What Does Catnip Do To Cats?

August 05, 2020

What Does Catnip Do To Cats?

Try offering a sniff of catnip to your feline pet and watch your cat transform into a hyperactive mode!

Sounds unbelievable? Catnips have become essentially popular for inducing euphoria in cats. Scientifically, Catnip orNepeta Cataria is a herb that belongs to the mint family Lamiaceae. The compound that plays a major role in the ‘Catnip Effect’ in domestic cats is produced in the leaves and flowers of the herb and is called nepetalactone.

The nepetalactone in Catnips releases an odor that attracts cats and binds to receptors in their nose and stimulates the sensory neurons leading to their brain, often producing behavior that appears to be euphoric.

Now that we know what catnips exactly are, let’s find out how its consumption can affect your cat. Read on to know more!

Catnip’s Effects On Cats

Catnip can make your cat go bananas -- it may purr, growl, roll on the ground, get overly excited, and even drool. Moreover, it can also experience mild hallucinations.

It is noted that sniffing catnip has a more aggressive stimulating effect whereas eating it can make cats sleepy. While generally it is known to enhance cat moods, making it feel more playful and active, it is also observed that some cats might get agitated and anxious as a reaction to catnip. 

Though Catnip effect doesn’t last very long, you can expect your cat to go crazy for about 10 to 15 minutes and then wander away for a sound nap. Its effects are pretty similar to recreational drugs like alcohol that are consumed by humans and present themselves differently in different individuals.

Why Do Some Cats Not Respond To Catnip?

About 50% of domestic cats don’t respond to catnip at all. So why does it affects some cats but not others? 

The difference lies in the DNA of cats wherein some inherit the ‘catnip sensitive’ gene while some do not. So in case you are wondering why your cat is still lying low after consuming catnip, it probably hereditary and you can’t do anything about it.

Additionally, if your cat is suddenly not showing changes felines may become avoidant of catnip if they have had a bad experience with it.

Is Catnip Safe For Cats?

Catnip is a safe treat for cats, however, an excess can cause an upset tummy along with vomiting and diarrhea. The good news is that cats are good at self-regulating so they themselves won’t overdo it on instinct. 

Though we should keep in mind that it should be offered in moderation as under the influence of catnip your cat may get hurt. In fact, like any drug that induces euphoria catnip tends to lose its effect with too much use which is another reason not to go overboard with it.

Take it slow with your cat and only offer catnip when you can feel the blues affecting your friend’s quality of life. External stimulants are best only when used occasionally. Try and keep your cat naturally happy and active.

For more interesting updates on cats, their diets, and what’s best for them, stay tuned to our blog and keep sending queries in the comments below!


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