If you’re a cat owner, you might have already heard of catnip. You know, that stuff that cats get addicted to, gives them a high, and gets them stoned. For real. It’s like crack for cats. But safe. What you might not know is what catnip really is aside from its notorious reputation, and how and why it affects your cat the way it does.
Catnip is a plant belonging in the mint family. It has natural oils called nepetalactone, that affect cats. When a cat consumes catnip, nepetalactone acts as a sedative, and whenever a cat smells catnip, it acts as a stimulant. The effect? It varies depending on the cat. Some cats get very playful, others get stoned, mellow, or chill, while some cats are not affected at all.
Nepetalactone is said to mimic feline pheromones, triggering its receptors in the cat, hence, they tend to act a little bit crazier than usual. But don’t worry. The effects last for 5-15 minutes only, and catnip is indeed safe for cats to consume and smell. So the next time you give Fluffy a whiff or a treat of catnip, you’ll know how and why it takes him to a happy place.
In this video, cat buddies Cole and Marmalade demonstrate how catnip affects them: