Catnip magically attracts many sexually mature cats.
What effect does this plant have and why do cats get so excited about catnip?
It’s like a frenzy! Cats roll ecstatically around a cushion of catnip, rub against it; others love to eat it. Is catnip cannabis for cats? What makes this herb so seductive that our felines go crazy? Containing? Is it potentially dangerous for our furry friends and should they avoid consuming it in excess?
What is catnip?
“Royal catnip” (Nepeta cataria), or “cat balm”, “cat grass”, is a perennial plant that blooms blue, pink, purple or white from July to August and can grow up to one meter and medium height. Its hairy stems are hollow and its smooth leaves have jagged edges. This wild plant has a refreshing scent and delicious teas can be made from its leaves. However, cats are attracted to two specific elements in catnip: actinidin and nepetalactone. These are the substances that kittens dream of. They are the essential organic compounds that stimulate our furry proboscis friends.
Origin of catnip
Catnip is native to southern Europe. This perennial plant was planted and cultivated for its spices and healing qualities. In monasteries, catnip leaves were used to make tea mixtures to relieve colds and intestinal ailments. It made its way through garden walls and eventually spread throughout Europe as it grew wild. Over time, it reached America and Asia by sea, displacing the native plants.
And it’s not just for cats. Real catnip is good for you, too. Test it.
Appearance of catnip
What does catnip look like? The plant is a true magnet in its summer flowering splendor. It not only attracts our furry friends, but also swarms of bees. Because these everyday enthusiasts find it so appealing, catnip is also called “bee pasture.” Butterflies and bumblebees also like to feast on their pollen. Many gardeners like to decorate their flower beds with it, as as a companion plant it protects other shrubs or flowers in the flower bed from unwanted pests.
How to give catnip to my cat
It is very easy to find catnip and you can offer it to your cat in many ways until you find the form that he likes the most:
- Grow catnip at home. It can be purchased in seed form and planted in a container at home. It is cheap and takes a few days to grow, especially outdoors and with plenty of sun. You can cut the stems when they have reached about 10 cm in height. It is a perennial herb, so it will surely grow every year, unless the winter has been very harsh.
- Catnip toys. You can fill your cat’s toys with catnip as if it were prizes or food.
- Catnip-spray Catnip is also sold in a spray format, very useful for spraying some surfaces such as scratching posts.
Benefits of catnip
Catnip is a physical and mental stimulant for cats, it is a good method of environmental enrichment through smell. In addition, it also encourages cats to play and exercise, so it can be a good ally against overweight and obesity.
By spraying catnip we can also make objects like beds and scratching posts more interesting, similar to what we would do with appeasing hormones.
Other herbs for cats
There are other medicinal plants with stimulating and relaxing effects for cats, such as matatabi and valerian extract. Cats show attraction to this herb and when they detect it they react by rubbing and rubbing on the surface that gives off this smell.
To see your cat’s reaction you can leave a bag of valerian, one of those used to prepare infusions, but it does not have to be wet and you have to have removed the staples and thread.
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