Why Do Cats Love Catnip?
Have you ever found yourself watching your cat play with a toy filled with catnip and wondered why he loves it so much? So have we. Read more below about what catnip is and why “some” cats really love it!
What is Catnip?
Catnip is actually a plant that is part of the mint family. It grows two to three feet tall and has sturdy stems with heart-shaped leaves. Naive to Africa, Asia, and Europe, catnip can now be found all over the world.
The chemical in catnip, Nepetalactone is responsible for how your cat reacts to catnip. While catnip may act as a drug to your cat; it’s not a drug and not addictive. The result is a kind of chemical reaction that gives the cat a sense of euphoria or overwhelming happiness. The effect has been compared to that of a hallucinogenic drug on humans.
Do All Cats Love Catnip?
Interestingly enough, not all cats will love catnip. It’s not even really about likes and dislikes amongst different cats. It really boils right down to your cat’s genetics. Heredity will determine whether or not your cat will enjoy catnip or not. In fact, according to the Humane Society, only 50 percent of cats will experience a reaction to catnip.
It’s called catnip sensitivity. Furthermore, catnip sensitivity will not become apparent until a cat reaches the age of three to six months old. So, if your kitten doesn’t seem to like catnip, he might still have inherited the sensitivity, but might just be too young to experience the reaction.
How Do Cats React to Catnip?
If your cat has indeed inherited catnip sensitivity then he will probably let you know based on how he acts. Surprisingly enough, the reaction you notice all depends on whether your cat sniffs or eats the catnip. Your cat will experience a more hyper reaction when he sniffs the catnip. You may notice your cat rolling around on the floor or flopping his body back and forth. Other cats may show signs of aggressive behaviors such as biting. He might vocalize in different ways, too.
If your cat eats the catnip, he’ll have an entirely different effect. He will calm down and lie low. Each little indulgent catnip session can last up to about ten minutes or more. After that time, your cat may seem to be unaffected by the catnip.
Can Your Cat Have Too Much Catnip?
Yes. Once your cat loses interest, don’t force the issue. Let him have a rest. In fact, if there’s a thing as too much of a good thing when it comes to catnip, a cat can get sick and potentially have episodes of vomiting and/or diarrhea so don’t overdo it. Whether your cat loves it or not, just remember it’s all about genes. Heredity will determine after your cat reaches 6 months of age, whether or not he will be affected by catnip.
Check out a few of our favorite brands of catnip on Amazon. Double click on the image to learn more about them!
Nicole founded Miami Pet Concierge in May 2007 with a mission to provide Miami, Florida’s pet parents with personalized pet care plans based on their pets’ species, age, breed, health, and lifestyle – All while keeping their pets “happy at home.” In addition, offering pet care education to all pet owners to help them become great pet parents.