I’m sure everyone has had the pleasure of seeing a cat and their characteristically hilarious reactions to catnip before! But, did you ever wonder what exactly catnip is, or how it works?
Catnip, or Catmint is a plant similar to the mint plant, and originated in Europe and Asia. It was naturalized in North America in the 1600s and can be found today as a common plant in gardens, and growing wild!
Catnip has several uses, other than sending your kitty into an entertaining herb induced craze! The oils in catnip are actually a repellant for several pests and insects, including mice, aphids, flies, and can work better than DEET at repelling mosquitos! Catnip was also thought to have some healing powers for humans. Although the use of catnip in human health has been abandoned for more modern medicines, many people still consume catnip in the form of an herbal tea… Which does not sound very tasty, and catnip does not have the same exciting effects on humans (if any effect at all!) that it does on cats.
Now to the good stuff… How does it affect your kitty?! There is an essential oil in catnip called Nepetalactone which affects kitties when it is inhaled and enters their nasal passage. You can give your kitty fresh catnip leaves/stems from the garden, or dry it out (which is how it is usually sold in pet stores) and it will have the same effect! Some people believe that catnip has hallucinogenic properties to cats, while others claim it is more of a stimulant, like caffeine. Most cats reactions to catnip include liking and biting the leaves, rubbing on the plant, or rolling in/on it! Surprisingly only 50-66% of kitties are affected by catnip and it is an inherited trait! Those that are not affected by catnip may have a similar response to honeysuckle as other cats do to catnip.
Here at the cattery, we like to give catnip to kitties to help keep them entertained, and we often find that when given upon arrival, the kitties seem to settle in a little easier. Some owners are afraid to give their kitties catnip, but cats can not overdose on catnip, and are capable of self-regulating the quantities that they consume. Others are also afraid that it will make their kitty aggressive or violent. In my personal experience I have never seen catnip turn an otherwise laid back kitty into an aggressive one. If your kitty already has a tendency towards aggression, or a history of biting then the sheer stimulation provided by catnip may increase the likelihood of these behaviours.
Cats Castle Cat Hotel is a cat boarding that specializes in both short term and long term cat boarding. Our cattery provides a luxurious alternative to pet sitting. Our facility is located in Oakville Ontario, just minutes off of the QEW. Our customers come from all over Toronto and the GTA, Milton, Hamilton, Mississauga, Burlington and more!