Why do cats like catnip?
The well-known fact, furry pets are willing to do everything to at least feel the scent of valerian. But there’s another herb that cats love very much – catnip.
The active component of the herbal “drug” is “Nepeta cataria”. The animals can smell it. Some people believe that catnip and cat pheromones are similar to each other and as a result encourage them to mate.
This plant is completely safe for animals. The maximum that can happen to a cat after it has eaten some of this grass is stomach upsets and that is not a fact.
But not all cats have such a reaction to catnip. If your cat doesn’t have the right gene, this sensitivity is inherited, it’s unlikely to be interested in catnip. Kittens from 3 to 6 months don’t pay attention to it at all.
The most important element of a plant is its scent. Catnip smells like a catpiss and has a special aromatic taste, completed with a small hotness. It is the missing thing compared to other Nepeta species.
Catnip acts as a natural energetic (like guarana for humans). The effect of catnip is very unpredictable as the cat becomes frisky or gentlest. Your pet may also roll on the floor, scratching or when it rubs its face against the smell’s source. Or the cat can jump and frolic, running from room to room as if chasing an invisible prey.
Some cats become relaxed and just look into the void. This behavior can be accompanied by active meowing or purring. Catnip has a short duration of action – usually 5 to 15 minutes. The cat will be able to react to it again in about a couple of hours.
What is the purpose of giving catnip to your cat?
People use the property of these magical herbs during training; when they need to get the cat used to a scratching post or for a sleeping place.
It can also be an incentive for physical activity or can help the cat to get relaxed. Whatever the reason, your cat will love the smell.
Catnip is very easy to find or buy. There are different toys that smell (or with herbs inside), essential catnip oils for cats, and sprays (you can sprinkle them on places or your cat’s toys). A kitten needs very little, so it’s not worth buying a lot.
You may be interested in other options such as honeysuckle or valerian. Your vet can advise you if catnip is suitable for your cat or recommend other options.