Do you ever wonder why your cat is crazy for catnip? There are a multitude of reasons for this fun activity and why your cat loves it, which we will explain a little later. In the meantime, do you wonder or know what catnip is made of? Would you believe it if someone told you that catnip is a family member of the Mint plant? Well, believe it or not, it is. Who knew that our feline friends would love such a minty fresh lifestyle?

Even though catnip is a part of the mint family, it does not look like mint. Catnip has jagged, heart-shaped leaves with lavender flowers that faintly smells like mint. This plant is very unique because it has an active ingredient called nepetalactone. This active ingredient is encased in microscopic bulbs that coat the leaves, stem, and seedpods. When the seedpod rupture, the active ingredient nepetalactone, releases into the air causing the playful effect in your cat.

DO ALL CATS LOVE CATNIP?

Typically, catnip does not affect kittens until they are about six months old and begin to reach sexual maturity. As your cat reacts to catnip, he or she will exhibit behaviors like rubbing their head and body on the herb, jumping and rolling around, and act like they are "high". Catnip can help reduce stress in a cats life and is a fun and safe way to let your cat chill out. However, not all cats enjoy catnip and some will never even react to the plant. Experts report that one in three cats are not affected by the active ingredient in catnip, which is totally okay. If your cat doesn't react to catnip, don't sweat it. There is nothing wrong with your cat, they just aren't a fan. If your cat does not enjoy catnip, there are plenty of catnip-free toys to distract your cat throughout the day. You can try treat dispensing toys, scratching posts, or wands.

HOW LONG WILL IT LAST?

The catnip effect usually last about 10 minutes, after which they become temporarily immune to catnip's effects for about 30 minutes. At a certain point your cat will have had enough of the catnip and will walk away from it. This is perfectly normal. After they have chosen to take a break from the catnip, they will move likely not show interest in the scent for a few hours.

WHAT IS CATNIP USED FOR?

Catnip is mostly used for playtime. Time to encourage your kitty to go wild. However, there are more uses for the natural plant too. You can use it as a training tool for your cat. If they are having a hard time getting familiar with a new scratching post or bed, sprinkle a little bit of catnip on it to help them warm up to it. This encourages your cat to use their new scratching post and teaches them that it's okay to use it. This is not only good at creating targeted play areas for your cat, but is also a positive reinforcement and will help train your cat on what is good to scratch and what is bad.

Catnip is nontoxic for cats and can even help lower their stress levels during stressful times like trips to the vet, groomers, or in foster homes. Not only can it be used to help lower stress levels, but it can also be placed in your cat's favorite toys and entice them to have an active lifestyle… aka exercise.

OTHER WAYS TO USE CATNIP

Worried about the monthly expense catnip might cause? Don't! Do it yourself and grow a catnip plant at home! This is a fairly easy task that you and your cat will both love because catnip repels mosquitos! Plus, catnip grown at home is organic! The best time to grow catnip is during Spring, with full sun and sandy soil. This will make it grow more efficiently. However, if you need catnip now, you can always purchase a full grown catnip plant and trim what you need. In time, the place that you trim from will grow back.

Catnip can also be used as a spray. Using a catnip spray would make training your cat a very easy task. In order to make catnip spray, steep catnip in warm or hot water for about 5 minutes. Remove the plant from the water and place it in a spray bottle. Simply, spray the solution where ever your cat needs to go and use it as a target. The good news about catnip spray is that there is no mess but is still enjoyable for your cat. Catnip spray is also a good alternative is your cat is too sensitive to the dried form of catnip. The spray is a lighter and more subtle use of catnip. Because it is so subtle, it may not affect your cat. If this is the case, feel free to switch to the dehydrated version.

WHAT TOYS ARE BEST TO USE WITH CATNIP?

When shopping for your cats next new toy, look for toys infused with or stuffed with catnip. Usually, toys made with plush materials are able to hold the catnip scent a lot longer than a plastic toy would. FAT CAT's line of cat toys are stuffed with 100% made in the USA, organic catnip. These cat toys come in a variety of play styles and are made from a durable canvas material that holds in the catnip scent.

You can also go the old fashioned route, and sprinkle some catnip on the toys or in your cat's play area. Just adding catnip to your cat's playtime will make your kitty playful, active, and excited for play!

Sources:

  1. https://www.marthastewart.com/2140307/what-is-catnip
  2. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/experts-how-does-catnip-work-on-cats/

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