The Real Truth About Honeysuckle
It has come to our attention that there are many brochures and websites that have published a list of poisonous plants for cats that include "honeysuckle". However, these lists do not cite which species of honeysuckle it is that is harmful to cats.
Upon asking which species of honeysuckle they were referring to, one website we contacted sent back this response, "I think that honeysuckle came from a common name for a type of azalea (rhododendron pericylmenoides), which is toxic, it can cause cardiovascular effect. But, regular honeysuckle (lonicera species) is not toxic, and is considered 'edible.'"
Here are some Kitty Kottage facts about Honeysuckle:
Kitty Kottage uses wood from the lonicera species of honeysuckle. At last point of research, there were over 68 varieties of honeysuckle in this species.
In our research, it is the berries only that are considered "mildly toxic" to humans.
Kitty Kottage only harvests these shrubs in the spring or fall when there are no leaves or berries present. Since only the wood is used in our toys, harvesting at these times makes it easier to keep the honeysuckle wood free of leaves and berries.
We have personally observed dozens of cats scratching on these honeysuckle shrubs even when the berries are present. They don't seem to be attracted to the berries at any time.
Our own cats have lived with the honeysuckle cuttings in our storage facility for 8 years - rubbing, playing, chewing, napping contentedly - with absolutely no side effects.
Kitty Kottage tests every new toy (honeysuckle and catnip) on different cats before releasing it to market.
"It has come to our attention that there is a concern with the safety of using honeysuckle in toys for cats. Our clinic has carried the Kitty Kottage line of honeysuckle toys since early 2001 and to date we have not seen any allergic reactions or poisonings from the toys. We have had no clients voice concerns or worries over these products. The plant part is inside the toy so that there is no ingestion of the plant. Honeysuckle is a very nice alternative to catnip, and it sells very well. A lot of customers return to purchase new toys as their cats love them. We will continue to carry these inexpensive toys that cats love, and continue to offer them as a viable alternative to catnip toys."
Dr. Dell, D.V.M., Animal Ark Pet Clinic, Edmonton, Canada