Panel Pets

Cat Information: Why Do Cats Go Loopy For Catnip?

Table of Contents

Black and white cat laying down on a tree stump with fresh catnip. Taken in natural light.

(Image Credit score: Teresa Lett/Getty Pictures)

Have you ever ever seen a cat on catnip? They may go completely loopy for the stuff: rolling round in it, operating round the home at high pace, drooling, leaping at your hand in the event that they scent it on you in any respect, or possibly simply zoning out fully.

Some cats will even get actually aggressive and protecting of their catnip toy in the event that they suppose you may take it away from them.

Catnip drives some cats completely loopy–however why? And why do some cats appear to not care about it in any respect?

What Is Catnip?

Brown and white tabby cat playing with a toy mouse

(Image Credit score: SammiHood/Getty Pictures)

Catnip is an herb, scientifically known as Nepeta Cataria, which is a part of the mint household. It has heart-shaped leaves and within the wild, it could develop as much as three toes tall.

The plant has small flowers that may bloom in a white, blue, lavender, or pink shade. It grows wild in North America however was initially imported right here. It’s native to Europe, Asia, and Africa, and it’s pretty simple to develop, your self.

When the leaves are damaged, it releases a chemical known as nepetalactone, which cats reply to. Should you crush it between your fingers earlier than you rub it on a cat toy or a scratching submit, it is going to have extra of an impact since you’re releasing the chemical’s scent.

What Does Catnip Do To Cats?

The scent of catnip has the strongest impact on cats. A latest research by the American Chemical Society discovered that the nepetalactone within the plant binds to the olfactory receptors in a cat’s nostril and triggers a euphoric neurological response.

Consultants aren’t positive, nonetheless, precisely why the herb triggers such an emotional response. Some scientists suppose the scent mimics a contented pheromone, and cats’ brains react to it, in keeping with The Humane Society.

Some cats, nonetheless, will develop into aggressive, moderately than euphoric, after they scent the herb because of a unique response to its stimulant impact.

Ingesting catnip additionally impacts cats, however not as strongly as smelling it. When eaten, it tends to make cats mellower moderately than joyful.

Why Don’t Some Cats Like Catnip?

Typically, one cat will go loopy for catnip whereas one other cat doesn’t take care of it in any respect. That’s as a result of just some cats are literally delicate to it.

A sensitivity to catnip is inherited, and specialists estimate that about 50 to 70 p.c of cats will reply to the herb. However the response isn’t restricted to home felines.

Large wild cats, like lions and tigers, could have this sensitivity, too!

Did You Know That People Are Prone to Catnip?

Portrait of teenage girl by purple catmint

(Image Credit score: Sasha Bell/Getty Pictures)

People might be emotionally affected by catnip too, though not as strongly as cats are! It’s extra of a sedative for individuals.

When utilized in tea, it may be type of like chamomile. The sedating results may also generally assist with complications, nausea, or toothaches.

In a concentrated type, it could repel mosquitoes and different bugs, but it surely doesn’t final so long as store-bought repellents, and a few specialists say that it loses its effectiveness when utilized to the pores and skin.

Catnip is a protected product to your cat, however when you have a multi-cat family, you need to most likely introduce every cat to it for the primary time individually. That is simply in case you’ve got a cat who turns anxious or aggressive as a substitute of joyful when uncovered to it.

The results solely final about 5 to 15 minutes. Should you discover that your cat likes it, you should purchase toys and even scratching posts which are infused with it and reward your kitty with an sudden deal with.

Does your cat love catnip? What’s their response to this herb? Tell us within the feedback beneath!


  • Adam Johanson

    Adam Johanson is an animal lover and a blogger at Panelpets. He writes regularly regarding pets and how to take care of them, as well as general news stories about animals. When he isn't writing, Adam can usually be found playing with his two dogs or cuddling his cat.