A guest post from our friends over at CatsPhD.com about why our cats turn into domestic cat junkies around this green delight.
It’s no secret that cat owners have one advantage over dog owners when it comes to bribing their pets: catnip.
If your feline is the 60th percentile of cats that can be affected by this hallucinogenic plant, there is no other treat or toy that would result in the same effect. It’s likely you’ve already observed the effects of catnip on cats: rolling around on the floor, drooling and purring, biting and rubbing her face onto the plant like it’s a long-lost lover. But what exactly is going through your cat’s mind when she comes in contact with catnip, and why does it affect felines in such a powerful way?
Turns out science has already figured out the power that mint family plants have on cats, including catnip, and the pet industry has been using that for decades, infusing cat toys and treats either with the plant itself, or the oils extracted from it. If you ever suspected that your cat may be under the power of a drug, you weren’t wrong: Nepetalactone, a compound in catnip, has similar effects on cats as marijuana or LSD has on humans. There are also two ways for a feline to experience it by releasing the oils, either through biting the plant which would normally sedate her, or rubbing her face on it, which has the opposite effect.
However, unlike some human drugs, catnip is not addictive for our pets and is totally safe. In fact, many canine experts even encourage the use of catnip to mentally stimulate your pet, encourage an overweight cat to move more, or simply entertain your feline. But there are a lot more to catnip than meets the eye, and for the curious pet owner, CatsPhD.com has made an infographic with 20 things you didn’t know about catnip: