Catnip is a fragrant herb which lions, tigers, panthers and your domesticated cats love. It is originally from Europe and Asia and is often referred to as Catmint, catwort or field balm. But why do cats love catnip and is it safe for them? What does catnip even do to cats and how does it work? Here is everything you need to know about Catnip.
What does Catnip do to cats?
1 in 2 cats develop a sensitivity to catnip and you will only find out if your cat likes it between the ages of 3 and 6 months. Their response to catnip is purely genetic. The allure for Catnip derives from the oil called nepetalactone.
The blissful feeling that cats get from catnip is short-lived, lasting around 10 minutes. The euphoric feeling cats get is usually translated into playfulness and can also make a cat feel mellow and calm. This is the main reason cats like catnip.
Can Cats eat Catnip?
Catnip is indeed 100% safe for your cat to eat, or play with. The only thing one needs to be concerned about when dealing with catnip is to not give your cat too much or too frequently. But if your cat does make funny reactions to catnip, be sure to capture it on video and share it with us!
Catnip is non-toxic to cats. However, it doesn’t really have any nutritional or health benefits. Does this mean there are no negative side effects to Catnip? Not really. But, the cat’s digestive system is not built for digesting plant proteins. Therefore, some kitties might get diarrhea and vomiting if they consume too much.
Catnip is safe. But is there any real use for it?
There are a number of ways you can use catnip for the benefit of your cat and yourself. It has a positive effect and is used as a training aid as well as a treat. Some of the ways you can use catnip include:
- Rubbing catnip into your cat’s scratching post so they use it more often
- Putting catnip inside cat toys to make cats more playful and conduct exercise
- Catnip can also be used to make a new place more attractive to cats, or to encourage them to meet other cats by giving them a euphoric feeling to associate with this new interaction
- Travelling can also be made more pleasurable for cats by placing it in their crates and inducing a sedative state for the cat to travel in.
Now that we have established that Catnip is good for your cat, there are a few DOs and Don’ts to consider.
- Use catnip as a treat
- Give Catnip in small doses
- Buy products with Catnip instead of buying fresh catnip yourself
- If your cat is aggressive, avoid giving them catnip as it can make them more aggressive
- Don’t administer too much as it can give your cat nausea, or even make them cranky
- Not all cats love catnip, so make sure you know if your cat does