What Is Catnip and Why Do Cats Go Crazy for It?

What Is Catnip and Why Do Cats Go Crazy for It?

Let’s admit it. Being a cat owner, we have given our cats a sniff of catnip and watched them getting all crazy and comical. Haven’t we? But have you ever wondered what catnip is and what it does to turn our cat into this frenzied character? Although catnips are entirely safe for our furry felines, make sure to consult your veterinarian from pet hospital Virginia Beach.

So, let’s find out here:

What is Catnip?

Catnip, catmint or Nepeta cataria is herb from the mint family of a perennial plant. Although it is native to Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, it is cultivated across the globe. Known by many other names, catnip plants are mildly sedative and have medicinal values. Besides being a prominent choice for feline entertainment, they are used to prepare tea. 

How Cats React to Catnip

But many researchers and pet care vet Virginia Beach providers believe that catnips don’t work on all cats. It is believed that around 50-65% of breeds of cats and even some large cats show sensitivity to catnip. Studies have shown that sensitivity for catnip is genetic and is set off by its aroma. The chemical compound called nepetalactone present in the herb works as a substitute to pheromones of cats, making them go all crazy. Ones a cat sniffs catnip, its aroma hits the smell receptors and initiates a range of behaviors.

These are:

  • Rubbing or rolling on catnip
  • Excessive Moaning or purring
  • Licking or drooling
  • Leaping, pouncing and other hyperactivity
  • Getting drowsy or sleepy
  • Showing aggression

But exactly how a cat will behave upon its exposure to catnip depends upon how sensitive it is to the catnip. Usually, the effect of the catnip remains for up to 10 to 15 minutes and takes around quite a few hours to restore the olfactory sensory.

Why Do Cats Like Catnip?

Most of the people who love cats have spent a significant amount of time goggling over online clips and videos of cats high on catnip. It is just so amusing to watch them get into a trance-like phase after taking a whiff of the herb. 

But what is the secret behind cats getting high? Well, it is actually the oil which is found on the leaves, seeds, and roots that do all the magic. While some cats go wacky with just its smell, for others oral ingestion is what kicks them.

But what most cat parents are interested in knowing is whether catnip is safe for the cats or not. Though you may find the behavior of cat on catnip extreme and crazy, you would be relieved to know that catnip is entirely safe and non-toxic. Besides this, there is no way your cat can overdose on the catmint.

However, if your feline friend is pregnant, keep the herb away from her reach as the delusional behaviors can injure the cat or the unborn kittens.  If you too want your cat to enjoy the herb, the market is filled with catnip infused toys and treats. You can even throw in some catnip seeds in your yard and have your cats enjoy the harvest.

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