If you own a cat, you probably know they go bonkers for catnip!
Catnip (Nepetacataria) is a perennial herb belonging to the mint family, Labiatae. It is also known as catnep, catmint, catrup, catwort, nip, nep, and field balm. The term”catnip” is thought to originate from the fondness that cats show for the plant.
This herb is best known for affecting the behavior and mood of cats who adore this weedy, invasive member of the mint family.
Originally, this plant comes from Europe and Asia, but today it is widespread throughout the world and is cat-bound. It can also be used as a natural repellent for mosquitoes, cockroaches, and termites.
So why do cats like catnip, and more importantly, is it safe?
This Herb has a Stimulating Effect on Cats.
This plant has a number of beneficial properties and is used by many cat owners to correct pets behavior. For example, if your cat is hyperactive, you can give it a catnip to calm it down. The same goes for lazy cats, which become more playful after using the plant.
If your cat has experienced extreme stress, you can use catnip to help it to relax and calm down. Even catmint has a bactericidal effect, it can help reduce stomach cramps in your pets.
This plant attracts sexually mature domestic cats of both sexes, but has no effect on pups and older cats that respond poorly to odor. It also affects castrated cats. 10 percent to 30 percent of the cat population does not respond to catnip at all, at any age.
Cats are usually affected by odor for 5-10 minutes (depending on the cat). The effects then wear off, and are not repeatable for at least 1-2 hours
The active substance in the essential oil of this plant that cats react to is non-petalactone, which affects the receptors of the nose in the cat’s nose, and acts as the cat’s “good feeling” pheromone.
Benefits and Side Effects
The benefits of this plant for your pet are obvious. In particular, it does not cause addiction in the animal, with its help it is easy to correct a cat’s behavior, including relieving stress in difficult situations, such as during flight, car drive, when the cat has to be taken to a vet and in other short-term stress.
The bactericidal properties of mint and the positive effect on the gastrointestinal tract are also widely known.
- Some cats appear “intoxicated” or “in ecstasy” and may drool or roll around on the floor.
- Some cats become hyperactive with excessive vocalization, chasing, and hunting behaviors
- Some cats may display signs of aggression
There is no danger even if he chews and eats parts of the plant. However, it is advisable to avoid contact if the cat is pregnant. Also, it is not recommended to expose pets to catnip daily. Once a week is enough to avoid irritation. When using catnip, the cat needs to be healthy. For cats with sensitive stomachs, the catnip should be placed in a canvas bag.
How to Use
While it’s available in spray form, the more effective choice is the fresh and dry types.
- Dry types. Dried catnip can be safely chewed or ingested by cats, and may be inserted into toys, or simply sprinkled around your cat’s play area in a small amount (e.g. approximately one tbsp, or 0.5 oz).
- Spray types. For a lighter concentration of catnip. Spray can be used to steer your cat towards certain toys or furniture in an effort to keep it away from others.
Some cats react differently than others when it comes to catnip. Some will go crazier than others; some will feel the effects for longer than others; some will become very calm under the influence of catnip; and some won’t be affected at all, especially kittens and older cats.
So your cat can respond in the following ways:
- May react to the plant by rolling around, flipping over, and generally being hyperactive.
- May rub against and chew on catnip to bruise the leaves and stems, which then release more nepetalactone.
- If the catnip is eaten, your cat will again show a different personality, this time a lot more mellow. This is because catnip acts as a sedative when ingested, so your cat may look tired and sleepy.
Catnip in Various Forms
If you want to give your cat a few minutes of ecstasy, you can buy catmint or catnip in various forms as a “gift” to your pet:
- Dried – You can put in a box or on the floor.
- Plant – To release the oil trapped in catnip’s leaves, cats will bite, chew, lick, rub, and roll in it.
- Toys – Contain the scent of catmint.
- Spray – Can be used specifically on the places and objects where your cat may play.
Cat Toys with Catnip
Cats that can resist the smell of mint are rare. They also love every toy that contains mint. Mild intoxication increases interest in the toy and contributes to the activity of the cat. This will keep your cat entertained for hours and will stay fit.
Catmint balls will keep your pet active. They can be played and be wild. Cat hooks with catnip will delight your cat and turn a lazy cat into a great hunter. Your cat will sneak, attack, jump, and run.
Catmint is very easy to grow if you do not want to buy it already. Just plant the seed in a flowerpot and put it in a window where you can get lots of sun. Catmint can be easily grown in gardens and is not as dependent on moisture, as its close relatives.
If you want to plant mint in the garden, leave plenty of space around it as cats might decide to roll in that part of the garden for sure.
After the first flowering, you can trim it slightly to ensure a second flowering. In order to prolong catnip’s shelf life, keep it in a sealed, plastic bag or container when it’s not being enjoyed by your cat.
According to the legend, the cats will find and destroy the seedlings, but those who remain in the same place will not touch. The reason for this behavior is that the characteristic smell of mint is released only when the leaves break or crush. If you want mint to grow successfully, start breeding outside the cat’s reach, at least until it grows.
Side effects of breeding mint in the garden: You could have an adrenaline rush of different cats in your garden in no time.