Is your kitty’s new toy mouse driving her a little loco, or perhaps putting her in a ‘meowlow’ mood? The culprit might be right under her itsy, bitsy, kitty nose, with catnip hiding inside the ‘belly’ of her favourite new plaything. If you’re also as curious as a cat to learn more about the mystery of the hidden catnip stash, read on!
According to PetMD, catnip (Nepeta cataria) is a perennial herb that is a member of the mint family. It can grow to be up to three feet high! The chemical compound to blame for mesmerising cats is called nepetalactone and it’s found in the leaves and stems of this herb.
What happens when cats sniff or chew on catnip?
You might notice that Snowball’s personality has changed from calm and collected to wild and curious, or the other way around. Hey, she might even salivate a bit and do a few tumbles (whoa!). The truth is, catnip has varying effects on each cat.
Cats get a sensory “high” from inhaling the nepetalactone in catnip — whether from a live plant, dried plant material, or in an oil extract.
“If you put catnip on a scratching board, a cat will come along and sniff it, and then they’ll start rubbing their face, then drooling, then rolling in it,” says Jeff Grognet, a veterinarian. “They seem to have a sense of euphoria when they’re doing all this, and then afterwards, calmness. Once they’re finished reacting, and they just sit there, it’s like they’re basically just a little bit buzzed.”
Is catnip dangerous?
No, it’s completely safe for cats. If they eat a lot of it, however, they may vomit and have diarrhoea but will return to their usual playful selves in no time.
How long do the effects of catnip last?
The effect usually lasts about 10 to 15 minutes, at most, without any withdrawal symptoms. Once Whiskers is done with the catnip, he’ll simply walk away and continue to live his best life.
How can I give it to my cat?
- Buy toys which contain catnip
- Grow it in your garden and serve it fresh
- Dry it and sprinkle on toys or on the floor
- In a spray form to spice up old catnip toys and play areas
But for reals now, to catnip or not to catnip?
All cats are unique, and each may respond differently to catnip. Don’t ever do anything that you feel could compromise your cat’s health. If you are still a little unsure about the effects of catnip, consult a qualified vet for complete peace of mind on the matter. We know as a responsible pet parent, you always put your cat’s needs first. It’s the least one could do really as a token of appreciation for the purr-fect cuddles our furry bundles of joy give us 😉.
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