Catnip, scientifically known as Nepeta cataria, has been a favorite product among our feline friends for years. This fragrant herb originated from Asia and Europe and is also fondly referred to as catwort, catmint and field balm. Nevertheless, no matter what you may call it, cats seem to go nuts when they have access to it.
The Allure of Catnip
While it is not exactly known what happens in your kitty’s brain when it is given catnip, it is known that a particular chemical in the herb is what triggers a response. This chemical is called nepetalactone, and research has shown that it is able to cause various behavior patterns in cats that are sensitive to it.
Not all felines are affected by catnip; however, it has been determined that as many as two thirds of them are. Additionally, kittens that are under three months typically do not react to the herb. If your kitty is sensitive to catnip, only one or two sniffs of it will have your furry friend rolling around in bliss.
The effects of catnip are usually short-lived lasting only about 10 to 15 minutes for most felines, and how your cat will react to it may vary from another feline. While some kitties may become intensely playful, others may become extremely calm and lovable. Nevertheless, no matter what reaction your pet may have, it is a fact that cats and catnip are a delightful combination.
How to Provide Catnip to Your Cat
Catnip, which is a cousin to oregano and basil, may be purchased in dry form or in various toys. Most owners prefer to purchase the dry form because when it loses its effectiveness, they are able to replace it with a fresh supply. You can simply add catnip flakes or pellets to a specially-designed catnip toy or even sprinkle it in a bowl.
There is also a convenient catnip spray, which you can spray directly onto such things as favorite toys, cat beds, bedding, scratching posts or other kitty furniture. When shopping for catnip, be sure to look for 100 percent pure catnip. Furthermore, pellets seem to be stronger than flakes.
Training Your Cat with Catnip
Since cats love catnip so much, it can also be a valuable training tool. For example, if your kitty likes to scratch your furniture, try spraying some catnip on a scratching post. Whenever your pet scratches the post, offer some praise and/or a treat. In the same way, you can train your cat to sleep in its own bed, rather than on yours.
Catnip For Dogs
Although catnip is a product that is targeted towards entertaining felines, dogs can benefit from the herb as well. In fact, catnip contains many essential vitamins and minerals including vitamins C and E, magnesium, tannins and flavonoids, which can help keep your dog’s digestive system healthy. However, before you give your dog catnip, consult your veterinarian first.
While catnip is not necessary for the health of your feline friend, it can provide you with a powerful training tool and your kitty with a safe way to have fun. Giving your kitty some catnip about once a week will ensure that its effects on your pet do not diminish.