Cats and Catnip - Pisces Pet Emporium

You may be familiar with catnip and its wide-spread use in cat products, but do you know why it’s used in so many products? Catnip affects both the mood and behaviour of cats; it affects all cats differently, while 40% of cats tend to not react at all.

Nepeta cataria, or catnip, is a common herb widely grown around the world. It originates from Africa, Europe, and Asia. It has many uses outside of cats as well, being used in teas, natural bug sprays, and eastern medicine. When it comes to cats, the potent oil Nepetalactone found within the plant’s leaves is what attracts them or temporarily alters their behaviour. A common misconception about catnip is that it has to be eaten by the cat to do anything, but due to an extra scent organ cats have, all they have to do is sniff the object with the catnip in it.

Catnip’s effects vary for our feline friends, causing some to act as if they’re in heat, some to become very relaxed, and others to become playful and active. Sometimes it can unfortunately heighten aggression, and as previously mentioned some cats exhibit no change in behaviour at all. A cat’s response to catnip, or lack thereof, is believed to be linked to dominant traits in their genetics. Another thing to keep in mind is that most kittens won’t react to catnip until six months to one year of age.

While catnip’s active ingredient is a potent oil based on scent over ingestion, there are still some benefits if your cat does enjoy eating it. Catnip has been used in the past for its antidiarrheal properties, so in small amounts it can be beneficial to your cat’s digestive tract. If a cat has too much catnip, it can cause issues such as vomiting and diarrhea. It can also cause dizziness and temporary motor control issues, so just remember less is more!

Catnip is a great enrichment tool in your cat’s life as it helps alleviate boredom and provides mental and physical stimulation. What many people don’t know is that it is a great training tool as well. If your cat tends to scratch furniture instead of their scratching post, you can spray catnip oil on or rub catnip over the post to attract them to it; this also reinforces positive experiences with the scratching post as it is a more stimulating experience than scratching the couch. This is also a positive way to introduce them to new beds, kennels, and other things you may have bought them.

Catnip’s effects speak for themselves. Catnip can be an awesome way to enrich your cat’s life through a multitude of uses. If you have a green thumb, it’s fairly easy to grow, too, so it could potentially add enrichment to both your life and your feline friend’s. If your cat is in the 40% that tend to be un-affected by it, worry not as silver vine exists, and you can read a bit more on that here!       

Related Posts

Why You Should Offer Your Small Animal Varieties of Hay
Why You Should Offer Your Small Animal Varieties of Hay
For many pet parents, the varieties o...
Read More
5 Fun Fall Activities for Your Dog
5 Fun Fall Activities for Your Dog
As the cool weather and beautiful fal...
Read More
Is a Companion Bird the Right Pet for You?
Is a Companion Bird the Right Pet for You?
What exactly is a companion bird? A c...
Read More
Cat