For sure you have seen hilarious videos of cats reacting to catnip, rolling around, meowing, having the time of their lives and wondered: Should I try this on my cat?
First of all, you don’t have to worry about potential side effects as it is a natural herb like mint. It goes by the Latin name Nepeta cataria, and it’s a member of the genus Nepeta (derived from Nepete, the Italian town where catnip was first cultivated). It is 100% safe for your furry one.
But does it work for sure? We collected five facts about catnip to give you a greater insight on the Do’s and Dont’s of catnip:
1. Catnip can make your cat euphoric
Catnip may have your licking, chewing, rolling around on the plant. This reaction lasts for about 5 to 15 minutes and is caused by an essential oil in the plant’s leaves, stems, and seeds called nepetalactone. This oil is believed to mimic a cat’s pheromones and stimulate the part of the cat’s brain that reacts to the pheromones.
2. Only around 70% of cats react to it
Response to catnip is genetically inherited and before buying a lot of cat nip products, make sure if your cat reacts to it.
3. It is best given in small doses
It is estimated that cats can even smell catnip at a ratio of 1:1 billion in the air. Cats senses are sharp and it doesn’t take much to stimulate them. Keep in mind that a little bit goes a long way with catnip.
4. It should not be given to aggressive cats
Cats inhibition control is lowered when they react to catnip and giving catnip to “bully” cats can make them more grumpy and possibly lead to fights with you or other cats.
5. There are different ways to give your cat catnip
If your cat is one of the lucky ones that respond to catnip, you can offer her a wide range of catnip products. It’s a bit of a trial and error process to find the perfect one for your feline companion. You can find catnip dried, as a spray, as a plant and in toys:
Fun Fact: Catnip is also said to have a mild calming effect on people, and folk medicine prescribes a tea made from it as a treatment for migraines, indigestion, insomnia, colic and toothaches. So don’t throw away your catnip plant/ dried catnip if your cat isn’t into it:)