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What is Catnip - 5 Facts About What is Catnip.

Updated on December 7, 2010

What is Catnip? Can it Harm Your Cat?

So what is catnip? I can say truthfully say that both of my cats love catnip. With a measured sprinkle on the floor, on their scratching post, a perch, a scratcher or merely anywhere and my 2 cats go nuts. They whirl around on the floor in it, they wriggle about in it, and they wipe their faces in it, they puff and even sneeze and drool in it.

So naturally this got me wondering. What is catnip? Is it a drug? Will my cats turn into catnip junkies? How come they love it so much? Do all cats respond this way?


>>>> What precisely is catnip? Catnip, also called Nepeta cataria, is a member of the mint family. Mint is an herbaceous plant whose leaves, seeds, or blossoms are utilized for seasoning food or in the practice of medicine. Members of the mint family develop green bushy plants. There are approximately 250 varieties of mint and catnip is among them. Catnip leaves and stems are hairy, much like sage. If the catnip leaves are mashed or injured, an fragrant essential oil will be discharged, and it will rapidly appeal to cats, which will eat the injured plant. It's the fragrant essential oil in catnip that has the ability to change our cats into drooling madmen.

>>>> Is catnip more or less a drug? The response in short is nope. As talked about above, catnip is a member of the mint family that ejects an fragrant essential oil that appeals to most cats. As just about all of us know, cats have an exceedingly sensitive sense of smell which allows them to pick up that fragrant aroma. Catnip contains a chemical called nepetalactone which is discharged from the volatile oil. It's this chemical that takes a normally calm cat and turns them into a wild cat briefly.

>>>> Will your cat become a junkie? Again, the response is no. Nearly all cats simply roll around, rub everything in reach and then conk out. A few might run around like they've gone berserk. And some could even begin to growl, yowl or meow. All the same, these half-crazed episodes typically last for 10 minutes or less. It might then take as much as 2 hours before they can be affected again by catnip. Although my 2 cats become aroused when I give them some catnip, they never pester me for it with quivering paws. Therefore, I do not believe that I have 2 little catnip junkies in my home.

>>>> How come they love it so much? Experts are not certain how come cats have such an vivid response to the chemical nepatalactone; yet, they believe that it might mimic certain pheromones that make cats exceedingly joyful. Although it makes an aroused cat when smelled, it could bring about a mellower cat if they eat it.

>>>> Do all cats act like this? It appears like the response is no. Susceptibleness to catnip is genetic and an approximated 50 percent of cats do not react to it at all. So, your cat isn't strange if it doesn't react to catnip. You will not be able to tell if your cat is into catnip till their between 3 and 6 months old. I commonly purchase the dry variety and I've just discovered that it can lose its effectiveness over time. It's suggested that you store it in your fridge. The amusing thing is that neither of my cats reacted to the live plant that I raised from seed over the summer. But the dry stuff drives them wild.

Now that I understand a bit more about catnip, I feel more positive in giving it to my cats. They love it and now I do not need to worry that they'll turn into a couple of crazed catnip addicts


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    • Paulart profile image

      Paulart 6 years ago from 2510 Warren Avenue Cheyenne,Wyoming 82001

      Nice information is given on this hub.

    • imgreencat profile image

      imgreencat 7 years ago

      I have had many cats over the years, some liked and others don't. Go figure. Nice hub.

    • rachel.htpmv profile image

      rachel.htpmv 7 years ago

      Ok, my cats LOVE catnip! They roll around, lick it up, and purr like crazy. All I have to do is unzip the catnip baggie and they come running. It's hilarious. Great hub!