We know that cats go bananas for the stuff, and that the catnip plant is found in pet shops across the globe, but why do cats love these leaves so much? What is it about catnip that cats go so cuckoo for it? This handy infographic should answer all of your questions.
The catnip plant is widely known about, but rarely understood.
It is known that cats love to sniff, nibble, and roll around in
it, but do you have any idea why?
If you are like most people out there, then you are pretty much
in the dark.
While much of what entices cats to this particular strain of
vegetation is still not understood, there are more than a few
interesting tidbits of information out there that can help give
you a better idea of what catnip is, how it works, and why your
cats cannot get enough of the
What is Catnip: An Infographic
Why Do Cats Love Catnip?
There is no doubt that cats absolutely love catnip. Cat owners
often treat their furry friends by allowing them to play with
catnip but are not entirely sure why their cats get so excited
when introduced to the scent of this mysterious herb. Read on
to find out more about catnip and its effect on your feline
Origins of Catnip
Catnip is another name given to Nepeta Cataria, an herb that
was originally grown in parts of Europe, Asia and the Middle
East as a perennial plant. Today, the herb is cultivated all
over the world. The plant can be used in many ways and also
provides mild sedative effects when used on humans. The herb
has plenty of medicinal uses but is not used for those purposes
The Effects of Catnip
We often see our cats reacting with excitement when they smell
catnip. These behaviors include rubbing or rolling around in
it, hyperactive jumping and leaping, moaning or purring,
licking and even aggression. Research has concluded that not
all cats are sensitive to this herb. Only about 50 to 60
percent of the cat population is affected by this herb,
exhibiting different behavioral characteristics when they come
across the scent of catnip. Cats carry a gene that is sensitive
to the scent of nepetalactone, an organic compound found in the
herb. The compound triggers the smell receptors and activates
the pleasurable pheromones in cats.
Every cat reacts differently to the scent of catnip based on
the exposure and freshness of the plant. Leopards, cougars,
servals, and lynxes are also known to be triggered by the scent
of catnip. Lions and tigers also react to the scent but not as
strong as the other felines. The effects of catnip can last
between 10-15 minutes, during which time the cat is noticeably
excited. After this period lapses, it can take another few
hours for the cat's olfactory senses to be reset to normal.
Is Catnip Safe?
Research shows that catnip is very safe for cats to consume or
play with. Cats cannot become addicted to catnip and are only
triggered by the scent of the herb. Cat owners often get
worried when their pet becomes erratic, which could probably
mean that your kitty is most likely sensitive to the scent.
Catnip is best suited for adult cats in the form of fresh
catnip leaves or a catnip scented toy. As cats become energetic
after their exposure to catnip, this can help your kitty stay
active and healthy.
Catnip is not entirely safe for pregnant kitties as the
triggers may cause the cat to become too excited and possibly
injure itself. Research has also not provided concrete evidence
about the effects of catnip on a pregnant cat and whether any
effects could pass on to unborn kittens. Catnip is a wonderful
herb to bring some excitement and playfulness to your kitty’s
life. You can also opt to grow fresh catnip in your garden to
provide your kitty with the best entertainment.
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