What is catnip? Is this a drug for the felines? What does catnip do to cats? If you have the same questions in your mind, then this is the right article for you.
In simple words, the catnip is a herb. Cats are very fond of this. This herb activates the happy receptors in the cat’s brain. And the feline starts to enjoy the moment by rolling, rubbing, flipping, and meowing out. Eventually, the pet zones out.
Are you curious to know more about the catnip? Then dig into the article. You will get to know about the effects and the true sides of the catnip.
What is catnip?
I have mentioned earlier that catnip is a herb, and it is indeed. The scientific name of this plant is Nepeta Cataria. The active chemical ingredient in this catnip is called nepetalactone.
This nepetalactone stays in the microscopic bulbs of the plant. The nepetalactone releases in the air if the bulbs get ruptured. That is why cats chew the seed pods and leave to get more of the chemical. This herb is mostly found at the roadsides of Europe and Asia.
What does catnip look like? Many owners, especially the new ones, wonder about this question. The catnip is a green plant with gray shades. The leaves of this plant are heart-shaped. Both the leaves and the thick stems are covered in fuzzy hairs.
What does catnip do to cats?
Catnip is a wonder herb that has a different effect on different animals. Even you will be surprised to know that the catnip works differently for each cat. It means every cat has his way to react to the catnip.
So, what does catnip do to cats? And if each cat has his own way to deal with catnip, how can we so surely discuss its effect? Well, scientists have observed many cats before and after ingesting catnip. From the statistical data, they came to a point, and that is what I will share with you.
Whenever a cat smells catnip, it behaves similarly to the queen in season or female cat in heat. Even though the nepetalactone activates the sexual factors, they do not respond to those much. Instead, the cats start rubbing the body and head on everything. In most cases, the felines jump and roll in the bowl of catnip.
The cat will continuously roll around, meow in a loud voice, and salivate. The cat suddenly becomes very excited to see his toys and plays with them. The feline will flip around for a period and then will get zoned out. All this time, he will make a meow or growling voice at the same time.
Some cats exhibit different behaviors after consuming or inhaling catnip. They stretch and drool a lot. The felines may kick around and will chew things.
You can ask why the cats do not involve in mating even after taking catnip. Actually, we still do not know the answer. But in maximum cases, the felines do not have sexual contact though the catnip activates the sexual feeling.
How long does catnip last?
You must be curious to know how long the catnip effect lasts. Well, usually, the cat will stay in a happy and weird behavior for 10 minutes. But it will take 30 minutes to 2 hours for the feline to reset its mood. Generally, the cat falls asleep within 1 hour of eating catnip.
Responding to the catnip is in a cat’s heredity. Statistics show that about 70 to 80 percent of cats exhibit the same behavior after eating or smelling catnip.
How does catnip work?
Nepetalactone, the catnip’s volatile oil, attracts and triggers the response of a feline. But how does the catnip work?
Generally, when a cat kicks, smells, chew, or rubs the catnip leaves, the oil gets released. After that, it enters the feline’s nasal tissue and binds to the protein receptors. These receptors stimulate sensory neurons.
Eventually, the neuron cells provoke a response in the olfactory bulb. This bulb projects several brain functions and controls a cat’s hunger and emotion. So, when your cat inhales or eats the catnip, and information flows from the olfactory bulb to the master gland. And the cat starts reacting differently.
Remember, the reaction of a feline who has consumed catnip will differ from the one who has just inhaled the smell. Also, the more the cat will consume or inhale the catnip, the deeper reaction you will get from him.
It might seem that a cat can devour as much catnip you provide. But that is not the case. After a while, the feline will stop consuming or smelling the herb. Even he will completely ignore the catnip for 1 to 2 hours.
How to use catnip for cats
The cat owners use the catnip for various reasons. The main purpose is obviously to encourage cats to play and explore more. But do you know you can use this herb to train your cat?
Yes, that is right. You can place a little catnip in the scratching post to encourage the cat to scratch. However, if the cat is not entering into the carrier, place a little catnip inside to create a positive environment. Moreover, some vets and cat owners use catnips to relax and calm the cat.
Catnips are quite popular, and you will find it in various forms. For example, dried catnips, catnip toys, solid catnip balls, live catnip plant, catnip spray, catnip bubbles, etc. You can use any category but do not overuse the herb on the cat.
Is catnip good for cats?
After reading all these benefits and amazing facts about catnip, you may be thinking either it is safe for the cat or not. There is no evidence that the catnip causes harm to the cats. But yes, limit the use. If the cat consumes a lot of catnip, it will upset his tummy. And he will vomit or suffer from diarrhea.
What does catnip do to cats? I hope you have got your answer. Catnips are safe for your cats as long as he does not consume a lot.