What does catnip does to cats is one of the most important questions that anyone who knows anything or has ever seen a cat asks.
We have all seen videos of cats going nuts over catnip.
Most of you who are reading this blog post are probably cat owners and I am sure you might have had at least one great laugh over your cat going bonkers over catnip.
We talked about this in a previous post, how cats have adapted to the domestic environment.
But what is fundamentally true in them is their urge to survive and procreate which is common to every specie in the animal kingdom.
With regards to that there is still a lot of wilderness very alive in your cat.
What Does Catnip Do To Cats ?. Is It Safe ?
A big mistake that cat owners make is they try to suppress a cat’s wild nature if they see her exuding it.
Which is a very big mistake. What they indeed need to do is provide an alternate expression to their wild nature.
For example, giving your cat a nice scratching post will allow her to express herself fully.
By stretching on and scratching the scratching post will let her not to take out her wild nature over onto your furniture.
So in this way, little things need to be done in order to provide an alternate expression to her wild nature.
So with regards to the inherent wild nature cat owners often have these question about cat plants.
Because they are concerned that in trying to provide expression to her wild nature what if their cat eats a plant outside that is not safe for her.
And when we talk about cats and plants, the first name that pops up is catnip.
So in this post, we are going to discuss what is catnip and what does catnip do to cats that makes them go bonkers in a very scientific way.
So What Is Catnip ?, And Is Catnip Good For Cats ?
Initially when they hear about catnip and see what catnip does to cats, many people think that catnip might be toxic but the truth is far from it.
Catnip is not at all toxic to cats, on the contrary it can produce interesting and many behavioral changes in your cat in a positive way when used consciously.
Botanical name of catnip is Nepeta Cataria.
Other names by which catnip is known by are cat mint, cat basil or sometimes catwort too.
As far as looks are concerned, the catnip plant is very close to mint or lemon plants.
Its leaves are green with soft tooth edges and it can measure anywhere between 20 cm to 60 centimeters.
Catnip originally is native to Europe but it is also found in wide variety in North America and West Asia.
Catnip is very rich in essential oils.
These particular essential oils found in catnip have an organic construction such that 7 out of 10 cats will react to it.
Is Catnip A Drug For Cats ?, Why Do They React Like That ?.
Reactions induced by catnip ranges from cat first starting to approach the plant to then rubbing against it and finally licking it.
They start behaving very similarly to as if they are high as heavens.
The behavior is often compared to what female cats exude in heat.
But that’s not all, some cats start feeling very happy and jump and run around all over the place .
They will start rolling on the floor and may even start hunting imaginary birds or mice.
When a cat eats eats a catnip it acts as a sedative but when smelled you will see all kinds of reactions that we just discussed.
But the real question is what does catnip do to cats and why do they react like that.
The Narcotic Effect Of Catnip
The sedative and narcotic effect caused by catnip is due to an active substance called nepetalactone.
This substance activates the cells and binds them with a function of stimulating sensory neurons.
The neuronal stimulation causes the experiences that leads cats to react to catnip the way they do.
In addition to seemingly narcotic effects catnip can also induce behavior in cats very similar to feline mating.
Now I know what you are thinking some of you may have cats that do not react to catnip.
Catnip Benefits For Cats
There are a variety of benefits associated with catnip owing to its properties.
It helps enable your cat to play and move which in turn makes your cat agile and active and prevents obesity.
Exposing your cat to catnip also enhances cognition.
This is precisely why you will find a lot of cat toys incorporating catnip in them.
Now you can even find catnip in aerosol cans and sprays.
Exposing your cat to catnip is like an immediate reward treatment that can be used to induce positive behavioral tendencies in your cats.
Such as let’s say your cat is scratching your furniture putting some catnip in and around your cat scratching post will allow your cat to become much more familiar with keeping her scratching to the scratching post.
And using it in small doses will make your cat realize scratching a scratching post is much more worthwhile than scratching your furniture.
- By the way if you are troubled by your cat scratching the furniture check out this 10 day step by step guide to stop your cat from scratching your precious furniture.
Is Catnip Addictive ? And Can It Cause Harm ?
Catnip is not addictive at all and is not toxic to cats.
There is no problem at all if your cat is subjected to catnip with moderation.
However, we also need to understand that everything is good in moderation.
So I have to highlight the keyword moderation here.
Continuously exposing your cat to the narcotic effect of catnip without conscious moderation may result in increasing aggressive behavior in your cat.
They may vomit and have diarrhea, but will return to normal after some time.
Catnip can be intelligently used to manage our cats and the good thing is they love.
But overdoing anything which we think is beneficial and gives immediate rewards can also be dangerous which is true for anything.
Whether it be cats or us.
Hope you enjoyed the post.
I will see you in the next one.
Take care 🙂 and Stay Tuned. 🙂