What is Catnip and why our feline friends are crazy about it?
Lets plant catnip, he said. It prevents mosquitoes, he said. What could go wrong, he said...
When a cat smells catnip it usually licks, chews, rubs against and rolls around on the plant, as well as salivates and meows. This reaction lasts for about 15 minutes, and then the cat loses interest and needs about two hours of "reset" time before it can have the same response. Amazingly, catnip doesn't hold power over all felines. Response to catnip is genetically inherited, with about 70 to 80 percent of cats exhibiting the typical response to the plant. Of those, kittens younger than six months and very old cats are less likely to respond.The stuff that drives your kitten crazy goes by the Latin name Nepeta cataria, and it's a member of the genus Nepeta (derived from Nepete, the Italian town where catnip was first cultivated).
But why does the plant hold such power over your cat?
The secret to catnip is nepetalactone, a volatile oil stored in tiny bulbs on the leaves, stems and seedpods of the plant. When nepetalactone enters a cat's nasal tissue, it binds to olfactory receptors at the olfactory epithelium. Sensory neurons are stimulated and cause neurons in the olfactory bulb to send signals to the brain. Once the brain gets involved, things get a bit murky because we still don't have a complete neurological explanation for cats' behavioral reaction, but the prevailing theory is that nepetalactone mimics a cat pheromone.
Does It Have Any Benefits?
"Cats that are responsive to catnip really seem to enjoy themselves,"says Dr. Jhones. cats, "can chew it, rub on it or inhale it get their 'happy' on. But, catnip can be a tool owners can use to curb health and behavior issues too."For instance, it's a great resource for encouraging pets to move or play more".
Is It Safe?
As with anything, moderation is key, "Since cats cannot talk to us, all we can judge is their demeanor and body language". the tool is generally safe for most cats, but you should watch how your pet reacts.
So go ahead and let you kitty enjoy Our pure organic Catnip!