Cat Care 101: All about Catnip

Jerry WalchStarred Page By Jerry Walch, 19th Mar 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Pets>Cats

Cat Nip is a member of the Mint Family, Nepeta Cataria, which has a chemical called Nepetalactone, which affects cats much like delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive chemical found in Cannabis sativa, aka Marijuana, affects us humans.

The “Happy” Pheromone

Although we know a great deal about how THC affect the human animal’s brain, very little is known about how Nepetalactone affects the feline animal’s brain, experts on feline physiology and neurology theorize that the chemical apes the “Happy” pheromone and acts upon the same neural receptors. Although little is known about this chemical works, a great deal is known about the effect Nepetalactone has on most felines, the only felines immune to it are tigers and some domestic felines. Cat Nip sensitivity is an inherited trait and domestic cats either have it or don’t have it, some 20 to 30 percent domestic cats don’t have it.

The “Cat Nip Crazies”

Twenty to thirty percent of all domestic cats don’t have the genetic predilection for Nepetalactone, the 70 to 80 percent that do, all react to the chemical differently. The typical cat nip episode only last from 5 to 10 minutes but during that period of time your kitty may become an amorous lover or a whirling dervous, attacking anything that moves, so until you know how your kitties react to it, tread carefully. Some cats become so hyper that they claw the rugs and furniture, rip their stuffed toys apart, and attack their humans if picked up, watch your cat’s ears, if he develops “airplane ears,” ears that flatten out and point out to the side, don’t try touching him until he comes down from his nip high. If you have a cat that becomes over stimulated by catnip, you don’t have to deprive him of nip all together but you should limit his exposure to it and place him in a room where there’s nothing for him to destroy before giving it to him.

You get What You Pay For

The old adage that you only get what you pay for holds true when it comes to buying commercial catnip for your furry companion, low quality, dollar store variety of catnip is mostly seeds and stems, and has very little Nepetalactone to stimulate and arouse your companion. Shelf life is important too, because catnip loses it potency as it ages. Check the dates on the package before buying it, if you buy your catnip from a major pet store or even a big box store, you should find a “Sell By” date on the package of loose catnip or on the package containing a catnip filled toy, if there isn’t a date don’t buy it. You can extend the life of catnip by storing it in your freezer in an air, moisture tight container; you can also extend the life of a catnip-filled toy by spraying it with natural catnip oil or by rolling them in fresh, loose catnip. Over the years, I have bought many different brands of catnip for my kitties, but the best product I have ever found comes from Cosmic Catnip Products online. I also grow my own catnip and I’ll explain how you can grow your own catnip for your kitties in my next article.

Related Articles:

Cat Care 101: Why do Cats Eat Grass

Cat Care 101: Grow Cat Grass in 4 Easy Steps

Photo Credits:
All photos Morgue File Free Photos


Cat Care, Catnip, Cats, Effects Of Catnip, Happy Pheromone, How It Works, Kittens, Nepeta Cataria, Nepetalactone, Pheromone

Meet the author

author avatar Jerry Walch
Jerry Walch is a 71 year old freelance writer for hire living in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He has been writing since the late 1970s, and writes for both the print and online media. He specializes in

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author avatar Carol Roach
20th Mar 2015 (#)

excellent I am going to try it

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author avatar Jerry Walch
20th Mar 2015 (#)

I'm working on the "How to Grow Catnip" article now, Carol.

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
20th Mar 2015 (#)

We have 4 cats now, as our oldest passed away, but of those four, one is very suspicious of cat nip and tries to avoid it, the others really like though. The cat that just passed away loved it them most.

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author avatar Jerry Walch
20th Mar 2015 (#)

I'm truly sorry for you loss, Mark. For me, having one of my kitties pass over Rainbow Bridge is like losing a human member of my family.

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