Cats love catnip! It really adds something to their play and interactions with their owners by stimulating cats to become more vocal, more excited, and more hyperactive. You will find it sold in most pet shops and inside many cat toys, giving cats a short-lived extra buzz. But you might also wonder what catnip is and how it works, and whether overdose is possible. In this article, we will explore those questions!
What Is Catnip? How Does Catnip Work?
Catnip is a mint herb called Nepeta cataria, found throughout the world. The herb is then collected and dried and used in cat toys and products. You can even grow your own!
The active ingredient is called Nepetalactone. When this is inhaled by cats, their brains interpret it as a strong pheromone which triggers the behavioral euphoria the cat then displays, activating the happy feeling centers of the brain. Some consider it a ‘drug trip’ for your cat, others more of a sexual response – but either way your cat is happy!
Catnip is short-acting and not addictive. Responses to catnip can also be highly variable – some cats don’t respond to it at all, others become a bit sleepy, and some are very hyperactive. It works best in adult cats – kittens under six months and older cats show less of a reaction.
Catnip does not affect humans and is quite safe to use in all cats of any age. Cats can’t overdose on catnip, and it doesn’t matter if they eat a little of it (although it doesn’t work as well when eaten). If your cat eats a very large amount, it could cause an upset tummy (vomiting and diarrhea) for a little while.
How Should I Use Catnip With My Cat? How Much Catnip Should I Give My Cat?
Catnip comes in many forms – sometimes as a powder, dried herb, or spray.
Catnip is a natural herb that acts like cat pheromones to stimulate various pleasure centers of your cat’s brain when inhaled. Most cats respond well to it, showing vocalization, licking, playing, and hyperactive behaviors. Catnip is safe for all cats and cats cannot overdose on it, nor become addicted to it. That said, catnip is best used in moderation as a treat for your cat, in the form of sprinkles, extracts, or sprays. Cats will become desensitized to it if used excessively. Follow the Do’s and Don’ts of catnip to ensure the best experience for your cat!
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