Updated: Oct 2, 2019
Have you ever dared to give your cat catnip and wondered what happened to that cute, calm fluff ball? In this article we will explain what catnip is, how to works and the affects it has on your cat.
So what is catnip? Catnip, more formally known as Nepeta Cataria is a plant, in the mint family, which is native to Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia and some parts of China. However you can grow it in your back garden for your own cats. A lot of pet stores also sell it in toys, sprays and ground dried leaves. Catnip is also used as an insect repellent and in herbal teas to help with relaxation. so not just for cats.
How does catnip work then? Catnip is believed to replicates feline pheromones (chemicals produced to make another animal of the same species act in a specific way) similar to that of a female in heat, so females may show signs of being in heat while males might show mating behaviours. The leaves and stem of the plant contain a chemical called nepetalactone which creates a sense of euphoria for cats when inhaled which is said to be similar to a high from marijuana or LSD. When eaten it can have the opposite effect and be more like a sedative. However not all cats are susceptible to the affects of catnip because it is a hereditary so roughly only 70% of cats will have the time of their life while the other 30% will just wonder whats happened to their friends. Kittens also usually will not be affected either, due to not yet being mature.
So you probably have witnessed the affects it has on your cat. Symptoms of a cat on catnip include rolling around on the herb, rubbing their face on it, breathing through their mouth, chewing it and just going crazy. This plant is perfectly safe for cats however if they ingest too much they may get a bit of an upset tummy with a bit of sickness or diarrhoea so if this happens they may need to lay off it for a bit. The affects of catnip usually only last about 10 minutes then the cat becomes immune to it for an hour or so. However if a cat is exposed to catnip too often they can become permanently immune so maybe only give it to them about once a week if you want to keep recording hilarious videos of them to show your friends.
Hopefully you know now what happened to that angel cat of yours when he found that catnip mouse. You could try growing your own at home or getting it in different forms, just remember not to give it too often or they may not be as entertaining. Have fun!