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Cats and Catnip

December 01, 2014

Does your kitty go bananas over catnip? Catnip actually entertains both kitties and their owners: it’s hard not to smile when watching a cat playing with a new catnip toy. Fluffy may roll around, lick or bite the toy, and generally act a bit goofy for a few minutes. This is all very cute to watch, but it can be a bit perplexing to humans, since catnip doesn’t have a similar effect on us. Just what is it about catnip that makes our feline friends act so silly? In this article, your veterinarian San Jose answers some basic questions about catnip.

What is Catnip?

Catnip is actually part of the mint family. Native to Europe, the plant is now actually a common weed in North America.

What Makes Cats React To Catnip?

Honestly, no one is entirely sure exactly why cats find catnip so much fun. What we do know is that kitties actually have a special receptor in their noses just for catnip. Cats are a bit enigmatic, and, despite all the advances of modern scientists, some of their behavior remains unexplained. Suffice it to say, Mother Nature apparently made a plant specifically designed to make kitties happy.

Is Catnip A Drug?

Catnip is not a drug. Even though your kitty may act somewhat intoxicated while on catnip, there is no chance that your cat will get addicted to catnip, and there are generally no side effects.

How Long Do the Effects Of Catnip Last?

Kitty will only be affected by catnip for a few minutes at a time. Once the effects wear off, Fluffy’s brain will need to reset. A few hours later, she’ll be ready to start all over again.

Does Catnip Affect All Cats?

Actually, no. Kittens and senior kitties may not be susceptible to catnip. Some kitties are also naturally impervious to catnip. As many as a third of our feline friends are not affected by catnip.

Should I Grow Catnip?

If you have garden space, or perhaps an herb garden, go for it. Just be warned: if you grow a lot of catnip outside, you may find your yard attracting all sorts of stray and feral kitties, which your pet kitty may not appreciate.

If you have any questions about your cat’s care or behavior, feel free to contact us. As your vet clinic San Jose, we are here to help with all of your pet care needs. Please click here to read more articles, and remember to visit our website frequently for updates.