Catnip is an intriguing herb that belongs to the mint family. Europeans introduced it to America, where it was used for various human ailments like headaches and fevers. Interestingly, when cats encounter catnip, it often produces a sense of euphoria in them. In this article, we’ll delve into some frequently asked questions about catnip and uncover its effects on our feline friends.
What Effects Does Catnip Have on Cats?
For most cats, exposure to catnip induces excitement. They may become lively, engaging in playful antics and darting around the room. You might notice their eyes dilating as they enjoy their catnip experience. Of course, each cat’s reaction can vary, but many become more vocal and active. However, it’s worth mentioning that a small number of cats may become aggressive when exposed to catnip, so it’s best to give them some space if it’s their first time trying it out.
How Does Catnip Work?
Catnip contains a chemical compound called nepetalactone. When cats sniff or chew on catnip, this compound is drawn up into a special organ at the back of their mouth called the vomeronasal gland. From there, nepetalactone affects the brain, resulting in a stimulating effect on the cat.
Why Use Catnip?
Catnip can serve several useful purposes. If you have a shy cat, using catnip can encourage her to come out of her shell and engage in playtime. You can also revive the interest of a cat that seems to ignore certain toys by using catnip spray on them. Additionally, if you’re trying to get your cat interested in a scratching post, catnip can be a helpful tool. Furthermore, if your cat has experienced a particularly stressful time, a session with catnip can help her relax and blow off some steam.
Is Catnip Addictive to Cats? Is It Safe?
Catnip is not addictive to cats, and apart from the occasional aggressive response, no negative effects have been recorded. However, it’s essential to ensure that the catnip you use is organic to avoid any potential harm from pesticides.
Can You Give Your Cat Catnip Too Often?
If cats are exposed to catnip frequently, they can become desensitized to its effects. To prevent this, it’s recommended to put catnip toys away when your cat is finished playing with them and give catnip to your cat about once a week.
Do All Cats Like Catnip?
Interestingly, not all cats respond to catnip. Kittens under six months of age generally don’t show any changes in behavior when exposed to catnip. Furthermore, approximately one-third of adult cats also do not respond to catnip. Nevertheless, a vast majority of cats do enjoy catnip, including large cats like tigers!
In What Forms Is Catnip Available?
Catnip is available in various forms. It can be purchased in bulk as dried leaves and stems, contained within cat toys, or as a spray. If you choose to give your cat dried catnip leaves and stems, it’s best to crush them slightly between your fingers before offering them. The catnip spray is particularly useful for transforming non-catnip toys into enticing playthings or rejuvenating old toys.
Is There an Alternative for Cats That Don’t Respond to Catnip?
For cats that don’t exhibit a response to catnip, honeysuckle can be a fantastic alternative. In fact, honeysuckle can also be enjoyed by many cats that do respond to catnip. You can try alternating between catnip and honeysuckle to see how your cat reacts to each. To learn more about honeysuckle and its effects on cats, check out “Honeysuckle: When Catnip Doesn’t Create a Crazy Cat.”
Remember, when it comes to engaging and entertaining our feline companions, catnip can be a wonderful tool. It’s a safe and exciting way to add some enjoyment to their lives. So why not give it a try and see how your cat responds? For more information about catnip and other feline-related topics, visit Katten TrimSalon.