Perhaps you have ever witnessed your cat’s behavior when he smells catnip. Many cats rub the plant with their head and body, jump on it, lie down and begin to drool. This response to catnip takes only 10 minutes. But what causes cats to be triggered? And what is catnip?
According to The Humane Society of the United States, the largest American animal rights organization, the most intense experience a cat with catnip can have is the smell of it. Cat smells the stuff and immediately goes crazy. Researchers are not yet sure what the neurological explanation is, but it is thought that the scent of catnip matches pheromones, that cats themselves emit. Your cat responds to the smell with excited and happy behavior. Eating catnip often has the opposite effect, your cat is somewhat sluggish and blissful, it looks a bit high.
Catnip does not have the same effect on all cats. Some animals get excited and show wild behavior when they come into contact with the plant. Other cats behave very relaxed and start to give heads and roll on their backs and other cats do nothing at all.
Without harmful effects
Catnip does not have this effect on kittens, it only occurs when they are old enough to become sexually active. Catnip is not harmful or addictive anyway, so such an ecstatic experience with the plant can do no harm at all. We do not know exactly how the herb actually works, but certain substances in the plant evoke reactions in the brain. This usually lasts for a few minutes. Catnip is indeed harmless, you do not have to worry that your cat gets addicted to it.
Did you know this?
In addition to the catnip herb, there are some more plants that have a strong effect on cats, for example, valerian. Do you have valerian tea at home? There is a good chance that your cat will try to open the kitchen cupboard to get there! Matatabi sticks, originating from an Asian climbing plant, are often used when a cat is scared or stressed: they turn out to be soothing.
In the 60s and 70s, the famous hippie years, catnip was sometimes smoked because it has a very light hallucinating effect on people. But before you start stocking online store Petsho, we have to mention that catnip itself is not strong enough to really experience any effects. In the 60s and 70s, the catnip was also mixed with marijuana, which strengthened the effect.
Using catnip as a reward
Is healthy and rewarding when you give catnip to your beloved pet friend. You can buy catnip in drop form and in spray form. You can drip/spray the catnip on toys or use it for things that you want to make interesting for your cat, like the scratching post.
Small doses only
Cats seem to be able to smell the smallest catnip. You do not have to use the herb in large quantities. As said, catnip has a maximum of 15 minutes of effect, after which the senses are no longer sensitive to the herb for at least a few hours. There is, therefore, no point in using the spray several times in a row. If you have several cats, make sure that each cat has a spot or toy with catnip, to avoid jealousy.
Reaction to catnip
Many cats react positively on catnip. Intense sniffing, giving cups or violently catnip rubbing, rolling, and drooling. Your cat can completely forget about the existing world! This behavior does not have a sexual origin. Not all cats are happy with catnip, some remain stoic. Responding or not responding is genetically determined, it is estimated that 1 in 3 cats miss the gene to detect the smell. Kittens younger than 3 months also have no reaction to catnip. Thus, feel free to test the herb on your cat. You can actually make him very happy.
Safe or not?
Catnip cannot hurt the cat. It is not addictive and non-toxic if the cat eats it. The ‘euphoric’ effect is caused by the substance ‘nepetalactone’. In the bags and toys with catnip that you buy in the pet shop, there are dried leaves and flowers of the plant.
- Catnip really relaxes cats and it makes them feel more comfortable.
- However, remember that it can strengthen the cat’s mood, so an aggressive cat can become more aggressive instead of calmer!
- Store catnip toys as soon as the cat is played out and keep them in a closed jam jar.
- Give your cat a catnip only a few times a week for maximum effect.
- Never put catnip in the litter box, even if your cat is unclean!
- Catnip can vary considerably in quality, which can also affect the reaction of your cat.