Catnip is indeed an unusual phenomenon among cats, it has the ability to alter your cat’s behavior like nothing else can.
Unfortunately for such curious minds the specific reason of why Catnip affects cats in this manner remains mostly a mystery. There is however much that we do understand about Catnip and cats even when we do not have the ultimate response of precisely”why?” yet answered.
The Science Materials
Catnip is scientifically classified as Nepeta cataria and is a perennial herb in the mint family and is actually also known as”Catmint”. It’s a plant native to Europe but has been exported and is now found around including the USA and Canada.
The active ingredient in Catnip is an oil; Nepetalactone, which can be found in the leaves of this plant. This is the reason you have the ability to locate Catnip in a jar or spray form in some pet stores.
Other Programs For Catnip
Catnip is not only good to stimulate activity in cats, it can also be used by humans as an herb for a medicinal tea that might soothe toothaches, help against coughs, and might also function as a sleep aid. Lately Catnip has also been garnering favor as a natural insect repellant rivaling the potency of many store bought varieties of repellant.
Catnip and Kitty
Catnip affects approximately half of all cats. What determines whether a cat will respond to Catnip is a genome that’s inherited (or not inherited as the case may be) at birth. Kittens, no matter whether they carry this genome, don’t react to Catnip until reaching about three or four months of age and becoming sexually mature. Further adding to this belief is that the similarity of a sexual pheromone found in the urine of the male cat to nepetalactone (the active product in Catnip).
Cats that may be traced to regions where Catnip isn’t native seem to be unaffected by Catnip. The domesticated housecat is not the only cat that may be affected by Catnip. Larger cats may also be impacted by the Catnip effect, felines like the bobcat, lynx, tiger and even lion are known to respond much the same manner the common housecat would. It is interesting to note that while Catnip can act as a stimulant when a cat sniffs it, it can conversely act as a relaxant when ingested. Therefore, you may see another, nearly opposite result depending on whether your cat chooses to consume the Catnip you supply for him/her or simply sniffs it (the latter being the more typical behaviour ).
Catnip can prove to be a very useful tool for a couple of common issues with your cat. If you’re lucky enough to have a cat which does react favorably to Catnip then here are a couple of ideas for you and your furry little friend.
Catnip and Lazy Cats:
Catnip can be used to find a lazy cat off his or her butt. Some cats are notoriously lazy, opting to sleep much of their day away in a wonderful golden patch of sun on the living room rug, only waking to eat and gather some necessary attention from their indulgent owners. If this sounds like your cat, you may soon see (if you have not already) that your cat is becoming more and more round. This is generally not a good thing. Catnip may be able to assist. Presenting catnip to your cat promotes activity (obviously provided the cat sniffs instead of ringing the herb).
Many adult cats will react to Catnip in a fashion that resembles their childlike kitty Behavior, jumping, playing and running around as if it had been given an injection of kitty adrenaline, which in essence, is the situation. The impact of Catnip on a cat can last somewhere between two and fifteen minutes. If the latter is true, then this is an adequate amount of exercise and will help maintain your cat a bit more svelte than without a Catnip therapy. Furthermore, if you leave the Catnip out for a few hours then your cat may come back to the herb after (an hour or two after the effect has worn off) and react in an energetic fashion. So in this sense you may consider Catnip kind of like a kitty energy beverage.
Catnip and Cats That Scratch Furniture:
If you have a cat that appears bent on the destruction of your furniture then Catnip may again be able to come to the rescue. Cats can be frustratingly picky about just about anything under the sun including where they would like to sharpen their furniture destroying claws. It’s not unusual for a cat to damage or destroy a piece of furniture simply because the owners finally gave up on trying to redirect their cat to the unused cat scratching post that set them back anywhere around a hundred dollars and more. A fantastic way to try to alter this frustrating and costly behaviour is to rub some Catnip or Catnip oil on a scratching post that you are attempting to get the cat to use. Introduce your cat to the newly”Catnipped” scratching post and find out how he/she reacts. If all goes well, your kitty will sniff and inspect the article and begin clawing at it. After a few times (you might need to re-Catnip the article ) hopefully kitty will be trained to utilize the post rather than the sofa.
Using Catnip with Many Cats
If you’ve never used Catnip earlier and you have more than 1 cat it’s advisable to check it out separately on each cat before introducing it to all your cats at exactly the exact same time. The main reason is because Catnip affects some cats in a negative way causing the cat in question to become competitive instead of merely playful. Introducing it to your cats individually lets you control the situation and maintain a cat that may react aggressively isolated from the other cats. This naturally means avoiding a possible catfight that could lead to broken furniture, hurt kitties (possibly requiring a vet visit), annoyed neighbors (and probably owners), or a combination of all the above.
Growing and Maintaining Catnip
Growing your own Catnip can be rewarding as it can save you money, give you the satisfaction of doing something yourself and ensuring that you always find fresh, high-quality Catnip for your furry friend. A word of warning however; the exact kitty reaction you want to grow your own Catnip is something to be wary of. If you plan on growing your Catnip from doors and other cats can access your Catnip garden then be ready for undesirable feline visitors. This might not be a problem for you personally, but cats are by nature territorial and if you’ve got a cat that lives alone without the company of other cats this could prove to be an area of stress for your cat. Even if you keep your cat inside at all times, your cat may get agitated if he/she looks out the window to see another cat frolicking in land your cat considers his or her own. If you choose to cultivate your Catnip indoors, take care to keep it out of reach of kitty. Otherwise you will probably have Fluffy jumping up on furniture even to the most out of the way place to find access to the herb that is tempting. Cats are great jumpers and not known for respecting precious household knick-knacks. So in case you do decide to grow it indoors to get a cat that reacts to Catnip, take care to grow it into a place that your cat won’t be able to get it. A room that you always keep closed into the cat is probably the ideal solution for indoor grown Catnip.
If you do find that your cat reacts positively to Catnip you should be sure to use it sparingly so as not to dull the effect that can be the result of overexposure. A good guideline is to not treat your kitty more than once a week on average to Catnip.
Given all of the positive effects that Catnip might have in your cat you owe it to yourself (and obviously your fluffy little ball of affection) to see how he/she reacts to this strange and famous herb. It will provide enjoyment and exercise for your cat and probably a fun show for yourself too. It is a win win situation.