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Catnip. Effects on Cats and Kittens
What is Catnip?
Catnip is a herb belonging to the mint family.
Its botanical name is
Nepeta cataria. It is sometimes referred to
plant has jagged heart shaped leaves and small white flowers
with purple spots.
of the plant smells faintly of mint.
Catnip is a perennial. Perennial is defined as aplantthat
lives for more than two years
The active ingredient in Catnip is an oil; Nepetalactone,
which is found in the leaves of the plant.
What are the effects of Catnip on a Cat?
owners have described the affect of Catnip on their cat as
Nepetalactone is said to have a hallucinogenic effect. The cat
will often rub, lick, sniff and eat the catnip plant. After
this contact the cat will often undergo short term
behavioral changes. Catnip can affect different cats in
different ways. Some of the more common effects are:
Intoxicated behavior or drunken appearance
Rolling around the floor
Drooling and 'smiling' (showing gums)
Meowing more than usual
Adversely, some cats show signs of aggression
Catnip affect all Cats?
Catnip only affects
about 50% of cats. The other 50% have no interest in it
It has no effect on
very young kittens less than 12 weeks of age.
are some Cats affected by Catnip and others not?
It is believed to be
genetic. Simply speaking, cats either have the gene which
causes a response to catnip or they do not. In other words
it is inherited.
safe to give my cat Catnip?
Catnip is non toxic and
non addictive. It is safe to eat, however, ingestion only,
does not produce a reaction in cats. It is the smell of
catnip that prompts a response.
Where do I get Catnip?
buy a Catnip plant at your local nursery. Or buy some catnip
seeds and grow your own.
Catnip is also
available in many other forms from your pet supply store.
Some of the catnip products available include: dried
catnip, catnip toys, catnip oil, catnip spray and catnip
Larger cats such as the bobcat, lynx, tiger and
lion can also be affected by Catnip.
Other uses for Catnip
Nepetalactone the active ingredient in Catnip has been shown
to have insect repellent properties. It seems to work well
warding off mosquitoes and cockroaches.
In humans, catnip has claims to be
useful in the treatment of colds and flu. Its sedative
properties could also be useful in inducing sleep and
calming the stomach which may relieve
diarrhea and nausea. It has been used to treat colic and
anxiety in children.