A Catnip is a herb that belongs to the mint family and cats are a huge fan of catnip. It has a square and hairy stalk with a green colored and heart shaped leaves that have rough edges. The flowers of catnip are known to provide cats with a high. Sorry, it is not a drug and is considered extremely safe for cats. Catnip can make your otherwise quiet and mellow pet go highly active with full of energy. Cats are sensitive to the chemical found in catnip and react in the above manner. Some cats may not show any adverse reactions. If you find your cat rolling, rubbing his face on the catnip then there is no cause for concern. Some cats even eat them. Can cats eat catnip? Yes, eating catnip is not harmful for your cat and does not adversely affect their health.
Cats are crazy about catnip. When the leaves of catnip are broken they tend to release a chemical that most cats react to. Reaction to catnip is different in each cat and not all cats react to catnip. More than fifty percent cats do not react to catnip while sensitivity to the chemical in catnip is responsible for such behavior in cats. Cats that are sensitive to catnip respond to the chemical nepetalactone, which is an active ingredient in catnip. The chemical reacts on the five senses of a cat that makes him to act in a certain manner.
Reaction to Catnip
Cats that react to catnip eat it or even might lick it. Sniffing catnip has a more potent reaction in cat nipped felines as compared to eating them. It is usually noticed that cats that eat catnip may turn mellow as compared to cats that just smell the catnip. Some cats only smell them while some cats may roll over it. The reaction to catnip is inherited and not all cats carry the sensitive genes. It is usually seen in kittens above the age of 5 months. Young kittens and older cats show no reaction to catnip. If you do not notice any change in your cat’s behavior then there is no cause for worry. Not all cats react and go berserk due to catnip.
Cats can safely eat catnip without harming their health. Catnip, plants cats can eat, is not addictive to cats and you can even purchase catnip products from the pet store to feed your feline friend. Look for catnip that are ground, organic and free of pesticides and stalks. Always buy catnip that has flowers and leaves on it. Though it is safe for cats, do not feed them excessively as it may lead to diarrhea or vomiting. Actually most cats know how much they should be eating and will automatically stop eating them or refuse to eat them. You can safely give him small pinches of catnip to be on a safer side. Never mix catnip along with cat food as it may turn into a habit. It does not have any long-term effect on cats. Whatever effects you notice in your cat after coming in contact with catnip will last for 10 minutes and wear off on its own. It will take him two hours to regain from the cat nipped state. Catnip in the dry form loses its potency and doesn’t last forever. You need to store catnip in an airtight container and keep it safely in a freezer for it to last longer.
Around 50% cats are affected by catnip and to varying degrees. The effect of catnip is not only found in domesticated cats, but also in many wild species of cats like tigers and leopards. You can even grow catnip in your garden for your cat to nibble whenever he wants to. Alternatively you can even dry it and sprinkle them on the floor for them to roll on. Growing catnip is fairly easy. You can even grow from the seed or purchase them straight from a farm. Catnip can be used for humans, but the reactions in humans are rather subdued. It has a sedative effect in humans.
You can safely give catnip to cats, but make sure that you feed him just a few pinches a day. Over eating can cause vomiting and diarrhea in some cats otherwise there are no known side-effects of catnip on cats.