When someone says catnip, you think of those funny cat videos on YouTube, where the cat seems to be completely off their rocker and rolling around the floor crazily! But is this how all cats react to catnip? Is catnip safe? What happened if my dog eats catnip? These the kind of questions we have the answer to in the PetnPony guide to catnip!
Catnip (Nepeta cataria) is a plant that looks similar to that of mint, with small pink flowers that usually blooms from late spring to the autumn. It contains the organic compound “Nepetalactone” which is responsible for the strange behaviour some cats exhibit when they come in contact with it.
The effects of catnip vary on how the cat receives it. If the cat has smelled it, they will react in a variety or crazy manners: acting drunk, rolling around in it and general being quite hyperactive. If the catnip is ingested however, it will act as a sedative.
It’s also a good fly repellent, especially when it comes to mosquitos, cockroaches and termites!
The Nepetalactone reacts with the cat’s nasal tissue and replicates pheromones that engage their feline “happy” receptors and bring the cat a feeling of euphoria
No, it only affects around 67–80% of cats. Whether or not a cat responds to catnip is hereditary, and you won’t be able to tell if they are affected until your cat reaches about six months old and have started to reach sexual maturity.
Catnip can also affect big cats such as lions, leopards and lynxes! They react in a similar way to domestic cats; however, lions are tigers do not react consistently unlike other members of the big cat family.
If ingested by a human it is completely safe and will act as a mild sedative. In fact, it's been used in history as a cure for migraines and as a tea to aid sleep.
In dogs, it will have a similar sedative effect but can also have positive effects on your dog such as relief from indigestion, healing wounds and even a diuretic. However, it is advised not to purposefully give your dog catnip unless you talk to your vet first, and should never be given to a pregnant dog.
Your cat does this to try and break the leaves and the stem open in an attempt to release as much nepetalactone as possible, they want as much of that smell as possible!
No, in fact, if your cat is given Catnip too frequently they will no longer be affected by the herb! In addition to this, they will never seek out or crave catnip like addicts would do, they simply enjoy it when they can.
No, Catnip is a natural and safe herb, and if your cat accidentally eats a lot of catnip, the worst thing that will happen is a short bout of diarrhoea and then your cat will be back to normal in no time!
We sell a catnip spray and an assortment of catnip toys! Have a look: