What is a catnip?

Domestic cats do not completely lose their hunting instinct as seen by their exploratory independent and adventurous nature, this can cause worry for cat owners who are concerned about many potential hazards, such as toxic plants for cats, one plant owners may have heard of, but don’t know much about is catnip, far from being toxic, it’s a plant which can cause interesting and varied behaviors in cats.

Catnip is known by its botanical name, nepeta cataria, with other common names, being catmint or cat basil, a plant with a similar appearance to mint or lemon balm, it can measure between 20 and 60 centimeters, while it is native to Europe, it also grows wild in North America and West Asia.

Catnip is rich in essential oils, oils which seven out of ten cats will react to, by showing an unusually strong interest, we can first observe the cat approaching the plant, rubbing against it, licking, or emitting signs similar to when they are in heat, it may not end there some cats start to jump or run around excitedly, they may rule around on the floor or try to hunt imaginary mice, without diet this plant can elicit a narcotic effect which seduces many cats, but why does this reaction occur?

The narcotic effect is due to the active substance called “nepetalactone” which binds to cells with a function of stimulating sensory neurons, the reaction the cat experiences is due to this substance causing an overstimulation of these cells, in addition, to narcotic effects, catnip can induce behavior similar to feline courtship and mating, for cats not susceptible to catnip, valerian root, or silver vine, might have a similar effect, due to its properties, catnip provides various benefits to your cat, it encourages play and movement, makes it easier for them to stay active, stimulates cognition.

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