Find out why and how cats react to Catnip
Many cat owners have heard of Catnip or may have seen it at a nursery or pet shop, but what are the benefits of catnip for your cat?
Why do cats react to catnip?
Catnip is a perennial herb of the mint family with over 250 species in existence. While some cats seem uninterested in catnip, many cats are very affected by it.
Catnip contains a chemical compound called Nepetalactone, which attracts and affects cats in various ways. Cats inhale the aromatic oils of catnip, that a cat inhales with the special receptor on their nose.
This receptor is linked to the region of the brain that controls behaviour, and mostly has a positive or calming effect on cats.
Cats will commonly sniff, rub, lick and chew catnip, which releases more of the volatile oil and the active mood-modifying compound Nepetalactone. Signs can vary between cats, but frequently catnip induces a state of euphoria or calm.
What happens when my cat has catnip?
Some cats react differently than others when it comes to catnip. Some cats may react to the plant by rolling around, flipping over, and generally being hyperactive, and some won’t be affected at all. This “high” usually lasts between 5-10 minutes. Kittens, however, aren’t sensitive to catnip and some more senior cats may not be interested.
After the hyperactivity wears off, cats often experience a state of calm and relaxation. Catnip can also act as a useful training aid by
- Encouraging the use of the scratching post
- Encouraging active play and exercise to keep them fit and healthy
- Encouraging shy cats in new environments
- Reducing anxiety after the initial state of activity
- Inducing a sedative state for things like car rides or vet visits
Catnip can be a very positive experience for many cats and amuses their owners to see just how they react. And if your cat has tried catnip before, remember that fresh catnip, like from Pet Greens, is more potent than the dried variety.
What else do I need to know about Catnip?
• 10-30% of cats show no effect when exposed to catnip
• Very young kittens and senior cats show little no effect, and may even avoid it
• Some cats appear “intoxicated” or “in ecstasy” and may drool or roll around on the floor. It is believed that this is a similar reaction these cats have when they are exposed to the “feel good” pheromones released during sexual courtship or activity
• Some cats become hyperactive with excessive vocalisation, chasing, and hunting behaviours
• Some cats may display signs of aggression
100% natural, Catnip by Pet Greens does not have any side effects, nor is it harmful or addictive.