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14 Fascinating Facts about Catnip

Catnip BuzzChances are, you’ve seen a cat respond to catnip by rubbing all over it, kicking at it, going crazy, writhing around on the floor…basically going nuts just by sniffing it! We wanted to find out just what it is about catnip that makes our kitties go crazy, and we learned some interesting things:

Catnip is an herb and a member of the mint family. It’s scientific name is Nepeta cataria.

Catnip is also known as catswort or catmint.

It’s native to Europe and was imported to the US and other countries (and now grows like a weed all over North America!)

Catnip in Bloom

A chemical in catnip, nepetalactone, is what’s responsible for giving your cat the familiar “buzz”.

The catnip buzz only lasts for about 10 minutes. Then your kitty gets used it  you’ll have to wait about two hours before your cat is susceptible to its powers again!

Though often compared to LSD or marijuana, catnip is not generally harmful to cats – they cannot overdose on it.

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Male cats tend to like catnip more because the same chemical can be found in a female cat’s urine. Ew!

Some cats like to eat catnip, but the most intense experience is had when your cat smells it. When eaten, catnip seems to make cats mellow, but when they smell it, they typically react with excitement.

Sensitivity to catnip is genetic. About half of cats won’t respond to it at all.

Approximately 30% of domestic house cats who do not react to catnip will react in a similar way to Tatarian honeysuckle sawdust.

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Young kittens and senior cats typically don’t react to catnip. In fact, the trait doesn’t develop until between 3 and 6 months of age.

If made into a tea, catnip can be used by humans as a calming aid, similar to chamomile.

Nepetalactone is an excellent mosquito repellent. It’s said to be ten times more powerful than DEET, a common chemical repellant. Unfortunately, it only lasts for a few hours before it become ineffective. It’s also effective against cockroaches and termites.

Store your catnip in an airtight container or in the freezer to keep it fresh. It will lose its potency over time.

How does your cat react to catnip?

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Pingback: Crazy for Catnip? These Cat Toys Don’t Disappoint! | The Catington Post

  2. Marie

    Jun 8, 2016 at 11:05 pm

    She reacts to it a lot. Likes to eat it

  3. Sherry

    Jun 9, 2016 at 6:47 am

    My Edgar likes to eat it too most of the time, other times he rubs his head in it.

  4. Pingback: Debunking 10 Common Cat Myths – The Catington Post

  5. Jean Heavrin

    Jan 19, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    Mischa is now 7 years old, which makes her a “senior” technically. She eats the catnip but doesn’t seem to have any reaction to it. 🙂

  6. Thomas Cranston

    Sep 1, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    I like to rub my ball sack with it. Makes the head woozy. Great stimulation.

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Just when this dog-eat-dog world has handed you all the poop you can take, it's time to walk the dog. Or wash the dog. Or feed the dog. You get the idea. So welcome to the world of easy-to-care-for cats. Entertainment comes bundled in a furry, huggable, self-cleaning cat who won't beg for your food. In his eyes, you don't eat well enough anyway. Just keep a laser pen handy, sit back and wait for the fun to begin! Cats...ya gotta love 'em.

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