Ever wonder why your cat loves catnip so much? Before we reveal the answer, lets first discuss what exactly catnip is.
What Is Catnip?
Catnip is a type of plant that can be categorized in the mint family. It was originally native to Europs, Africa and Asia but can now be found located in parts of North America as well.
Identifying A Catnip Plant
On average, catnip plants can grow to about 2 feet tall.
They can be identified by their dark green leaves that look almost heart shaped. People who are familiar with mint leaves will recognize a similar look.
Catnip will usually have small sprouts. They can differ in color from white, purple, pink and even blue.
Other Names For Catnip
Catnip actually has a couple different names. Some people refer to it as catswort.
Catmint is also a common name for catnip.
If you are a scientist, you might reference catnip as Nepeta cataria. It is not recommended that you walk in to your local Pet’s Mart asking for Nepeta cataria though.
So What Is It About Catnip That Cats Love?
The reason why cats love catnip comes down to pheromones. If you are unfamiliar to what pheromones are, in a nutshell they are chemicals that alter the behavior of animals and insects.
Catnip contains an oil that is called nepetalactone in which cats are highly stimulated by. This makes their little cat brains crazy, in a good way.
What Does Catnip Do To A Cat?
Catnip is thought to give cats their own high. When a cat smells or ingests catnip, they experience a state of Euphoria.
The plant does not have the same effect on all cats though. 25% to 50% of cats do not experience anything from catnip.
A lot of cats from Australia for example are not affected by catnip.
Interesting catnip fact: Catnip is not just for house cats! If you happen to have a pet lion or tiger, they also tend to love catnip.
Cats After Eating Catnip
Maybe you are wondering if your cat has been out all night eating catnip. Well, there are a few things to look for in your cats after eating catnip.
- Crazy Meowing
- Acting Like They Are Nuts
- Lots Of Rolling Around
- Staring Off in To Space
Catnip effects will only last for about 5 minutes.
While an overdose is not really anything to worry about when a cat is using catnip, there are a few side effects that can be caused from too much catnip.
These side effects include diarrhea, vomiting and an upset stomach.
Other than that, if your cat loves catnip then give them a bit here and there!