, such as catnip or interactive toys. Some cats may not respond strongly to catnip, or they may become desensitized to its effects over time. In such cases, matatabi sticks can provide a fresh and exciting experience for them.

Silvervine as an Alternative to Catnip

While catnip is a well-known and widely-used herb among cat owners, some cats may not respond to it or may have developed a tolerance over time. This is where matatabi sticks, with their unique composition, come into play. Matatabi sticks offer an alternative to catnip that can elicit a strong response in cats that may have been unresponsive to catnip in the past.

Here is a complete list of benefits of Silvervine when compared to Catnip:

  1. Enhanced Attractiveness: Silvervine is known to have a more potent effect on cats compared to catnip. While catnip affects roughly 50-75% of cats, silvervine has been found to attract an even higher percentage of feline friends (80%+).

  2. Prolonged Response: The effects of silvervine on cats tend to be longer-lasting compared to catnip. While the response to catnip typically lasts for about 10-15 minutes, the effects of silvervine can endure for up to 30 minutes or more.

  3. Variety in Sensory Experience: Just as humans enjoy a variety of scents and flavors, cats also appreciate diverse sensory experiences. Some cats may simply prefer the aroma and taste of silvervine over catnip, making it a preferred choice for their playtime activities. By introducing silvervine as an alternative, you offer cats the opportunity to explore and enjoy different scents and flavors, keeping their playtime fresh, exciting, and captivating.

  4. Appeal to Non-Responders: Some cats simply do not show a strong response to catnip due to genetic factors or individual preferences. Silvervine can be a wonderful solution for these non-responders. Its unique composition and distinct aroma can captivate even the most discerning feline, providing them with a highly enjoyable and stimulating play experience.

Are Matatabi Sticks Safe For Cats?

Introducing Matatabi Sticks to Cats

Introducing matatabi sticks to your cat can be an exciting and rewarding experience. To begin, ensure that your cat is in a calm and comfortable environment. Cats are naturally curious, so simply offering the matatabi stick in their vicinity will often pique their interest.

Allow your cat to approach and investigate the stick at their own pace. They may sniff it, lick it, bat it around, or even roll on it. These playful behaviors indicate that your cat is enjoying the presence of the matatabi stick.

You can also enhance the allure of matatabi sticks by rubbing them on scratching posts or sprinkling powdered matatabi on toys or blankets. This can help to attract your cat’s attention and encourage interaction.

Experiment with different ways of presenting the matatabi sticks to find what resonates most with your feline companion. Each cat has its preferences, and some may prefer to play with the sticks independently, while others may enjoy interactive playtime with their human companion.

Ensuring Safety for Cats when using Matatabi Sticks

Cat owners naturally prioritize the safety of their feline friends, and this extends to the toys they engage with. When it comes to matatabi sticks, you can rest assured that they are safe for cats. Matatabi sticks are natural and non-toxic, derived directly from the silvervine plant. They do not contain any harmful chemicals or additives that could pose a risk to your cat’s health.

However, it is still important to supervise your cat during playtime with matatabi sticks, especially when they are chewing or biting on them. While matatabi sticks are generally safe, there is a small risk of cats ingesting large pieces, which could potentially cause choking or digestive issues. Regularly check the condition of the matatabi stick, and if it becomes worn or frayed, it is advisable to replace it with a new one.

Additionally, it’s crucial to moderate your cat’s playtime with matatabi sticks. While they provide great entertainment and stimulation, excessive use can lead to overstimulation in some cats. Pay attention to your cat’s behavior and ensure they have a balanced play routine that includes other toys and activities. This will help prevent over-reliance on matatabi sticks and maintain a healthy playtime balance for your cat.

Proper storage of matatabi sticks is also important to maintain their freshness and effectiveness. Store the sticks in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight or moisture. This will help preserve their aroma and appeal, ensuring that they continue to entice and engage your cat.


In conclusion, matatabi sticks offer a safe and enjoyable toy option for cats, promoting both their physical and mental well-being. With their dental health benefits, stress-relieving properties, and stimulation of exercise and play, matatabi sticks provide a holistic approach to feline entertainment. They serve as a valuable alternative to catnip, offering cats a fresh and engaging experience.

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