What Is Catnip: Obtain the Best Use of it

Anyone who has zero knowledge of catnip (other names: Cataria, Nepeta Cataria) can assume that this is a safe weed that gets your cat high. The feline species contract relaxed and happier by inhaling the nepetalactone substance of the herb. 

If you are curious about catnip, this article is to clear all your doubts about this herb. If you feed your feline friend with catnip, you shall also learn to control the dosage, as too much catnip will give your cat an upset tummy. 

Feline species are genetically attracted to this plant. It is funny how cats act drunk after consuming the herb as they roll, meow, growl and vocalizes. Some cats get energetic and start running and jumping. However, 33% of the cat species do not seem to react to this at all. 

What is Catnip?

Catnip is a type of herb of the mint family with purple-spotted white flowers and gives a pungent smell that is attractive to cats. Cats tend to search for this plant and steal the leaves as it makes them high.

What Does Catnip Do to a Cat? 

The catnip binds the happy receptors, making them relaxed. In other words, this substance binds the protein receptors in a cat’s brain that are responsible for sensory neuron stimulation causing a chain reaction in their brain. 

Attraction to Cataria is a hereditary behavior in cats. Cats that have gained sexual maturity (over six months of age) are susceptible to its effects. Many say catnip is the Marijuana of cats. Let’s know why-

Do Catnips Get Cats High? 

Cats are highly susceptible to the hallucinogenic effects of catmint because of the essential oil present in it called Nepetalactone. By inhaling the Nepetalactone, most get high and they get happier and relaxed. 

Some experts proclaim that ‘Nepeta Cataria‘ has a similar effect to Marijuana and LSD in cats, but it only works on the cat and the pungent scent is very attractive to cats because of the chemical present in it. The herb does not affect a human if consumed because humans don’t have the brain structure as the cat species. 

How Cats React to Catnip? 

It sounds funny when you hear the cat is high on catnip, right? We have heard of a drunk man or a drunk human but how would a drunk cat react? Many owners like to give their cats this herb because of their funny and entertaining reaction to it. 

Source: Meowy Janes

Most cats react to catnip by rolling, flipping, rubbing and eventually zoning out. Some cats act like they are in the heat after sniffing the scent of the herbs. They yowl, roll, rub and even drool. 

This is not drug abuse to your feline companion. The nepetalactone chemical in the smell relaxes their brain. Catnip’s effect is not perennial, it is short-lived in cats for about 15 minutes. 

How Can Catnip Help Your Cat: Obtain the Best Use of Catnip

If you think catnip is only used for fun and watching silly things your cat does, then hold your thought. Apart from the fun part, catnip has many beneficial sides and advantages. This part is focused on what other than fun, the herb can bring your cat.

Catnip for Stress Relief 

Cats are sensitive creatures and they can get stressed if something abnormal or unusual goes around them. A change in the household or introduction to a new member in the family or even sometimes shifting your house makes your cat stressed.

What stress does a cat have? Due to pressure, they develop rashes in their skin that cause shedding and bald patches. Many cats quit eating due to anxiety and stress. They get emotionally disturbed due to stress. Their digestive system seems to get influenced as well and they get an upset tummy. 

As we have discussed earlier, the catnip targets the happy receptors in the brain and relaxes your cat. As the substance called nepetalactone effectively sedates the balls of energy, it helps relieve stress from your cat’s head. 

They start to feel happy and relaxed apart from the silly movements they make after sniffing the scent from ‘Nepeta Cataria’. You can serve dried and fresh catnip leaves to your cat, which is beneficial for their skin too as it avoids shedding. 

Natural Pain Reliever 

Cataria can be used as a natural pain reliever for your cat as it makes them relaxed and calm and cannot feel the pain once they consume the fresh catnip leaves or weeds. We often notice after vaccinating our cat, they seem to be in pain and hide. 

Source: Farmers Imanac

A mild wound or getting hit also causes them pain and they have to suffer the pain without letting you know about it. But the herb can make your pet not feel the pain of the wound or the pain after vaccination or getting shot.

This keeps their mind relaxed and they instantly get happy. If your cat has mild or temporary pain or simply the pain after injecting them, you can provide them with the catnip to get rid of the pain temporarily. But the pain in the wound or severe pain should be cured by medicines as prescribed by the vet for medical reasons.  

Tricks and Training 

The tricks you use to teach your dog won’t help teach your cat, so you need a better way to teach your cat how to learn. As it seems that they repeatedly respond to catnip, you can use it as a condition for them to do the right thing. 

Catnip for training your cat can be good but you need to remember this relaxes your cat for a few minutes. Apply catnip over the things you want your cat to use. In this way, you can train them on what to do. 

Have you brought a new bed or toys for your cat but they do not seem to use it? Apply some dried catnip over their bed or toys and see the results. Your cat is most likely to use the toys you bought for them because of the scent of catnip in them. 

This plant is a very efficient tool to train your cat to learn tricks. They are attracted to this because of the scent and when you use it as the condition for them to do anything, they learn quite easily.

Is Catnip Safe for Your Cat? 

Catnip makes your cat high and this lasts for five minutes and they gain immunity towards it for the next few hours. They are not themselves once they’re high. But don’t bear the misconception that this weed is unethical or toxic for your cat.  This is a natural stress reliever for your cat without any toxic materials present in it. 

Once they stop getting high, they will eventually lose interest in it. Again many cats get overindulged in catnip and respond to it, so you need to keep the supply under control. Too much catnip does not kill your cat, but it often leads to an upset tummy with diarrhea and vomiting. 

Can I Give Catnip to a Pregnant Cat? 

If your cat is pregnant, you should not give your cat catnip because its uterine stimulant might cause your cat to go into premature labor. It is better not to give catnip to a baby under six months of age or before attaining sexual maturity.

How to Control Catnip Dosage? 

As discussed earlier, too much catnip is not suitable for your cat. Please don’t allow them to have it whenever they desire to, limit their exposure to the herb as much as you can. If you want your cat to enjoy the benefits of catnip give, allow them to have it once a week and not so frequently. 

Please do not place the plant in an area they can reach easily, like the table, balcony or an open area easy for them to catch. Restrict them to the herb and allow them to consume in a controlled way. Uncontrolled use of this herb has health risks for your cat.

To Wrap Up

You can serve catnip as a beneficial plant with huge health benefits for cats. They are fresh and dry for the cats to enjoy. It is funny how they get high on it and growl around. Apart from the fun side, they have huge health benefits and catnip acts as stress reliever and a tool to relax your cat. 

Catnips should be given in a controlled way. Pregnant cats must not come in contact with catnip which should be guided strictly. Too much use of catnip has health risks for your cat. But overall, this is a very good natural herb that cats are attracted to by heredity and provides great health benefits for your cat. 

Jayne Taylor

Jayne started out as a veterinary nurse before she had her son, Joshua, and later her daughter Lily. Jayne is a passionate cat lover and has two fur-babies in Max and Silky. She admits to have a particular soft spot for russian blue cats and says she does her best not to make Max jealous when she pays special attention to Silky her russian blue. While Jayne was on maternity leave she noticed it wasn't easy to find the information she wanted about her beloved animal so she decided to start Cat Informer!

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