Catnip for Your Cat

Cats can go crazy when under the influence of catnip and most of them give signs they are under the influence of a drug. Catnip is an herb within the mint family. It affects felines like your domesticated kitty, as well as panthers, tigers, and lions. Don’t worry about your cat because the herb have been proven non-addicting and appears to be completely harmless. It is found in a variety of cat toys, and many pet parents even make their own toys using the herb because their cats go crazy for it. They can be fun to watch, but you may also be concerned about the effects.


What is Catnip?

Catnip is a perennial herb belonging to the mint family Labiatae or in scientific name, Nepeta cataria. Catnip plant is a weed-like mint that can be found in North America and northern Europe after being introduced from Mediterranean.

Catnip is easy to grow and will conquer your garden in a matter of time if you are not careful. If you are in Europe, the northern United States, or Canada, then it should be easy to find at your local nursery. Some owners said plant the herb in a buried 5-gallon bucket to prevent it from taking over your garden. However, you can do it in a normal way and it will grow just fine.

Why Cats Go Crazy For Them?

Experts have pointed to a chemical called nepetalactone. This chemical can be found in the stems, seed, and leaves of the herb. It takes is a couple of sniffs for a cat to feel totally blissed out. How? One way to put it is that the response to this chemical is mediated through the olfactory system and binds to receptors in the nasal tissue when inhaled. This chemical is thought to mimic the effects of a pheromone to cause a variety of behaviors.

Cats at a matured age will experience intense feelings when they smell the herb. Catnip is thought to mimic feel good pheromones and stimulate receptors within the feline brain that are responsive to these pheromones. You can rest assure because the effects of this chemical are short-lived, as they usually only last roughly 10 minutes.

How Does Cat React?

Some cats can go way above and beyond while others tend to be mellow and sleepy. Your cats end up rolling around, rubbing their faces in a catnip toy, and acting strangely after they smell it. Your cat may even become vocal, hyper, or a bit aggressive and protective over the catnip. But when cats eat it, it may mellow them out instead.

Kitten under 3 months old and senior cats less responsive to catnip. They have to be near sexual maturity for it to have effects. Researchers stated that this is due to genetics as reactions to catnip are hereditary. Some cats are genetically programmed to respond to catnip, and some just don’t care at all. So don’t be weird if one of your cat act normal after sniff the herb.

Can Cat Be Overdose?

The biggest question of all and no. Cats know when they had enough of it, but please be aware if your kitty goes a bit overboard and eats the herb. It may experience vomiting or diarrhea. Cats can be unique in their response to catnip because there are some cats appear to become very mellow after exposure.

Safe to say that the herb is safe and non-toxic. Some cat owners choose to buy organic varieties and some will even grow their own catnip at home so that their cats can enjoy the herb fresh or dried. Whether dried or fresh, the herb is safe but the oils will dissipate quickly. You should store the dried catnip in the freezer to preserve its potency.

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