Maybe you’ve given your kitten or cat a catnip toy and noticed that her mood immediately changes. Whereas she might have been lounging and relaxing, she’s all of a sudden hyper and energetic as she rubs and sniffs her new toy. Maybe she’s even drooling from the sheer unadulterated excitement of having her favorite treat.
Many cats respond to catnip with a heightened sense of excitement, but some people simply do not know why catnip elicits such a reaction in some cats.
Here are some facts you might not know about catnip:
#1. Catnip is just an herb in the mint family.
Some people have asserted that cats react to catnip like some people react while on drugs. Catnip does, in fact, cause a chemical reaction in the brain, although experts cannot say why. The good news is catnip is absolutely safe for cats.
#2. Not all cats like catnip.
While many cats will go crazy with excitement over their catnip, some cats just don’t care for it. In fact, according to the Humane Society of the United States, cats inherit a specific gene that makes them respond – or not respond – to catnip. Only half of all cats have that gene and therefore go crazy when presented with catnip.
#3. The allure of catnip doesn’t last long.
Whether your cat goes crazy or rolls around in bliss in response to catnip, that response doesn’t linger. Expect your cat’s response to the catnip to carry on for no more than 10 minutes. After that, he’ll typically become disinterested. After a few hours, your cat may again experience that initial excitement and reaction.
#4. Catnip doesn’t last forever.
Just like the high that your cat might get from her catnip doesn’t last for long, catnip doesn’t last over an extended period either. With time, it loses its impact. It’s important to take older catnip toys away from your cat and give her new catnip toys periodically so she can enjoy that excitement.
#5. Cats can eat catnip, too.
If your cat has never tried eating catnip and wants to, encourage him to do so. It’s perfectly safe for cats. Interestingly, when a cat eats rather than smells catnip, she is more likely to become extremely relaxed as opposed to hyper.
If your cat is one of the 50 percent that have a hypersensitive reaction to catnip, be sure she has access to it. And, if you’re interested in seeing how catnip affects your personality and mood, try it for yourself. Catnip is 100 percent safe for humans, too, has been used in medical situations, and it often helps relax people.
Tell us how much your cat loves cat nip. Let us know in the comments below.