Curious about catnip?
If you’ve never heard of it, this potent grass is an herb that can be used as a fun recreational substance for your kitty. Cats are attracted to a compound in catnip and it can give them a temporary burst of positive mood — rolling around, leaping, and purring.
The beneficial aspects, therefore, make it a decent sometimes treat for your feline, and there are not known to be any serious adverse side effects from giving it to them. Still, it’s important to read up on some key facts before getting some for your cat.
Unleashing the Mystery: Tracing the Roots of Catnip
Catnip or Nepeta cataria is a member of the mint family and is native to Europe and Asia. The name Nepeta is said to have originated from the town of Nepete in Italy while Cataria is derived from the Latin word for cat. Catnip’s active ingredient, nepetalactone, can be found in the leaves and stem of the plant and was first discovered in 1941 by Samuel McElvain at the University of Wisconsin.
Felines have long been known to have an attraction to catnip, a plant in the mint family. But did you know that humans have also found a use for this herb? Today, many people use catnip in teas for its calming properties.
Interestingly, catnip has a history of culinary use as well. It was brought to America in the 1800s from plant cuttings settlers brought with them. Native Americans were also introduced to the plant by early settlers and began incorporating it into their foods and medicinal therapies.
While catnip may not be a common ingredient in modern cooking, its unique flavor and potential health benefits make it a fascinating addition for adventurous cooks and cat lovers alike.
What Is Catnip And Why Are Cats Attracted To It?
The safe and magical herb can be used by humans as an ingredient in insect repellants or in gardens to attract butterflies, but its more-popular use is as an occasional treat for cats because of their attraction to it.
In particular, cats are drawn to the organic compound nepetalactone that’s contained in it and which drives some of them crazy. When cats smell the aromatic oils that it emits, it enters special nasal receptors that have a direct route to their brain. Once the aromas travel down that path they trigger a brief burst of kooky and fun behavior.
Cats are attracted to nepetalactone, an organic compound found in it, which can cause some cats to behave erratically. When cats inhale the aromatic oils released by the compound, it activates special nasal receptors that lead directly to their brain, unleashing a brief bout of playful behavior.
What Effects Does Catnip Have On Felines?
Not every cat will have a reaction to catnip, because it’s believed that about 20 percent to 30 percent of cats are completely unaffected by it. However, that still leaves good odds that your kitty will be in the 70 percent to 80 percent of cats that love the substance and will get a kick out of it if you bring some home for them.
Effects of catnip usually come on quickly and can include rolling around on the floor, pawing at it, licking the herb, chewing on the catnip, rubbing on it.
In larger doses you can expect your cat to exhibit other behaviors including being sleep, potentially anxious, jumping around the room, purring, and drooling.
Whether the effects are large or small, they typically only last for between five and 15 minutes, and then your cat will be temporarily immune to its effects for a while. But this immunity only lasts temporarily and won’t prevent the use of catnip in the future.
How Do I Give Catnip To My Kitty?
Catnip typically comes in packets and you sprinkle small amounts to attract your cat, for example rubbing pieces of catnip over your pet’s favorite scratching post. You can also insert some in your feline’s toys as a way to encourage them to play with the toys.
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The relaxing effect it can have also makes it a valuable item to calm your cat’s nerves for potentially stressful moments like a trip to the vet or moving into a new house or apartment.
If you are trying to introduce your cat to a new place, you could sprinkle some catnip around the rooms so that they are attracted to wander around and feel at ease in your home.
Or if you need to take your kitty to the vet and it’s stressed about getting in a carrier, you can entice them into the carrier by putting a little bit of catnip inside it.
In conclusion, catnip is a potent herb that can provide some fun entertainment for cat lovers and their feline friends. Its unique compound can elicit a temporary burst of positive mood in cats, leading to playful behavior such as rolling around, leaping, and purring.