The Story of Honeysuckle

Treat your cats to one of these unusual, naturally scented gifts of nature. You will delight in watching them sniff, lick, drool, flop, roll, hug, rub and play with this unique wood. Honeysuckle will provide your feline friends with years of pleasure. An irresistable and inexpensive treat for your cats; for you, hours of enjoyment watching their antics! Honeysuckle has an effect on approximately 90% of all adult cats; less effective on kittens. If your cat does not appear to be attracted to the scent, just wet the wood to revive the smell - and let the cats enjoy it. To prolong the effect of the Honeysuckle, sand or scrape the exposed inner wood surface as needed. Do not permit your cat to eat the Honeysuckle to prevent choking. ( Most cats do not attempt to chew the wood - we mention this just as a precaution. ) Enjoy !!

Beverly Clements, formerly of Texas A & M states: “As a biochemical researcher I find honeysuckle is very intriguing to study. We have established that it is a definite attractant to cats and in fact, has a wider attraction for the cats than catnip does. It is a special treat for them … they seem to go of in their own little world. Colleagues have never seen anything give that much pleasure to cats and we feel that further research may lead to possible medicinal uses.

THE CAT HOUSE takes pride in bringing only the best quality honeysuckle to market. We start by selecting premium branches and slow drying them for at least a year. We then sort, trim and clean the wood to ensure that we set and maintain the highest standards for our customers and their cats.

We've included an article written by Amy Shojai on the topic of Honeysuckle for your enjoyment.



(Article written by Amy Shojai - August, 1994, “Cats” Magazine)
Reprinted with permission. (

Jingles, a grey and tabby, delicately noses the treat and licks his lips. One sniff has black, lop-eared Butch flopping and rolling in ecstasy. Nineteen-year-old Smokey's eyes droop as she drools and rubs her whiskers against the treat.

No, it's not catnip. These cats are indulging in honeysuckle.

Joanne and Henry Wegiel, owners of THE CAT HOUSE specialty store in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, believe they're the first and only retailers to market honeysuckle for cats. How did they find out about the feline affinity for honeysuckle? The bushes grew in the backyard of the home where Joanne was raised, and the family cats used them as scratching posts.

The strong kitty attraction was discovered when the time came to prune the tree. "It was so comical," Joanne says, laughing. "The cats weren't just clawing it, they were hanging from it." The scent even attracted cats from across the alley and two doors down, and soon there were half-a-dozen cats indulging in a honeysuckle party. "We got a kick out of it," says Joanne. "It was a nice, cheap way to entertain the cats and keep them happy." Over the years, Joanne and Henry have given honeysuckle as Christmas gifts for friends' cats. "It's a treat many people don't know about."

When Joanne and her husband decided to open THE CAT HOUSE it was only natural that they would stock honeysuckle treats. They're sold as slices (cross-sections of the honeysuckle branch) and sticks in various sizes. According to Joanne, the larger sticks make excellent scratching posts. 

Unique Gift Of Nature
Why haven't more people noticed that cats like honeysuckle? It may be that only this particular type of honeysuckle has the right kitty- approved aroma. There are over 25 species of honeysuckle plants – an assortment of vines, bushy shrubs and rangy trees grow throughout the world.

THE CAT HOUSE variety is Lonicera Tatarica, which was first recognized in the mountain regions of Europe. The species has apparently been transplanted, intentionally or otherwise, since it is not native to Western Canada.

Honeysuckle is planted in the Calgary area as a decorative shrub - deep pink or white flowers appear mid-May to early June, followed by red berries. "If you don't prune the bushes, they'll grow as tall as a house with trunks 4 to 5 inches in diameter," Joanne says. "Most people don't let them grow that big because they get scrubby looking."

The Scent of Pleasure!
What is it about honeysuckle that makes cats react? And is it safe? Mike Ellis with the Texas Poison Control for the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston says they've received no reports about adverse reactions. No studies have been done to determine exactly why cats react the way they do. As for safety, Ellis continues, "If you look at general information, the whole Lonicera genus was included in a list of plants that at one time was temporarily considered acceptable for food."

"We've either given away or sold literally tens of thousands of pieces of honeysuckle with no problems," says Joanne. "Honeysuckle simply affects the cat's sense of smell. It gives them extreme pleasure through their olfactory nerves." 

Although honeysuckle wood is extremely hard, Joanne cautions that cats should not be permitted to chew on the slices since there's a slight chance a piece could break off and cause the cat to choke. The sticks are less apt to crack, splinter or sliver than the slices (the bark simply shreds to ribbons); still Joanne is inclined to play it safe. She does not recommend it for cats that like to chew on everything. "However," she continues, "few cats actually chew on honeysuckle. Most prefer to just lick the wood." Wetting the honeysuckle seems to bring out the aroma. Cats "under the influence" tend to become extremely affectionate and loving.     

Kitty Appeal
Do all cats react to honeysuckle? Studies have shown that a catnip reaction is an inherited tendency, with only about two-thirds of cats responding. Although no research has been done on honeysuckle, Joanne thinks more cats react to honeysuckle than catnip. "Over the past three years of talking to all these people, it seems about 90 percent of cats go for honeysuckle."

Constant exposure may decrease the effect, but this varies from cat to cat. One of Joanne's house cats has indulged daily for years. "First thing every morning, Wiley leads us to his 'loving post'," Joanne says, laughing. "He rubs his face against it, then claws at it and hugs it." Other cats seem to need to be "in the mood" for a honeysuckle binge. Joanne's shop cat, Lesley Anne, is exposed to honeysuckle all the time, and she's rather blasé about the whole thing. "But once or twice a week, a customer will put a stick on the counter to buy," Joanne says, "and Lesley Anne will jump up and claim it. The other day I saw her do a face- plant into our basket of samples. Whenever we get fresh cut honeysuckle, she's in the box inhaling it." 

How long does the effect last? "A slice will interest a cat for at least a year; a stick will last several years," Joanne says. "We have a stick that's been out in our yard rain and shine for five years, and it still attracts the neighbours cats."

If you decide to treat your cat to honeysuckle, be warned – some cats may get demanding. "A man traveling through Calgary bought a stick for his bobcat," Joanne recounts. "When he came back the next day and bought four more sticks, I asked if the bobcat liked it, and the man said, "Like it? I couldn't get it away from him!"

Henry and Joanne Wegiel stock over 5,000 feline - related gift items, including honeysuckle, at the The Cat House. Honeysuckle wood as been pre-approved for import by both United States and Canadian departments of agriculture.