What is Catnip?

 

Date: May 30th, 2013

As you watch your catnip-induced feline swat at imaginary birds, have you ever felt guilty that you may be drugging your cat? Put your fears to rest and read on.

Cat Playing with Catnip Toy

Cats playing with a Kong Refillable Catnip Toy

 

Catnip FAQ

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What is catnip?

Catnip is a perennial herb that belongs to the mint family Nepeta cataria. It is native to Europe, Africa and Asia but grows throughout the United States and North America.

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Why does it make my cat go crazy?

The chemical nepetalactone in catnip triggers a response in the brains of susceptible cats. Each cat's response may be different but most behavioral changes include:

  • Chin and cheek rubbing
  • Head shaking
  • Head rolling
  • Body rubbing

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Some cats have a more dramatic response to catnip that involves jumping or running. Other cats appear to become very sedated.

The behavioral changes last for 5-15 minutes and can't be induced again for an hour or more after initial exposure.

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Does catnip affect all cats?

No, not all cats have a reaction to catnip. Susceptibility to catnip stems from traits that are inherited when born. If your cat has one or more copies of the autosomal dominant gene, then he/she will show behavioral changes.

Susceptibility to catnip begins to develop in kittens that are 6-8 weeks of age and fully develops at approximately 12 weeks old. At this point you will be able to tell if your cat reacts to catnip.

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It is estimated that anywhere from 60-75% of cats have a reaction from catnip. Even tigers and lions can be affected by catnip!

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Can my cat overdose on 'nip?

No! It is neither harmful nor addictive.

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Can I grow catnip in my garden?

Yes! Catnip can easily be grown in your garden for your cat's enjoyment. Watch its progress closely – if not controlled, catnip can take over the garden. This may excite your cat and all other neighborhood cats, but your tomatoes won't approve!

.Cosmic Big Ol' Catnip Sack

Bring out your cat's wild side

Catnip comes in various forms that are available for your cat's enjoyment. Refillable catnip toys are a favorite among felines and their owners.

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Does your cat go crazy for catnip?



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