Why Do Cats Love Catnip?

What is catnip?

Catnip or Catmint is a perennial plant that grows and blooms from late spring to early fall. The name is derived from the attraction that the majority of cats exhibit towards this plant (both dry and living).

Catnip Facts

  • Response to catnip is genetically inherited, and 1 in 4 cats will not be affected by its hallucinogenic properties.
  • Most kittens under the age of 8 weeks are unable to respond to its effects.
  • Cis-trans-nepetalactone is a mild hallucinogen, and the majority of cats will respond by rolling, rubbing, purring and generally having a good time.
  • The use of catnip in cats with aggressive behaviour is not recommended, as the behaviour can be worsened while under the influence of catnip.
  • Catnip is felt to be safe and non-addictive, but caution is advised if using in a cat with a seizure disorder as some research indicates that catnip can intensify seizures behaviour in cats that are predisposed to them.
  • When travelling with your cat, it is not advisable to put catnip in the carrier, as confinement coupled with catnip exposure can make the confinement period more unpleasant for your feline friend.

Catnip can be a fun and occasional treat for your feline companion.

Written by Marie Hearn, Clinic Manager