Why do cats like catnip so much? Cat owners everywhere are curious about this mystery plant and what exactly it has to offer their furry friends. This blog post will explain the effects of catnip on cats, its benefits, and how to give your kitty catnip safely.
What is catnip and why cats are attracted to it?
Why do cats love catnip so much? Catnip is an herbaceous plant in the mint family that is known for its ability to attract cats. If you’re curious about what is in catnip that cats like, it’s an essential oil called nepetalactone, which can be produced naturally by the plant and found in dried, crushed leaves or processed into a spray. When cats come into contact with this oil, it triggers a pleasurable reaction that causes them to display behaviors such as drooling, purring, meowing, and rubbing their faces against the source of the scent. This is also why cats roll in catnip as well.
Cat owners often use catnip as a way to get their cats to play and exercise. Since cats are drawn to the smell of catnip, it's ideal for creating interactive toys or simply sprinkling some on scratching posts or other areas where cats may want to explore. Many people also use catnip as a way to keep their cats entertained when they are away from home.
Not all cats like catnip
Do all cats like catnip? Because of its name, it’s common to assume that the answer to that question is yes but it’s actually no. If you’ve ever wondered “why doesn’t my cat like catnip?” it’s likely because of their palate. Cats have scent preferences based on their palates, just like humans do. Some cats’ palates do not appreciate the scent of the herb or because it affects them in an adverse way, such as causing agitation or distress.
How does Catnip Affect Cats Physically?
What does catnip do to cats? Many of the physical effects that catnip has on your furry friend are because of nepetalactone. Nepetalactone is the main ingredient in the catnip plant that can be found in the leaves and stems of the plant. When cats come into contact with this compound, it binds to receptors in their noses and facial glands causing both sensory stimulation and physical reactions.
Cats may also become more energetic or playful after being exposed to the herb. Catnip also causes an increase in heart rate due to its stimulant-like qualities and can cause cats to become more vocal or meow more than usual. If you’ve ever wondered “why does catnip make my cat crazy?” some of those physiological effects might explain why. Some cats may also drool or lick the spaces in your home where they have encountered the herb as they are attracted to its scent and taste.
How catnip impacts cats' behavior
Studies have shown that cats exposed to catnip also exhibit fewer aggressive behaviors, suggesting that it may be beneficial as a way to calm and relax cats in stressful situations.
In addition to its calming effects, catnip can also help increase the bond between you and your pet by providing an interactive outlet for playtime. Cat owners can use toys with catnip sprinkled inside or spray a little bit of the oil directly onto scratching posts or food dishes to get their cats engaged and excited about playing. This can create a positive association between the cat and whatever item has been sprayed with the herb, leading to more enjoyable experiences for both owner and pet.
How to safely give catnip to your cat
As stated earlier, it’s best to introduce your fur-baby to catnip slowly, cautiously, and with supervision. Sprinkling a pinch of it into a toy or scratching post is a great way to introduce it. Monitor their behavior afterward, noting any changes in behavior or attitude. If they appear to be enjoying themselves and displaying positive reactions, then gradually increase the amount of catnip you give them. Be sure to look out for negative side effects such as aggression, agitation, or vomiting. If you notice that your cat is experiencing negative side effects, it’s best to avoid giving them catnip.
Now that you know why cats go crazy for catnip, you can make an informed decision as to how to incorporate it into your cat's play and enrichment. Overall, catnip can be a great way to engage cats in playtime and provide them with mental or physical stimulation. When used safely and responsibly though, catnip can be an effective tool for stimulating physical activity and mental engagement in felines - just ensure you follow safety guidelines and monitor reactions carefully before continuing use!