If you own a cat, you must have known about Catnips, but did you know it is a very effective stimulant that gets your cat to do impossible tasks?
The herb commonly grown in many parts of Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia is not only known for its aromatic leaves but also for its hypnotic effects on the feline.
Catnip contains an essential oil that acts as a feline pheromone stimulant and relaxant, which may help reduce stomach pain, bloating, anxiety, and stress in cats.
It may also relax your cat so they would quietly go to bath or sleep soundly. Read on to find out how to introduce catnips into your cat's life.
What Is Catnip?
Catnip is an herb from the mint family native to Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and Asian regions and is known for its aromatic leaves.
Also known as catswort, catwort, and catmint, it got its name from the cat's acute liking.
The herb contains essential oil with a compound called nepetalactone, which has properties similar to Valerian (herbal sedative).
Nepetalactone is produced by Nepeta cataria and many other plants belonging to the genus Nepeta, protecting plants from insects.
The exciting thing is that it has unique effects on cats, where it exhibits a similar effect to how humans react to Cannabis.
Cats mostly love it because the feline pheromone stimulant found in the herb helps them relax.
However, not all cats are equally affected by catnips as it depends on their genes and age.
About 1/3 of cats don’t have the “catnip gene.” About 30% to 20% of cats don’t react to catnip other than slight confusion and total boredom!
Kittens under six months old and elderly cats often won’t react to nepetalactone.
Why is Your Cat Obsessed with It?
They are obsessed with catnip because the feline pheromone stimulant helps them relax in many different ways.The smell of catnip has a stimulating effect on cats as it targets their “happy” receptors.
However, eating the catnip may have the opposite effect, where they would become mellow.
Most cats react to catnip by rolling, flipping, rubbing, and eventually zoning out. Some may start frolicking and become downright aggressive.
Moreover, it has some health benefits as it reduces stomach pain, bloating and a few psychological issues.
Therefore, other cat owners often use catnip toys Yeowww! Hearrrt Attack or meals with catnip to keep their cats relaxed. If you wonder about its side effects, do not worry because catnip is entirely healthy for your cats.
However, keep the dosage to a minimum, a tablespoon, as high doses may cause physiological side effects.
Too much exposure to catnip can make your cat cranky or even nauseous. Hence, it is best to consult with your vet before administering catnips.
Catnip comes with many health and physiological benefits. Here are a few of the benefits.
Catnip acts as a sedative when eaten. It primarily reduces anxiety, stress, and depression levels in cats.
If your cat may seem anxious, you can introduce some catnip in their meal to induce sedation.
Add a small amount of dried catnip to the regular canned food to help them transition through a stressful situation.
You can do the same when taking them to a vet visit.
2. Relieves Stomach Pain
Catnip works excellent in reducing stomach pain, bloating, diarrhea, and cramps. It helps in relieving muscle spasms in the intestinal tract.
3. Treats Inflamed Skin
It works great in treating irritated or inflamed skin in cats. The essential oil in the catnip will help relieve inflammation. Prepare a hot water solution by dissolving a tablespoon of dried catnip in hot water and let it sit for a while.
Pour the solution into warm water and bath your cat with it.
4. Keep Them Engaged
Cats can quickly get bored. It is a fact that they are picky with their play items. It can lead to aggressive behavior in cats, such as tearing furniture, bedding, curtains, etc.
You can use catnip-induced toys and pillows to relieve their aggressive behavior.
Sprinkle some dried catnip on the toys and scratching posts. Otherwise, provide them catnip pillow and toys!
5. Active Play Session
Depending on how they react to catnip, you can use it as a tool to add enrichment. Many cat owners use catnip to encourage active play sessions.
Spraying catnip oil on their scratching post or hiding catnip treats in a food puzzle are a few great ways to keep them engaged throughout the day.
Some catnip bubbles may also keep them engaged by letting them chase the bubbles.
6. Pest Repellent
Catnip contains nepetalactone that perfectly repels mosquitos, ticks, and mites. Moreover, the essential oils in the catnip work well as pest repellents, which are 10x more effective than DEET.
Use it regularly during spring and summer to ward off pests from your home.
Check out this infographic for more information.
Some cats do not react well to catnips, especially males who respond aggressively.
Stop giving catnip to your cats if the effects do not seem to be as you have desired. Even better, consult with your Veterinarian in Urbandale to find out how to effectively use catnip.