Ailurophiles (cat lovers) usually know about the irresistibility of catnip to a cat. If you’re a new cat owner, you will probably come across the best catty antics when you handover a ball or a toy full of catnip to your beloved pet. The leaves and flowers of the catnip plant are dried and ground into tiny bits or powder and added to the toys that are designed for cats.
What Is Catnip?
It is a flower with a pungent smell and is a member of the mint variety of plants. The catnip is a flowery plant with sturdy stems and heart-shaped leaves. The flowers from this plant can be white, pink, purple or blue.
Why Does My Cat Like It So Much?
It is because of nepetalactone oil that is found in the leaves and stems of this plant. The nepetalactone tends to stimulate special chemical receptors also known as pheromones which give a sense of intense enjoyment and happiness to your feline pet. This is also probably the reason, why your cat displays a sudden euphoria by licking, pawing, rolling, and rubbing objects that contain the catnip. The sharp intensity of the catnip scents may wear off after some time, and your cat will soon get back to being calm and quiet.
One way to test whether your cat adores catnip or not is to give catnip scented toys or the fresh leaves, flowers if you have some and observe the reaction. If you get strong reactions like purring, growling, meowing, drooling, and notice a hyperactive behavior then it is a clear indicator that your cat loves catnip.
The kittens or the older felines may not be so enamored of the catnip unlike their younger and the middle-aged counterparts. Research has also revealed that most cats react to catnip the way they do because of hereditary tendencies.
Is Catnip Safe?
Yes, it is completely safe, though an excess consumption could cause mild diarrhea and vomiting in your feline pet. Moderation is the key. Catnip makes for a good occasional treat and could make your cat very happy and excited. If you cannot find fresh catnip, dried ones are available in most pet stores. After using, you can always make use of a good pet vacuum cleaner to clean any catnip residues away.
What Can You Use Catnip For?
These flowery plants are used to engage bored cats and get them all excited and happy. Apart from this basic use, the nepetalactone chemical found in these plants are effective insect repellents but tend to lose their repellent properties very quickly. They can be used to drive away flies, cockroaches, mosquitoes, termites etc., however, the chemical loses its effectiveness when applied to the human skin. It has medicinal properties and has been used as mild sedatives for both cats and humans alike.
A Catnip A Day Keeps Your Cat At Bay!
Hey, if you’re all set to cheer your cat and get him/her excited, catnip’s the way. Indulge your cat with this treat occasionally and enjoy his/ her fun and frolic. Catnip is easily available nowadays. You can try growing them to have a perennial supply. Have fun watching your cat’s excitement with the catnip.
This post was contributed by Pete Decker, the Lead Editor at The Goody Pet. Pete loves to share his passion for pets through snippets of interesting and helpful information. You can find more of Pete at his website, Twitter or Facebook.