Catnip Explained! by Jenna B

What is Catnip and why does my cat go crazy for it?

Catnip is known for its effects on cats like making them roll around on the floor, making them chase and paw at what seems to us as “invisible birds”. Catnip comes from an herb called Nepeta cataria, a close relative to common herbs like spearmint and oregano. The active ingredient in the herb is believed to mimic a cat’s pheromone.

What are pheromones?

Pheromones are a type of chemical communication between cats that can indicate if there’s a cat that’s feeling stressed, feeling happy, etc. Think of it almost as an “odor” that they release that when other cats smell it, know how the other cat was feeling. What catnip does is mimic a good pheromone so it tends to make cats very happy when they’re around it.

How will my cat react?

Every cat is different and may react to catnip differently. Some will become aroused, some will seem to be hallucinating, some may drool, and some may become vocal…

What if my cat doesn’t react to it at all?

It is known that a little under half of the cat population actually doesn’t seem to like catnip and won’t go near it. There’s nothing wrong with that, every cat is different!

Where is it found?

Catnip is found stuffed in a lot of cat toys, or there are also sprays that owners can buy with the extracted oils that work just as well. You can also find catnip at pet stores that you can either use to re-stuff you pet’s toys with, or even just sprinkle some on the floor and let them have some fun rolling around in it.

What if my cat eats it?

It’s the olfactory response that will make your cat react to it; the ingestion of it, even though does not seem to be harmful, doesn’t usually make any positive result. The active ingredient just ends up being degraded in the digestive tract.

**Fun fact: in large enough amounts, catnip can even attract felines of the bigger variety, like tigers and lions!**