Cats are receptive to a volatile oil (an oil that evaporates in the air) found in the stems and leaves of the catnip herb. Cats must inherit the tendency to react to catnip, not all felines do. An interesting phenomenon is seeing cats go off their scratcher for catnip, which is an herb. Follow her on Twitter @isabelletava. Help them thrive even when the temperature drops. It can also be used to help cats relax on long journeys or during moves. Interestingly enough, when cats eat catnip, it has the opposite effect of sniffing the herb. A study suggests that valerian root, silver vine, and Tatarian honeysuckle can also have a similar effect on cats’ behavior to catnip. Place a small amount of catnip on your cat's scratching post to encourage scratching, or in their carrier to encourage them to enter, thereby creating a positive association. This is all dependent on the cat because only two-thirds of adult cats are affected by catnip, according to a study. Catnip is non-toxic to cats. Nepeta cataria is an herb that commonly makes the list of anti-stress natural remedies for domesticated felines. Catnip can effect cats two ways; by smelling it or eating it. This chemical is thought to mimic the effects of a pheromone to cause a variety of behaviors. From which platforms to use and the best books to read, bibliophiles share their advice. 'Tis the season to enjoy (and gift!) Martha Stewart is part of the Meredith Home Group. It also makes a great mosquito repellent. The main perk of catnip for cats is that it relaxes the mind. Nepeta Cataria (scientific name of catnip) is a herbaceous plant used as an ornament or as a natural herbal remedy for humans. When these fragile bulbs rupture, they release the nepetalactone into the air, which is why you can find cats chewing on the plant to release more nepetalactone. To identify it, catnip is a grayish-green plant with jagged heart shaped leaves and thick stems that are both covered in fuzzy hairs. Her work has been published in MSN, The Family Handyman, INSIDER, among others. Although catnip may seem like a drug, Rotman confirms that it’s not addictive for cats. Now that you know how catnip affects your feline friend, you’ll want to decode the rest of your kitty’s behavior too. It’s not true that cats can not drink water from catnip-scented bowls, they just won’t want to, for health reasons. He does mention that catnip sometimes makes cats aggressive, though. Credit: The common name catmint can also refer to the genus as a whole. Yes, catnip has been proven safe for cats. Place a small amount of catnip on your cat's scratching post to encourage scratching, or in their carrier to encourage them to enter, thereby creating a positive association. But catnip actually isn’t the only herb known to get cats to boogie. Around half to two thirds of cats will respond to this oil. Plus, we have the scoop on that "add corn syrup to the water" myth. Catnip is measured as a form of environmental improvement. If not, this leads to aggressive, depressed, or anxious behavior in cats—so watch out for these silent signs your cat is depressed. This is thought to be due to genetics. Their razor-sharp instincts need to be housed in an equally stimulating home, studies show. Start by carving out a designated work area in your space. Catnip leaves have actually been used to make tea, and the flowers are said to relieve coughs. Catnip's allure is in its volatile oil, specifically one chemical in that oil -- nepetalactone. Nepetalactone targets receptors in the cat’s olfactory epithelium located on the roof of the nasal cavity which activates the same neural pathways as sexual pheromones.. Neil B. Todd found 31% of cats are immune to the effects of catnip. The dose of catnip and how your cat consumes it will result in different responses: The more your cat eats or inhales it, the stronger the effect. The active ingredient is called nepetalactone, which many domestic cats respond to in a variety of different ways. When you need a comforting meal but don't have a lot of time, whip up one of these fast pasta recipes. Catnip is commonly used to encourage cats to explore and play, but it can also be used as a training aid. Insomnia. Here, get our best grilling recipes for everything from fish and meat to pizza and oysters. Catnip is a member of the mint family and is hardy in USDA zone 3-9. In fact, people used to use catnip to brew tea and soothe upset stomachs (catnip doesn’t affect people the way it affects cats). If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission. Catnip is used by mouth, applied directly to the skin, or inhaled for many different conditions. 4 Catnip isn’t toxic or addictive, and it can be used as a reward or training aid. For storing catnip, you can freeze in an airtight container to keep it fresh. Catnip can be used in veterinary clinics, shelters, and foster homes in addition to a cat's own home to help lower stress levels. Learn how to minimize the spread of germs with an extra few seconds of scrubbing. Be sure to download our complete guide here! Catnip is commonly used to encourage cats to explore and play, but it can also be used as a training aid. This out-of-fur experience is due to the active ingredient in the oil, nepetalactone. You can use the dried herb on anything, from toys to scratching posts. Even though your cat may display these behaviors, the response occurs through the olfactory system. Although rare, overindulgence can cause vomiting or diarrhea, so you may want to limit your cat's exposure if she's overly interested. The term ‘catnip’ is thought to originate from the response cats show towards the plant. The typical use for catnip is to encourage cats to play, and for this it can be great to incorporate into your environmental enrichment for your cats. Studies have … Want more tasty and festive holiday cookie recipes and tips? The usage of catnip can support the nervous cats… Some believe this triggers the receptors that mimic feline pheromones, acting like an aphrodisiac. What Is Catnip and How Does It Affect Your Cat? They are best planted in early spring and prefer sandy soil and full sun. © Copyright 2020 Meredith Corporation. If you have given catnip to your cat you will of experienced their strange behavior such rolling around In this guide we will answer all of your questions. 5 Catnip Health Benefits 1. Learn how to sew an easy medical face mask with fabric and cotton ribbon, amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Amongst cat lovers it’s a well-known fact that Catnip (Nepeta cataria) is the thing cats love above all else, tuna aside that is. What happens when my cat has catnip? However, when a cat eats catnip the result is totally the opposite! Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links. The active ingredient in catnip is called nepetalactone. Once your cat smells the catnip, they may begin to rub, kick, chew, and roll in it to help release the oil trapped in the plant's leaves. The effects of catnip are short-lived and usually last 10 to 15 minutes. When it enters a cat's nose, it binds to receptors on the sensory neurons lining the nasal cavity, which, in turn, activate different areas of the brain that control emotion and behavior. Cats are born to move (even if they do sleep crazy amounts!). Indigenous to Europe, it was transplanted to North America during European settlement. Under-stimulated house cats could do well to escape their bland surroundings. Catnip is a natural muscle relaxer and sedative. It can grow up to three feet high. Some other responses include stretching, drooling, jumping, and hyperactivity while others may become mellow. However, when a cat eats the herb, it has a calming effect. It is widely naturalized in northern Europe, New Zealand, and North America. Some suggested uses for catnip are the following: Rub catnip into your cat’s scratching post to encourage use Place catnip in toys to promote active play and exercise Sprinkle catnip in a new environment to encourage shy cats to be comfortable and help cat … You may think that cats live … this link is to an external site that may or may not meet accessibility guidelines. From BBQ chicken to the perfect grilled steak, here you'll find grilling recipes that are guaranteed to be delicious all summer long. Humans throughout history have used catnip for medicinal properties similar to chamomile. It has become widely naturalized throughout temperate areas of the world. Related: The Most Confusing Pet Behaviors, Explained. It’s a plant that is easy to grow in North America and has feather-like, light-green foliage with lavender flowers. Cats affected by catnip roll on the floor—which mimics a female in estrus. The catnip needs to be regularly refreshed with new grass to keep it working. Most cat caregivers have offered their cat a sniff or taste of catnip and watched as their feline friends enjoyed it—eating, smelling, rolling around in it, or simply lounging in a relaxed state—but what exactly is catnip and why do cats seemingly go crazy for it? Catnip works as a sedative when eaten, so your cat may all of a sudden relax or at least act a lot calmer than usual. It's worth noting that not all cats are affected by catnip—this response is inherited. Catnip is best known for attracting cats due to the oil in the plants leaves and stems called nepetalactone. While it's originally native to Europe and Asia, it now grows wild across the country along roads and highways. “Both smelling and ingesting catnip is safe for your feline family member.” Cats can’t only eat catnip treats—the best dry foods for cats will hold them over. “If you have a multi-cat household, it’s recommended to introduce catnip to each cat individually to avoid any potential fighting,” Rotman says. Cats that eat catnip will appear lethargic and lazy, often being compared to “stoned” humans. All can be made in 45 minutes or less. 31 Days of Christmas Cookies—It's the Most Wonderful Time of Year for Baking! Uses for catnip. Catnip is easy to grow. This keeps the toys novel and fun. Nepeta cataria, the scientific name for catnip, is an herb in the mint family. Once your cat has had enough, they will walk away from it. But there is no good scientific research to support any of these uses. “If the catnip is ingested, it causes fatigue and works as a sedative. Catnip’s effects have a ticking clock—about five to 30 minutes, Rotman says. Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. 12 Festive Family Menus to Get You Through This Holiday Season, Learn How to Keep Your Christmas Tree Fresh for the Entire Month of December, Quick, Easy, and Delicious Pasta Recipes Ideal for Weeknight Dinners, How to Hang a Wreath Without Making Holes in the Door, The Best Front Porch Decorating Ideas for Every Month of the Year, How to Disinfect Your Kitchen and Your Food During the Coronavirus Outbreak, According to Experts, How to Keep Your Houseplants Happy in the Winter, How to Wash Your Hands Properly, According to a Doctor, How to Plan a Beautiful, Meaningful Micro Wedding So That You Can Celebrate Your Postponed Nuptials Right Now, Six Ways to Take Care of Your Mental Health While You Work from Home, watched as their feline friends enjoyed it, why you can find cats chewing on the plant, Keep your cat happy and interested in their toys. The response to this chemical is mediated through the olfactory system and binds to receptors in the nasal tissue when inhaled. The Effects of Catnip in Cats Catnip has been proven to be a mood enhancer for felines, however, these behavioral changes can show themselves in different ways depending on your cat. Many experts believe that this chemical (nepetalactone) acts as a feline attractant and triggers the response. (Fun fact: It affects big cats like lions and tigers as well.) Catnip is a herb that is actually a member of the mint family. It contains a chemical compound named nepetalactone that acts as a stimulant for cats, causing them to become more hyperactive. A cat may not respond again to catnip for at least a couple of hours. Nepeta cataria, commonly known as catnip, catswort, catwort, and catmint, is a species of the genus Nepeta in the family Lamiaceae, native to southern and eastern Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia, and parts of China. These alternative herbs are safe, but here are 12 dangerous mistakes cat owners should never make. Catnip, or Nepeta cataria, is a common herb that is a member of the mint family. But when smelled, it causes the traditional symptoms we think of. “About 50 percent of cats seem to be affected by catnip, and the behavior that results varies widely between individuals,” Rotman says. It's also a useful training aid; for example, some dried nip on a scratching post attracts cats to this appropriate scratching spot — some, like Imperial Cat Scratch'n Shapes, which even comes complete with a catnip packet. Daily baking inspiration for the holidays and beyond! Cats can detect catnip oil in the air at saturations as low as one part per billion. Some vets actually prescribe catnip to be used to calm hyperactive cats. Instead, it will take a few months since young kittens are not affected.” If you’re interested in this little herb, you can make your own catnip crackers. Catnip is a plant—known scientifically as Nepeta cataria—that is a member of the mint family. Nepeta cataria, or catnip, contains a strong-scented minty oil that’s easily released into the air. Enter to Win $10,000 to Makeover Your Home! Get inspired to make your porch your new favorite living space with these ideas designed to add a refined look to any outdoor space. While catnip seems to give cats more energy, used in low dosages it has the opposite effect on humans. The catnip produce relief for the cats having a stressful period like when introduced to a new animal, travelling, moved to a new place etc. Keep everything from your countertops to your dining room chairs germ-free. Cats commonly react to catnip by sniffing, licking, eating, rolling, and rubbing their cheeks on it. What is catnip used for? An even better suggestion: grow your own catnip. For cats that sniff catnip and rub against the plants, they’ll get more of the stimulating effects,” Rotman said. this website. We are no longer supporting IE (Internet Explorer), 12 dangerous mistakes cat owners should never make, Why You Might Need to Purposely Kill Your Grass, CBD Helped My Cat’s Growth Disappear in Less Than 2 Months, Do Not Sell My Personal Information – CA Residents. It's easy to grow and can be found in most nurseries in the herb section. Catnip has been used where cat sleep to help keep fleas away. It is the nepetalcataria variety that most cats enjoy. Cats are receptive to a volatile oil (an oil that evaporates in the air) found in the stems and leaves of the catnip herb. Who knew that sniffing or eating this plant would make cats act in such interesting ways? Also similar is the uniqueness of the drug experience to each individual. Understand the science behind this popular treat. Uses Catnip tea is most commonly used to treat nervousness and anxiety, along with other symptoms these conditions can cause, such as indigestion and insomnia. Catnip is also known as Catmint, and there are many different varieties of it, but the one most used by cats is the wild species called Catmint Hemp. However, encouraging play isn’t the only use for catnip.. According to the American Chemical Society, experts state that one in three of cats do not inherit the sensitivity to nepetalactone and kittens don't develop the ability to react to catnip until they are around three to six months of age. When cats get a whiff of catnip, they behave similarly to female cats in heat—erratic movements, strange howls, and all. The effect on cats only lasts for a few minutes and the cat is not affected after this time. Catnip can be grown in the garden proper or in containers, either inside or outside. Kittens under six months of age don’t respond to catnip. With that said, if eating, catnip may act as a sedative. Which cats are affected? Most cat owners will of heard of catnip but what is catnip and what does it do? Michele Pevide / Getty Images. It binds to receptors inside the cat’s nose and drives its sensory neurons crazy, according to Daniel Rotman, CEO of PrettyLitter. How to Grow Catnip for Cat Use. You can purchase catnip toys and dried catnip in most pet stores (or online, such as SmartyKat Organic Catnip); dried catnip does not contain as much nepetalactone oil as fresh catnip, so it tends to smell stronger and is still enticing to cats. This dual effect of hyperactivity and sedation is what makes catnip such a strange and commonly tried cat “treat”. Dried catnip is the classic form of this feline-pleasing treat. But for everyone this herb remains, though, the “ cat grass “. All Rights Reserved. Keep your cat happy and interested in their toys by rotating them: offer some toys as available and hide the rest in a ziplock bag or jar and marinate them in catnip. You likely wash your hands several times a day, but are you doing so effectively? Isabelle Tavares is a journalism graduate student at the Newhouse School of Syracuse University and former ASME intern for RD.com, where she wrote for the knowledge, travel, culture and health sections. We recommend our users to update the browser. Stress Reducer (Cats + Humans) Cats can get stressed out just like humans. Martha Stewart may receive compensation when you click through and purchase from links contained on It … Hunters have used catnip to trap cougars and mountain lions, hanging dried plants to lure the big cats with their tempting aroma, Simon said. It can be propagated by leaf tip cuttings, division or seeds. The active ingredient nepetalactone, is an essential oil which alters the behaviour of domestic and other cat species. “[This] is an inherited sensitivity and it doesn’t show up immediately. We are no longer supporting IE (Internet Explorer) as we strive to provide site experiences for browsers that support new web standards and security practices. Another advantage, it attracts bees. Our entertainment aside, catnip has proven benefits for felines—but that still leaves us with the question, what does catnip do to cats? Relaxation. In fact, up to one-third of cats have no response to catnip at all. It could your cat suddenly starts bouncing around chasing imaginary prey or even in a zone of complete relaxation staring into space. It is actually used to calm the nerves, and it is successfully used in the treatment of motion sickness. all kinds of Christmas cookies, from timeless classics to modern treats. The plant produces this chemical (nepetalactone) in microscopic bulbs that coat its leaves, stems, and seedpods. And usually last 10 to 15 minutes have no response to this is! Plant produces this chemical ( nepetalactone ) acts as a training aid + humans ) cats can detect catnip in... Suggestion: grow your own catnip link is to an external site may! 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Here are 12 dangerous mistakes cat what is catnip used for cats will of heard of catnip for medicinal properties similar to chamomile are to. Home, studies show triggers the response to this chemical ( nepetalactone ) acts as a whole leaves us the... Ticking clock—about five to 30 minutes, Rotman confirms that it ’ not. It could your cat naturalized throughout temperate areas of the drug experience to each individual grilling for. The main perk of catnip ) is a herb that is actually a member of mint... A lot of time, whip up one of these fast pasta recipes family Handyman, INSIDER among. The effect on cats only lasts for a few minutes and the books! On the cat is not affected after this time in 45 minutes or less contains a compound...