Why do cats love catnip?

Behavior -

Why do cats love catnip?

As any cat owner will no doubt know, there is something called catnip. Many people keep it at home because cats have an excited reaction to it. So many people wondered, why do cats like catnip so much? Let's read on!



What is Catnip?

The official name is Nepeta cataria. Because it looks like mint and has a strong fragrance, it is called catnip in daily life. It has an exciting and stimulating effect on felines. Catnip acts like an hallucinogen, excite cats a stimulant by smell or taste with lavender flowers. Its native range is from Eastern Europe to western China, and its elevation ranges from sea level to nearly 2,500 meters, making it very adaptable and easy to grow.

Catnip is so magical.

Catnip has been known to have some strange effects on cat behavior. This is an amazing plant, and when a cat eats it, it gets really excited. Rich in aromatic essential oils, catnip has a powerful, complex scent when it was touched. Cats get excited and roll around when they smell it, or squint eyes and become intoxicated...
Catnip can cause all kinds of strange reactions for cats, because it contains a chemical called nepeta lactone. It like a pheromone, which will stimulate sensory neurons are connected to the brain, change the various regions of the brain activity and effect cat's mood.


Do all cats like it?

Actually, not all cats like catnip. Generally, 50%~70% of cats get excited by the smell of catnip, but 30 percent of cats don't have any reaction. If your cat is younger than two months old, catnip is basically unresponsive to them. It is only after the cat is half a year old that the reaction starts to become more intense, and the female cat's reaction is stronger than the male cat's.


Cats are not very dependent on catnip. When cats smell catnip, they will appear excited for up to 15 minutes, and some temporary behavioral changes will occur in cats after consumption, such as sneezing, chewing, rubbing, rolling, meowing, etc. If you don't give your cat a sniff of catnip for a long time, it won't feel physically sick. They prefer dried catnip to fresh catnip.



Is it harmful for cats?

Catnip is beneficial to cats. Now most cats are kept indoors when their owners go out. Cats are boring, so they will sleep, which causes lack of exercise. At this time, you can use catnip to interact with cats to increase their play time and exercise. But it doesn't mean cats need catnip to keep healthy.




In summary, catnip does not actually help or harm the health of cats. But be careful not to use catnip frequently or in large quantities, less than once a week! Frequent use of catnip will make cats less sensitive to catnip. Also, catnip can irritate a cat's respiratory system and affect its breathing if used in large amounts at once.