Here is the low down on catnip! Catnip is a perennial herb in the mint family. Most cats, including lions, tigers, and yes your domesticated house cat are susceptible to the aromatic oils found in the leaves of the plant. We say “most” because genetically about a quarter of cats don’t seem to respond at all to catnip.

What happens to those cats that do respond to catnip? Well, if you’re a science buff, when your cat sniffs the volatile oil in catnip it interacts with feline nasal tissue, which turns on sensory neurons that stimulate certain areas of their brain and gives them a hyperactive reaction. On the other hand, if your cat eats the catnip, they usually settle into a zoned-out state of bliss. Either state, hyperactive or bliss, usually lasts for about 10 minutes.

Is catnip safe for your cat? The answer to that is yes it’s both safe for your cat to sniff or eat and it’s non-addictive. Some people use it as a training aid, so if your cat is clawing up your furniture, you might try rubbing some catnip on their scratching post. Some people don’t like the idea of their cat getting “high,” so it’s a matter of personal choice if you want your cat to indulge, but again, it won’t hurt your cat.

You can grow catnip in your garden or on your windowsill. It can be purchased as a plant from your local garden center, or you can grow it from seed. Even easier, you can buy it dried or in toys from pet supply stores. If you buy it loose store it in your freezer because the potency of the catnip oils doesn’t last a long time when exposed to air.

Go ahead, buy your cat a catnip toy and enjoy the show!

Check out this link; photographer Andrew Marttila captured photos of cats “on” catnip.

More Catnip information.

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