Catnip (Latin: Nepeta Cataria) also sometimes referred to as Catmint, Catnep and Catwort, has long been known to be a natural stimulant for cats. It is a member of the Mint family and closely related to Spearmint and Peppermint.
Used for centuries in traditional remedies for humans, catnip is now best known for its bizarre affect on cats.
What do cats do with Catnip?
Cats will roll and toss about in Catnip, rubbing their faces in it - apparently experiencing a delightful 'high' for between 5 - 10 minutes. Cats will usually lose interest in the catnip after about 10 minutes, but seem to 'reset' after about 2 hours and will often return to the catnip for more fun!
Why do cats love Catnip?
No one really knows what exactly is going on inside cats minds when they play with Catnip. Cats inhale the natural oil vapour known as Nepetalactone, from the leaves and stem of Catnip plants which stimulates this instinctive response from them. For this reason the best Catnip is sealed in a container to prevent the vapours from escaping as they often do in catnip toys.
Do all cats respond to Catnip ?
No. About two-thirds of cats are strongly attracted to Catnip - a characteristic inherited from wild members of the cat family, such as tigers who also seek out Catnip plants. Cats under 3 months and elderly cats often express little interest in Catnip.
Will Catnip harm my cat?
No! Catnip is an excellent stimulant to play and exercise, Catnip is 100% natural, non-addictive, non-toxic and edible.