What is Catnip?
Nepeta cataria, the scientific name for catnip, is a perennial plant that is a member of the Lamiaceae family. There is a long history of cats being fascinated by and drawn to this plant. Catnip, which was originally from Europe, is now widely available and may be found in many other countries.
Appearance and Characteristics
Catnip belongs to the mint family, which is why its plants have square stems and tend to grow between 2 and 3 feet (60 and 90 centimetres) in height. The heart-shaped, pointy leaves of catnip have a soft, downy feel. They are placed in an inverse pattern along the stems and have a vivid green colour. Clusters of tiny tubular flowers ranging in colour from white to pale purple are produced by the plant during flowering.
The Science Behind Catnip’s Effects
The capacity of catnip to evoke a strong and frequently comical response from our feline companions is what distinguishes it from other plants. This is due to the presence of nepetalactone, a chemical molecule found mostly in the plant’s leaves and stems. Cats have an acute sense of smell, which allows them to detect nepetalactone, a volatile oil.
Cats’ sensory neurons are stimulated when the nepetalactone in catnip binds to receptors in their nasal tissue, whether the catnip is fresh, dried, or in some other form. These neurons are responsible for transmitting impulses to the brain, which sets off a chain reaction. While studies are still being conducted, it is thought that nepetalactone mimics some feline pheromones, which contributes to the responses found in cats.
Catnip’s Effect on Cats
Some cats have a stronger sensitivity to catnip than others, and this difference is not uniform across the species. It is thought that anywhere from 50-75% of cats have a genetic predisposition to respond to catnip, while the other cats show little interest. Sensitivity to catnip is thought to be inherited and usually manifests in kittens between the ages of three and six months.
Sniffing, stroking, rolling, purring, and a more playful disposition are common responses to catnip exposure. Cats’ reactions can range from hyperactivity, such as racing around the room, to relaxation, such as lazing about contentedly. Some cats may also start making more noise or showing greater interest in their surroundings.
It’s worth noting that catnip’s effects don’t last long—usually about 10 or 15 minutes. The effects of catnip wear off after about one hour, and cats revert to their usual behaviour. After a delay of one or two hours, the reaction might be triggered again.
You shouldn’t worry if your cat doesn’t seem interested in catnip. Not all cats have the gene that makes them susceptible to nepetalactone, as was noted up top. Cats’ reactions to catnip, however, are not always consistent. Cats that first reacted negatively to catnip may grow to enjoy it later, whereas cats that initially responded positively to it may become desensitised to it.
Other Nepeta Species
The most well-known kind of catnip is Nepeta cataria; however, other members of the Nepeta genus have the same effect on cats. Among these are catmint (Nepeta mussinii) and faassenii (Nepeta faassenii). These catnip alternatives may be more effective for cats that do not react to Nepeta cataria while having somewhat different chemical makeup.
How does Catnip Work?
Catnip, or Nepeta cataria as it is known in the scientific community, is an interesting plant with interesting effects on cats. Cats respond to catnip in a variety of ways, including rolling, scratching, heightened playfulness, and purring. However, have you ever pondered how catnip induces such a profound effect on feline beings? Explore the scientific rationale behind catnip’s purported benefits.
Nepetalactone: The Magic Compound
Nepetalactone, a chemical molecule present in catnip’s leaves and stems, is responsible for the plant’s attractiveness. Nepetalactone is a sort of volatile oil, and cats can smell it. It’s important to remember that not all cats enjoy catnip. About 50-75% of cats have the gene that causes their sensitivity to nepetalactone, suggesting it is hereditary.
The nepetalactone fragrance of catnip attaches to receptors in the olfactory epithelium, the tissue lining the nasal passages, when the cat comes into contact with it. The cat’s observable behavioural reaction is the result of a chain reaction set in motion by this contact.
The Olfactory System and the Brain
Nepetalactone binds to receptors in the olfactory epithelium and causes the sensory neurons there to become stimulated. The cat’s olfactory bulb and amygdala receive the electrical impulses sent by these neurons. The amygdala is involved in emotional processing and memory, whereas the olfactory bulb is responsible for processing information linked to scent.
Pheromone Mimicry Hypothesis
The pheromone mimicry hypothesis is one explanation for catnip’s effects. This finding is suggestive that nepetalactone in catnip may be chemically similar to some feline pheromones, which are employed as chemical communications between cats. Nepetalactone’s ability to imitate these signals means it may cause cats to exhibit instinctive behaviours including rolling, rubbing, and heightened activity.
Some cats may respond more positively to catnip than others. When some cats get thrilled, they become more playful. They may participate in frenzied movement and jumping about while playing. The reaction of certain cats may be more laid-back and peaceful. These cats can be found lazing or frolicking around in bliss. While under the influence of catnip, some cats may become more talkative or exhibit heightened interest in their surroundings.
Duration of Effects
Typically, the effects of catnip wear off in 10 to 15 minutes. The sensitivity to catnip normally wears off after this time, and cats revert to their regular behaviour. It’s important to remember that a cat’s reaction to catnip can be affected by a variety of variables, including the cat’s age, surroundings, and the amount of catnip it comes into contact with. Additionally, individual cats’ responses to catnip may alter or evolve over time.
Kittens and Catnip
In most cases, catnip is ineffective on kittens less than three to six months of age. Sensitivity to nepetalactone is thought to be regulated by the hormonal changes related with sexual maturation, which occur as kittens age. Because of this, if you have a young kitten and are perplexed by its lack of interest in catnip, it’s because its response to the compound has not fully evolved.
Other Feline Reactions to Catnip
It’s worth noting that not all felids respond favourably to catnip. The majority of cats who respond are domestic cats like the ones we keep as pets. Catnip is effective for domestic cats but has little effect on wild cats like lions, tigers, and leopards. This implies that domestic cats are the only species with a genetic tendency for catnip sensitivity, which presumably developed through time.
Why do Cats Love Catnip?
Cats have a soft spot in their hearts for catnip, or Nepeta cataria, as it is technically named. Our feline friends’ reactions to this plant range from lively antics to mellow repose at its mere mention. What is it about catnip, though, that cats find so irresistible? Let’s get into why cats love catnip so much.
It’s thought that domestic cats’ fondness for catnip is a genetic feature. About half to three-quarters of cats have a gene that makes them responsive to catnip, whereas the remaining cats exhibit no reaction. This innate sensitivity is often determined by the existence of certain olfactory receptors in the nasal mucosa.
The Power of Nepetalactone
The key to catnip’s allure lies in a chemical compound called nepetalactone, which is found in the leaves and stems of the catnip plant. Nepetalactone is a type of volatile oil that cats can detect through their sense of smell. It’s this compound that triggers the fascinating reactions we observe in cats when they encounter catnip.
Stimulation and Excitement
Nepetalactone binds to receptors in the olfactory epithelium of cats when they smell or come into touch with catnip, activating sensory neurons. The olfactory bulb and amygdala, regions of the cat’s brain responsible for interpreting olfactory information and emotional reactions, respectively, receive signals from this interaction.
While some cats may be unfazed by catnip, the effects seem to be more pronounced in others. They could play with toys or items by hitting them about or chasing after them. It’s not uncommon for cats to become more lively, with some demonstrating heightened interest or vocalisation. Both cats and their humans find these responses very amusing.
Euphoria and Happiness
Catnip has a wide range of impacts, including psychological ones. Nepetalactone’s aroma causes the brain to produce endorphins responsible for a positive emotional response. This neurochemical reaction facilitates the overall pleasant experience that cats have with catnip.
Sensory Enrichment and Instinctual Behaviors
Catnip can stimulate these innate behaviours since cats are born hunters and explorers. Cats that have been exposed to catnip frequently play out behaviours that are similar to their natural hunting behaviours, including as stalking, pouncing, and batting. Cats may practise their natural behaviours in a safe and engaging setting because to the sensory enrichment provided by this encounter with catnip.
Environmental Enrichment and Stress Relief
Catnip isn’t just fun for cats; it may also be used to improve the quality of their home. If you want to help your bored cat out, try sprinkling some catnip around the house. It can be especially helpful for indoor cats, who may not get as much exercise or opportunity for play. Catnip has stimulating properties that can help reduce feelings of tension, anxiety, and irritation while enhancing feelings of happiness and pleasure.
Variations in Responses
Although most cats like the effects of catnip, certain felines may not share this preference. Rather than showing extreme enthusiasm, some cats may show a more moderate reaction, such as tranquility and contentment. Some cats will show a variety of behaviours, such as periods of high activity followed by calm. Each cat has its own unique reaction, which can vary in both severity and length.
The high from catnip often wears off after about 15 minutes. Sensitivity to catnip wears off after about one hour, and cats’ typical behaviour resumes. However, after an hour or two, the catnip effect might be revived..
The Different Effects of Catnip on Cats
1. Excitement and Playfulness
When cats consume catnip, they often become extremely lively and excited. Cats may show increased activity and engage in active play behaviours when exposed to catnip. They could run after toys, jump and pounce, or hit things with bats and paddles. This frolicking around may be great fun to watch and gives indoor cats the exercise they need.
2. Rolling and Rubbing
Rolling and stroking is another frequent reaction to catnip. When catnip is put on the floor or furniture, cats have a tendency to roll about on it. Cats may roll around on toys or scratching posts impregnated with catnip. Cats’ natural tendency to roll and rub helps disperse the enticing aroma of catnip all over their fur.
3. Increased Vocalization
When given catnip, some cats may start to sing more. The volume and regularity of their meowing, chirping, trilling, or purring may increase. Cats may raise their meowing to express their happiness or enthusiasm. Catnip stimulates the nervous system, which in turn releases endorphins and other feel-good compounds.
4. Relaxation and Calmness
Although many cats become too enthusiastic when exposed to catnip, this is not always the case. When introduced to catnip, some cats become more relaxed. They may start to feel more at ease and decide to take it easy on the couch or in bed. For worried or agitated cats, this impact of peace and quiet may come as a welcome relief.
5. Increased Interest in the Environment
Catnip can also make a cat more curious about its environment. When introduced to catnip, cats may become more inquisitive and eager to explore their surroundings. They may become more curious and exploratory, paying closer attention to their environment as they investigate new rooms in the house or play with new toys.
6. Stimulation of the Senses
Catnip has a wide range of effects on cats’ senses. Active play like rolling and stroking stimulates their sense of touch, while the fragrance of catnip stimulates their sense of smell and stimulates their motor abilities. As a result of engaging all of their senses, cats have a more fulfilling and natural experience.
7. Individual Variations
It’s worth noting that some cats respond differently to catnip than others. It’s possible that some cats will respond strongly, while others would react more subtly. About 50-75% of cats have the gene that makes them sensitive to catnip, suggesting that this feature is heritable. The way a cat responds to catnip can also be affected by factors such as the cat’s age, health, and habitat. It’s important to take note of and value the distinctive ways in which different cats react to catnip.
8. Temporary Effects
Catnip has short-lived effects, usually lasting between 10 and 15 minutes. Sensitivity to catnip wears off after about one hour, and cats’ typical behaviour resumes. Some cats may take more time to recover to normal, and the length of the effects may also vary significantly across individuals. After giving your cat some catnip, give it plenty of time to relax and recharge.
9. Sensitization and Desensitization
While most cats enjoy the effects of catnip, it’s important to remember that certain cats might get desensitised after being exposed to it too often. Over time, cats might develop tolerance to the effects of catnip, resulting in a diminished or absent reaction. You may avoid this by just giving your cat catnip on rare occasions as a treat or enrichment. This keeps catnip from losing its appeal and potency over time.
10. Non-Responsive Cats
Not all cats respond well to catnip, though. About 25-50% of cats don’t react to catnip because of their genetics. There is no need for alarm if your cat does not react to catnip. It only implies that their genes aren’t susceptible to the herb’s effects. Fortunately, there are other plants that could give similar sensory stimulation for unresponsive cats, such as catmint (Nepeta mussinii).
How to Introduce Catnip to Your Cat
You may find that your cat enjoys being introduced to catnip. Catnip, or Nepeta cataria as it is known in the scientific community, is a plant that causes cats to do everything from act silly to get completely relaxed. Here are some tips to assist you and your cat have a positive first encounter with catnip.
1. Choose High-Quality Catnip Products
Selecting high-quality organic catnip items is essential when introducing catnip to your feline friend. Try to choose a brand that guarantees organic ingredients and only sells natural catnip. This guarantees that your cat will enjoy a high concentration of catnip without any harmful side effects. Dried leaves, sprays, and toys filled with catnip are just a few of the many types of catnip that are available.
2. Start with Dried Catnip
Dried catnip is a common and handy form of the plant. Start by giving your cat a tiny pinch of dry catnip. It may be used as a floor sprinkle, inserted into a toy, or applied topically to a scratching post. Let your cat investigate the catnip at its own speed.
3. Observe Your Cat’s Reaction
Pay close attention to how your cat reacts to the catnip. Some cats may react quickly, scratching or rolling in the catnip and showing obvious interest. Some people might want to take their time reading up on it and getting involved. You should wait patiently and not interfere with your cat while it investigates the catnip.
4. Encourage Playful Behaviors
When cats are given catnip, they typically become more playful. When playing with catnip-infused toys or items, your cat may become more physically active. Use catnip-infused toys to engage and encourage your cat during this playing. This will help you bond with your cat and give mental and physical stimulation for your pet at the same time.
5. Offer Catnip as a Treat
Catnip may be given to your cat as a special treat in addition to being used during playing. A tiny quantity of dried catnip can be sprinkled on a scratching post, a favourite toy, or a specific play area to encourage your cat to use it. As a result, your cat may associate good things with the catnip and be more motivated to utilise the scratching post or play with you.
6. Use Catnip-Infused Toys
Toys laced with catnip are a great way to give your cat access to the feline favourite for an extended period of time. Catnip leaves or dried catnip can be inserted into the compartments of these toys. Put these toys in front of your cat and see how they react. Some cats may acquire an intense preference for one or two particular catnip toys.
7. Avoid Overexposure
Even while cats love catnip, too much of it can be dangerous. Too much exposure to catnip might make a cat immune to its effects. Reduce the duration and number of times your cat is exposed to catnip to avoid this. Instead than keeping catnip around all the time, it’s better to provide it as a special treat or during playing.
8. Store Catnip Properly
Maintaining the strength and freshness of catnip requires proper storage. Dried catnip leaves should be kept in an airtight container and kept out of direct sunlight and a cool, dry environment. The freshness and potency of the catnip will be maintained this way. It’s best to get new catnip every so often to keep the effects at their peak.
9. Be Mindful of Individual Reactions
Keep in mind that not all cats react well to catnip. While most cats respond favourably to catnip, some may show no interest at all. This is very typical and nothing to worry about. The effects of catnip differ from cat to cat. Recognise that every cat is unique and adjust your behaviour accordingly.
10. Seek Veterinary Advice if Needed
Consult your vet before giving catnip to your cat if you have any doubts about doing so or if your cat has any odd or negative reactions to it. Based on your cat’s health and individual requirements, they can offer tailored advice. Talk to your vet before giving catnip to your cat if he or she has any preexisting issues, including allergies or sensitivities.
How Much Catnip is Safe for Cats?
1. Start with Small Amounts
Start with a modest quantity of catnip when introducing it to your cat. A small amount of the dried leaves of the catnip plant is generally all that is needed. You can see how your cat reacts and track any behavioural changes. Since different cats have different tolerances for catnip, you should start slowly and increase the dosage as necessary.
2. Monitor your Cat’s Behavior
Watch how your cat reacts after being given catnip. Excited cats often become more lively, rolling around, stroking one other, and making meowing noises. However, if cats are exposed to too much catnip, they may get overstimulated and develop behavioural problems. If your cat seems unduly excited or starts acting aggressively after being exposed to catnip, you may want to cut back or stop giving it altogether.
3. Provide Occasional Treats
Catnip may be used in two ways: as a reward and as a way to stimulate your cat’s senses. Consider giving catnip once or twice a week rather than every day. This keeps catnip from losing its enticing quality and prevents your cat from getting immune to its effects.
4. Individual Sensitivity and Reactions
The effects of catnip might also differ from cat to cat. It seems that some cats respond quite positively to catnip, while others may show little to no interest. About 50-75% of cats have the gene that makes them sensitive to catnip, suggesting that this behaviour is heritable. Observe your cat’s unique reaction and adjust your approach accordingly.
5. Cats under Six Months of Age
Catnip often has little effect on kittens under the age of six months. Kittens often reach their peak sensitivity to catnip between the ages of three and six months. If your kitten isn’t at this point yet, it’s better not to introduce catnip or count on a reaction.
6. Cats with Health Conditions
Before giving them catnip, talk to your vet first if your cat has any preexisting health concerns. While most cats may safely consume catnip, your feline friend may have special needs. If your cat already has gastric problems, giving them too much catnip may make matters worse. If you want specific recommendations for your cat’s health, your vet can provide you those.
7. Moderation for Cats with Hyperactivity or Anxiety
The soothing benefits of catnip may be beneficial for cats that are anxious or hyperactive. Catnip should be given sparingly, though. Overstimulation from too much stimulation may make their symptoms much worse. You should start slowly and carefully observe your cat’s reaction. If you observe any negative effects or increased anxiety, reduce or eliminate catnip from their routine.
8. Alternatives for Non-Responsive Cats
Due to differences in their DNA, some cats may not like catnip as much as others. There are other options to try if catnip doesn’t pique your cat’s attention. Catmint (Nepeta mussinii) and cat thyme (Teucrium marum) are two more members of the Nepeta genus that may attract cats. For cats who are not sensitive to catnip, these alternatives can offer comparable sensory stimulation.
9. Consult with your Veterinarian
Cat owners should get advice from their vets on the safe administration of catnip, especially if their feline companion has any preexisting health conditions. They will provide you specific recommendations for your cat’s demands and health condition. Catnip comes in many different varieties, so your doctor may suggest the one that will work best for your cat.
10. Avoid Ingestion of Large Quantities
Despite the fact that catnip is typically healthy, some cats may get stomach problems if they eat too much of it. If your cat likes to nibble or chew on catnip-filled toys, you should keep them away from your cat to avoid them from consuming too much catnip. Make sure your cat is utilising catnip toys for play and sensory stimulation, and not to ingest the catnip, by keeping a close eye on how they play with them.
Where to Buy Catnip
You may be wondering where to buy catnip so that you may provide the delight and stimulation it provides to your kitty friend. Fortunately, catnip is easy to come by and may be purchased from a variety of sources. If you’re in the market for some catnip, here are a few different possibilities to think about.
1. Local Pet Stores
Your neighbourhood pet store is one of the most popular and practical ways to purchase catnip. Catnip comes in a number of formats, and pet supply stores often provide a wide range of cat items. Look in the cat aisle of your local pet store for catnip goods including dried leaves, sprays, and toys flavoured with the herb. When you shop at a pet store, you may inspect the goods up close and ask any pertinent questions you might have.
2. Online Retailers
Catnip is just one product that has benefited from the rise in e-commerce in the digital era. There are several places to buy catnip online, including numerous stores that focus on animal supplies. Catnip is available in a wide variety of brands, forms, and packing sizes on websites like Chewy, Amazon, and PetSmart. Many cat owners choose to purchase online because it is more convenient than going out to the store, because it is easier to compare prices, and because items may be delivered right to their home.
3. Health Food Stores
Health food stores are an additional option for buying catnip. Catnip is among the organic herbs available at several health food stores. These shops often stock organic, pesticide-free catnip of the highest quality. You may find catnip items in the herb aisle at health food stores or by asking a sales clerk for help. Remember that the variety may be smaller than at pet specialty shops or on the web.
4. Farmer’s Markets
Going to a farmer’s market is a great way to do your part in supporting the community and the people that live there. Catnip may be grown by farmers who also raise herbs and medicinal plants. Visit a farmer’s market and talk to the people selling the herbs and plants there. This alternative not only offers you with access to freshly cultivated catnip, but also puts you in touch with the people responsible for the plant’s cultivation and harvest.
5. Specialty Pet Boutiques
High-end and one-of-a-kind pet supplies can be found in specialty pet boutiques. The catnip goods sold in these shops are frequently carefully selected, and may even be all-natural or artisanal. Boutiques catering specifically to pets may provide rarer and more unique varieties of catnip than mainstream pet supply outlets. A personalised shopping experience tailored to your cat’s specific likes and requirements may be available at some of these stores.
6. Catnip Subscription Boxes
Subscribing to a catnip subscription box will provide you and your cat with a wonderful monthly surprise and a steady supply of catnip. Subscription boxes dedicated to catnip often include catnip-themed goodies, snacks, toys, and accessories. These boxes are sent on a regular basis and offer a fun and novel method to expose your cat to various forms of catnip.
7. Garden Centers and Nurseries
If you’re looking for a way to get your hands on some free time, you’ve come to the right place. You may grow your own fresh supply of catnip with the help of the seeds or plants available at many different garden centres and nurseries. You can ensure your catnip’s highest quality and freshness by growing it yourself. Depending on the species, catnip may be grown successfully in either the ground or in containers.
8. Homemade Catnip Toys
You can use fabric and dried catnip to make your own catnip toys if you’re feeling crafty. You can stuff fabric pouches or stitched toys with dried catnip you bought from one of the aforementioned retailers. You may personalise it to make it more interesting for your cat. You can find many guides and inspiration for constructing your catnip toys on the internet.
Considerations When Buying Catnip
There are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for catnip. You should be on the lookout for fresh, fragrant, and contaminant-free catnip goods. The grade and origin of the catnip should be indicated on the box. Many people would rather use pesticides and chemicals than consume organic or natural alternatives. You should also think about the reliability of the brand or store and check reviews from previous customers.
Catnip Toys and Activities
1. Catnip-Infused Toys
For cat owners looking to provide their cats with a stimulating and engaged play experience, catnip-infused toys are a common choice. These toys are meant to disperse the aroma of catnip to entice cats into vigorous play. Catnip may be added to a wide range of playthings, from plush toys and balls to mice and puzzles.
2. Chase and Pounce Toys
When laced with catnip, toys that encourage chasing and pouncing can be very alluring to cats. Prey-like motions are simulated by the toys’ use of feathers, strings, and other small moving pieces. The use of catnip increases the fun factor, making cats more likely to chase, swat, and pouce the toy.
3. Scratching Posts and Catnip
Scratching posts are popular with cats, and adding catnip to them can increase their appeal. If you sprinkle or rub some catnip over a scratching post, your cat will be more interested in using it. That way, they may satisfy their scratching need on anything other than your furniture.
4. Treat Dispensing Toys with Catnip
Catnip may be added to treat-dispensing toys to provide your cat both mental and physical pleasure. These toys are designed so that food or kibble may be stored inside of them. When you put treats flavoured with catnip inside of these toys, you create an engaging game that makes your cat strive for its reward.
5. Interactive Puzzle Toys
Cats’ innate ability to solve problems is well-satisfied by interactive puzzle toys that test their minds. You may challenge your cat’s problem-solving skills by hiding treats or items laced with catnip within several puzzle toys. These toys provide a kind of enjoyment as well as cerebral stimulation and reinforcement for cats.
6. DIY Catnip Toys
DIY catnip toys are great if you’re crafty or just like doing things by hand. You may tailor the design and construction of DIY catnip toys to your cat’s specific tastes and interests. You may make felted cat forms infused with catnip or sew little fabric pouches to hold dried catnip. Make sure everything is locked in place so your cat can’t get at the catnip and eat it.
7. Catnip Balls and Sock Toys
DIY cat toys like catnip balls and sock toys are simple to make and may keep your cat entertained for a long time. Fill a clean sock or fabric pouch to the brim with dried catnip and secure the end with a knot to create a catnip ball. By playing with the ball, your cat will spread the alluring aroma of catnip around the room. An analogous interactive experience may be achieved by stuffing a clean sock with catnip and tying it off.
8. Rotating and Introducing New Toys
It’s best to switch up your cat’s catnip toys on a regular basis to keep things fresh and exciting for them. You can keep your cat’s playtime interesting and exciting by rotating in new toys and reintroducing old ones at regular intervals. You may stimulate your cat’s natural interest by providing him with toys of varying sizes, shapes, and materials.
9. Interactive Wand Toys with Catnip
Wand toys infused with catnip are great for encouraging your cat to play with you and each other. These playthings have a wand or rod on which is mounted a feather or other item suspended by a thread. Your cat will be more likely to pursue, leap, and participate in joyful hunting behaviours if the toy or feather has been infused with catnip.
10. Supervised Playtime
Supervise your cat’s playing when using catnip toys and participating in interactive activities with them. This way, you can make sure they’re safe and prevent them from destroying the toys or consuming too much catnip. If you keep an eye on your cat as they play, you can stop any fights from breaking out or remove any possible dangers.
The Health Benefits of Catnip
1. Stress Reduction and Relaxation
Catnip may help cats relax and reduce tension, which is one of its significant health advantages. Cats have been observed to respond favourably to the aroma of catnip, which has been demonstrated to reduce stress and increase calmness. This can be especially helpful for cats who are stressed by new experiences, such as moving or seeing the vet.
2. Mental Stimulation and Enrichment
The use of a cat provides the mental stimulation and richness of a person’s life. You may stimulate your cat’s senses and teach it to utilise its brain by providing it with catnip-infused toys, puzzles, or interactive activities. This kind of mental exercise is crucial to a cat’s health since it keeps their brains healthy and functioning.
3. Appetite Stimulation
Catnip has been shown to increase appetite in some circumstances. Catnip can be used to stimulate an appetite in a cat that has temporarily lost its appetite due to sickness or stress. This effect may not occur in all cats, so if your cat suddenly stops eating, it’s advisable to take him or her to the vets.
4. Dental Health Promotion
The use of catnip in the form of toys or other objects to encourage excellent oral health is a common practise. Plaque and tartar on teeth may be removed by chewing, which in turn lowers the probability of dental problems including cavities and gum disease. To prevent tooth problems, schedule regular veterinarian dental treatment and use only safe, chewable catnip toys.
5. Digestive Aid
Historically, cats have been given catnip to help them digest their food. It’s great for preventing and treating gastrointestinal disorders including bloating and gas. Catnip has been studied for its possible modest antispasmodic effects, which may assist relax the muscles of the digestive tract and aid in the digesting process.
6. Exercise Promotion
A study found that cats given catnip were likelier to play. Catnip can entice cats to participate in active play behaviours due to its thrill and stimulation. Maintaining a healthy weight through increased physical activity aids in cardiovascular health and muscular tone.
7. Environmental Enrichment
Adding catnip to your cat’s surroundings is a great way to improve its habitat. Your cat may be more curious and playful after being exposed to catnip. Indoor cats can benefit greatly from this enrichment because of its ability to combat boredom, stress, and the behavioural problems that can arise from a lack of cerebral stimulation.
8. Bonding and Socialization
You may improve your relationship with your cat by giving it catnip during engaging play sessions. The link between humans and animals may be strengthened via cooperative playtime and the positive emotions elicited by catnip-infused toys. This is especially useful when a new cat is being introduced into the household or when working to gain the confidence of a timid or shy cat.
9. Natural Insect Repellent
Catnip’s active ingredient, nepetalactone, is a natural insect repellant. Nepetalactone has been shown to be an efficient insect repellent in a number of trials. To deter these pests, sprinkle dried catnip leaves or use catnip-infused sprays about your cat’s territory. However, not all cats will react to catnip in the same way, and not all cats will experience the same degree of success in warding off insects.
10. Holistic Remedies and Alternative Therapies
In holistic veterinary medicine, catnip is frequently utilised as an alternative treatment. When combined with other therapy, it can help with a wide range of medical issues. If your cat has a preexisting ailment or is on medicine, getting your vet’s approval before using catnip as a therapy is very important.
The risks of catnip for cats
Catnip is typically healthy for cats, but there are certain precautions you should take. The excitement and agitation caused by catnip in some cats might manifest as scratching, biting, or even aggression. If your cat’s behaviour changes or seems to be ingesting a lot of catnip, you should reduce or eliminate their access to it. Keeping cats away from catnip while you’re not around is crucial since it might cause stomach problems if they eat too much of it.