Catnip Plant For Cats: Definition, Effects, Benefits, Why Do Cats Love It, and Is It safe? Have you ever seen a cat sniffing around a kind of plant and looks so fond of it that it can’t get away from it? Yes, the fact is that there is one type of plant that is very liked by cats, namely the Catnip plant.
Cat lovers must be familiar with the word “catnip”. This bush plant growing in Eurasia is a mint plant that can attract cats. The effect is the same as ecs**tasy in humans, which is to cause happiness in the cat. As the owner, we are also happy to see the cat again cheerful with the presence of this plant. However, not all cats are affected by it. The male will feel the scent of catnip more than the female.
What is Catnip?
This plant with the scientific name Nepeta cataria is not only known as Catnip. In some other areas, plants that are still included in the Lamiaceae family, a type of mint plant is also often called Catswort or Catmint.
Catnip’s distribution initially came from southern and eastern Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia, and parts of China before spreading more widely in New Zealand and North America.
The name Catnip itself refers to the fondness of almost all cats towards this plant. In addition, the Catnip plant is also popularly used as an ingredient for making tea. About the look, catnip plants have a look almost like mint plants in general.
Why Do Cats Love Catnip Plant?
According to researchers, this nepetalactone substance is similar to the molecule that cats use to communicate, namely pheromones.
When the substance enters the cat’s nose, it is bound to the recipient of pheromone stimulus.
Well, therefore, the cat’s brain gets a signal to do some things, here.
This substance affects the olfactory part of the cat that processes the scent, the part of the amygdala that is related to emotions and thinking, then the hypothalamus that is sensitive to many things.
But, not all cats have the same response when given a catnip plant. In the world, only about 50 – 75 percent of cats respond to this plant.
Because of the interest of cats in these catnip plants is a genetic condition in it.
Interestingly, big cats such as lions and jaguars also do the same when smelling catnip plants.
Effects of catnip on cats
The base ingredient of catnip is part of the same plant family as mint namely nepetalactone, a chemical believed to resemble cat pheromones.
When this nepetalactone enters the cat’s sense of smell, it stimulates sensory neurons that trigger chemical reactions in the brain.
The result is a kind of chemical reaction that gives cats a feeling of euphoria or overwhelming happiness. Such effects are comparable to hallucinogenic drugs in humans.
As a result, the cat will behave very strangely, but it is very pleasant for the cat itself and its owner.
Catnip has no effect on all cats, only 80 percent. Older kittens and cats are less affected by catnip effects, such as Australian cats.
Is it safe for cats to eat catnip?
This is because the natural substance called nepetalactone contained in it can change the behavior of the cat. The duration lasts for 10-30 minutes and has no harmful side effects. When smell or even eaten, take it easy, catnip has properties such as sedatives that can put the cat to sleep.
When you’re meeting a catnip, your cat’s behavior will look like sniffing and spinning around. They will lick and chew, then snore and meow loudly. At first glance, the effect is the same as when humans are trying illegal drugs.
However, it is confirmed that the plant with the Latin name Nepeta cataria is safe for the cat. It’s just that, you need to pay attention to the dosage of the catnip itself. The possible potential of catnip is the onset of diarrhea or vomiting if your pet cat consumes too much of this plant.
Catnip Plant For Cats: Catnip benefits for cats
You can use catnip as a tool to train your cat to stay healthy. Without it realizes that it was exercising. Try to spray the catnip liquid in its place of clawing – that way, your cat will be more eager to claw and bite it, and not on your chair. Not only does it deter it from bad habits, but also as a reward for its good behavior.