Fun Facts About Catnip

Cats are amazing creatures like no other; they can hunt for their own meals, bathe themselves and then sleep for at least 20 hours a day. So when it comes to entertainment, you better bring your “A” game. There are so many toys out there to keep them busy, but if your cat is like mine, there is nothing better than catnip (unless you have an empty cardboard box). We’ve all seen how it makes some cats go crazy, they roll in it, run around like maniacs, drooling and vocalizing.

Have you ever wondered what makes catnip so special? Well here are some interesting facts about “the nip:”

  • Catnip (Nepeta Cataria) grows wild all over the world, although it originated in Europe, Africa and Asia you can now find it growing in Canada and the United States.
  • It’s also known as catswort or catmint. Cat grass is an entirely different plant.
  • Catnip also works as an excellent insect repellent. Mosquitos, cockroaches, flies, termites and deer ticks hate the smell, so it’s a great plant to have in your garden but be aware that it spreads very quickly as it is part of the mint family.
  • It blooms late spring through early fall and produces small, fragrant pink to white flowers.
  • Catnip attracts butterflies, bees and other pollinators.
  • The chemical compound in catnip is called Nepetalactone which causes cats to get “high” (like marijuana or LSD) for about 10-20 minutes when inhaled or ingested. The effects cannot be repeated until about 30 minutes to an hour after it has worn off.
  • Catnip is 100% safe and non-addictive.
  • It affects cats differently; some feel a type of euphoria, while others can become aggressive.
  • Not all cats are affected by catnip; only about 70% of cats will feel the effects of it.
  • Male cats are more susceptible than female cats, and it seems to be an inherited trait.
  • Kittens under the age of 6 months and senior cats are not affected by catnip, but large cats, like leopards, cougars, lions and tigers can be.
  • It can be used for training by applying it to a new scratching post or toy to entice your cat. I use dried catnip and sprinkle it on our scratching posts to attract my cat to the scratching post and away from the furniture.
  • If you are bringing a new cat into the home, catnip can help cat-to-cat introductions go more smoothly.
  • You can sprinkle some in the cat carrier if you need to travel with your cat.
  • It’s also safe for your cat to eat, if they do it a lot of it, you might see some gastro upset like vomiting or diarrhea.
  • You may notice it works similar to a sedative when ingested.
  • Catnip toys can be stored in the freezer to keep them fresh.
  • You can add a little catnip to your cat’s food to help entice his appetite.
  • It comes in many forms, fresh leaves, dried, powder and sprays. You can also find it as an added ingredient in some cat treats.

If you have any questions, give us a call at 519.773.3911.

Written by: Cindy, Floor Manager/CCR