Most of us know that cats go crazy for catnip. It makes them roll around, drool or meow as if they were possessed. But what is catnip and why do cats like it?
We’ll have to go old school Latin first. Catnip is actually “Nepeta cataria”, and is also known as catswort or catmint. This is a family of plants, called the Lamiaceae family. The plant contains “Nepetalactone”, a substance which protects the plant against mosquito’s but also effects cats when they smell or eat it.
Not all cats will go crazy for catnips. Roughly one out of three cats does not respond to catnip. However, two out of three will go totally mental for it.
Picture courtesy of KTVB
The most probable explanation is that the Nepatalactone substance acts as a feline pheromone to cats. Reports show various reactions from cats. Some will become very docile, others very active and it can also cause aggression. Common side-effects of catnip are drooling, meowing, purring and hissing.
It also depends on the amount that is inhaled or consumed. If a cat get to much “catnip”, it can cause anxieties, paranoia and severe aggression. (don’t worry, it will wear out quick!)
Basically its like a (soft)drug to cats. But the effect does not last very long. After about 10 to 15 minutes the effects wear out. After it wears out, it takes about 2 hours until it will effect the cat again.
Catnip is not addictive nor is it dangerous. But cats will seek out the plant if they encounter it in the wild, because the smell attracts them.
Sometimes cat-toys got small doses of catnip inside, or have been sprayed with the substance. This can help if you have an inactive cat that needs stimulation to play.
Its clear that cats love catnip, its safe, fun for cats and fun for us to watch those catnip crazed cats. Catnip rocks!If you like this then you should also check out: