Uses Of Catnip For Cats
Catnip is famously known for being a cat attractant and you can often find catnip plants being continuously chewed on by our majestic fur friends. Although catnip is known to affect different cats differently, in general, it has a pleasing effect. The most common signs of catnip high in cats are stretching, drooling, and zoning out. The use of catnip, however, can be quite puzzling for new cat parents. So, this article is dedicated to explaining what catnip is, and why your furry munchkin can never have enough of it!
What is catnip?
Catnip, or nepeta cataria, as it is scientifically known, is a plant originating in Asia and Europe, and has been known for the unusual and often hilarious effects it has on cats. Catnip is a greyish-green plant with heart-shaped leaves and contains a fair amount of the chemical nepetalactone.
Catnip belongs to the mint family and generates a chemical called nepetalactone in small bulbs that appear on the leaves and stems. Nepetalactone, when ingested by cats, can activate areas of the feline brain that are responsible for controlling emotions and behaviour. Nepetalactone can result in intense sensory overload, which can have a pleasant effect on cats. Crushing the bulbs on the catnip leaves and stems of the catnip plant releases the nepetalactone contained within. Nepetalactone can be ingested in different ways. Since most cats chew on catnip leaves, the chemical enters their systems orally. In addition, nepetalactone can also trigger a response in cats if it activates the olfactory receptors in the nose when they sniff it, causing a sensory reaction in their brain.
Is catnip good for cats? Yes! Since catnip for cats often has a calming effect. However, the effects of catnip generally wear off within 10 to 15 minutes.
Effect of catnip on cats
Cats usually have a euphoric experience from catnip and one of the well-known catnip uses is to calm felines. Nepetalactone triggers a sensory response in cats, which can cause them to sniff, lick, chew, rub their cheeks, and roll around in catnip leaves.
Under the influence of nepetalactone, our feline friends can feel zoned out, stretching and drooling while it is still in their system. The effect, however, lasts for only 10 to 15 minutes.
In addition to these visible reactions in cats, catnip for cats also causes felines to experience an emotional shift, causing them to feel more relaxed and happier. As nepetalactone affects the areas controlling motor functions too, it can also cause some cats to feel hyperactive.
Catnip does not generate an addictive response in cats, and once the effects wear off, your feline buddy is likely to behave normally again. A cat who has already been under the 'happy high' effects of catnip, might not feel drawn towards it for a couple of hours or more once the influence has worn off.
Is catnip good for cats? Yes! Cats often feel stressed by a change in their environment. Catnip can be used in such situations as an effective measure. It can also be used to soothe them during ailments.
Do all cats react to catnip?
The response to catnip is genetically inherited and hence is not the same for all furry munchkins. Only 60% of cats react to catnip. Additionally, kittens also usually do not react to catnip uses, as the response to catnip for cats does not develop until six months of age.
Catnip has an alternative that can have a similar effect - silvervine! It is a plant akin to catnip and is popularly found in Japan, China, and Russia. Silvervine also produces an edible fruit, with similar effects on cats.
How to give catnip to cats?
Because of the amazing effects of catnip on our favourite furry felines, it has been adopted as a popular training aid for cats and can also be used as a delightful treat. And one of the primary conveniences is that other than growing the plant in your home, commercial-grade catnip is easily available in pet stores as sprays, catnip powder, as well as toys. Catnip sprays are the best alternative to organic catnip as they contain substantial amounts of nepetalactone, which can efficiently create a sedative environment for your stressed-out kitty, helping it to relax.
Catnip good for cats can be easily bought from pet stores. catnip uses include purchasing dry catnip and rubbing on toys and scratching posts to convince your feline friend into active play and exercise. While shifting to a new neighbourhood or visiting the veterinarian, sprinkle some nepetalactone onto their surroundings to alleviate stress and help them relax.
Is catnip safe for cats?
Although cat parents are often concerned if catnip uses can have any adverse effect on their furball, it has been approved to be safe for feline use. Catnip is non-addictive and does not lead to any overdose, so cat parents need not worry if they have given too much catnip to their feline friend.
Rather, the benefits of catnip use for cats are many. It can aid your kitty’s digestion. However, if you are offering catnip to your cat regularly, it is important to make sure the catnip for cats offered are in the right amounts. Although catnip does not cause cats to overdose, it can still interfere with their digestive processes, causing them to fall sick.
Additionally, prolonged use of catnip for cats can cause your furry to grow desensitized towards it, causing their enjoyment of catnip good for cats to decrease.
Do cats enjoy being high on catnip?
Catnip has an amazing, euphoric effect on cats, which makes it irresistible to most of our feline friends. In addition, catnip induces positive reactions such as relaxation and happiness, causing cats to enjoy themselves while being high on catnip.
What happens if you give too much catnip to your cat?
Catnip is non-addictive and its effect lasts for 10 to 15 minutes only. Catnip is also non-lethal and non-toxic, so felines can safely ingest catnip. Excess catnip does not have any ill effects on cats, but it can interfere with their digestion.
Why does catnip make cats crazy?
The catnip plants contain nepetalactone, which is a feline attractant and affects the areas of their brain that control emotions and actions. Ingesting catnip orally, or sniffing nepetalactone activates the receptors, which results in a sensory reaction in the felines.
How often should I give my cat catnip?
Catnip use for cats has several benefits for your furry munchkin. However, if your kitty is new to using catnip toys or catnip for cats, or has never been given catnip before, start by offering small amounts over a set period.
Does catnip calm a stressed cat?
Catnip use for cats includes calming down a stressed cat. Catnip contains nepetalactone, which is known to have a euphoric effect on felines and causes cats to relax. Hence, catnip use for cats is also a stress buster.