Catnip or catnip, a euphoric plant

Catnip, also called catnip or catmint, is a plant that is often confused with catnip, usually eaten by cats to regurgitate their hairballs. However, catnip has very different effects on small felines, who appreciate it for its euphoric power.

Catnip or catnip?

The name “catnip” does not designate a specific plant: generally marketed in small pots found in supermarkets or pet stores, it is composed of grasses such as rye, barley, wheat or oats.

Cats love it, and often consume it to relieve certain digestive discomforts. It also causes vomiting, which helps the animal to evacuate the hairballs ingested during its toilet.

On the other hand, what is called catnip or catmint is none other than catnip, or Nepeta cataria by its scientific name. This aromatic plant belongs to the Lamiaceae family. In the ground, it can reach 1 meter in height, and flowers between June and September.

What are the effects of catnip?

Catnip or catnip has been used since the Middle Ages by humans as a medicinal plant, in particular to lower fever or facilitate digestion. It also has analgesic and antispasmodic properties, and was used to soothe dental pain or colic in babies.

In cats, but also in other felines such as big cats, catnip has a euphoric effect. Not all cats are sensitive to it, but in those who are receptive to it (about 70-80% according to studies), just smelling the plant causes great excitement.

On contact with catnip, cats quickly begin to rub against the plant, roll on the ground and seem particularly excited. Manufacturers of cat toys have understood the interest of this funny plant: there are many toys containing dried catnip, or sold with sachets of catnip to sprinkle on toys or scratching posts to make them more attractive.

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The effect of catnip, which dissipates on average after about ten minutes before reappearing 30 minutes later, is linked to a compound in the plant called nepetalactone. This substance has a chemical structure similar to that of valepotriates, compounds found in valerian root, a plant with effects identical to catnip in cats.

Why and how to use catnip?

Catnip or catmint can be grown in a container, but the most practical is to buy it in the form of a dried powder or a spray. There are also catnip balls or sticks that your cat can play with.

Catnip powder or spray should only be used occasionally, to encourage your cat to become interested in a new toy, to use their scratching post, to explore their new cat tree, to go to their litter box or to go inside. its transport case for example.

In any case, use catnip sparingly and do not leave your cat in contact with it for too long to avoid too intense stimulation. In addition, some cats react badly to catnip and may develop aggressive behavior. It is then necessary to keep them away and avoid any further exposure to this plant.

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In this article, we cover the top 5 best cat houses and tell you which types of cats they work well for. We’ll also recommend some articles with more details on how to pick out the best cat house indoor.