Most of the native populace in China, the Middle East, and Europe are quite familiar with the minty cat drug – catnip. In case you live in the region, you have most likely witnessed or heard of the drunken mess that cats make when they are left alone with an uncared catnip. They seem to enjoy the lazy mood of a mint explosion while simultaneously looking to blame the dog. The science of catnip bedazzles cat lovers and enthusiastic observers contemplating whether they should occasionally indulge their animal lovers with an ecstatic mental getaway. Let us demystify the workings of this mysterious cat lust.
What is catnip?
This plant is synonymously known as catmint for its fresh smell and its association in the minty herb family. Your nerdy side might enjoy knowing that the plant’s botanical name is Nepeta Cataria. It belongs in the labiate family of plants. Despite its origin in the regions mentioned above, catmint easily tolerates indoor and garden growing conditions. The perennial plant could easily take over your garden without constant tending to curb the wilderness. It has tooth-shaped leaves and bright pink flowers.
Some people prefer to have it in an underground bucket to control its spread. It is highly inadvisable to casually grow catmint in a house full of adventurous felines that could reap it to shreds and make a mess. Additionally, frequent access to their favorite snack will cause a high-rise and fall symptom.
Catnip gained massive love in the 18th century when Romans discovered its high medicinal value. Voyagers loved making a blend of teas with the herb. Presently, some people still enjoy a nice brew. Before we sidetrack into dissecting the perks of this plant for humans, we are still trying to understand how the essential pheromone causes instant arousal in cats.
How does catnip work?
Dr. Bernadine Cruz explains that the effect of the essential aroma varies with the cat’s age. The scientific community observes that the love for catnip grows on a pet, with the average starting age being one year old. The veteran further states that they usually sense the tiniest euphoria in the air and grow up to pick up a fraction of a billion of it as they age.
Catnip releases a volatile smell when touched. The nepetalactone present in the plant forms the actual reactionary value that excites cats. Studies indicate that the arousal in cats is a genetic quality that buds at six months old when they reach sexual maturity.
What happens cats smell catnip?
Cats pick up the smell from the roof of their mouth through tiny nasal holes behind their teeth, and into the olfactory system. This ability explains the ecstatic look cats have with the minty smell in the air. They open their mouths with the urgency for more pleasure. They shake their heads or rub cheeks as exhilaration from the scent. There is yet to be an establishment that the body roll is indicative of an aphrodisiac reaction. The more aggressive pets may lick or chew the plant. The effects of a few sniffs last approximately ten minutes before they wander off for half an hour and return for more exposure.
It is important to note that the scent does not arouse all feline creatures. Only two-thirds of cats will react. The affected cats will have anything from a mellow response to high aggressiveness. A sniff will normally ignite a soft reaction while ingestion will give a more happy feeling. It does not matter if the cat is usually a lazy bum who loves luxurious belly rubs and a lift to the mall. They will have a sedated or belligerent reaction that is mostly out to guard their newfound love against predators.
How to use catnip on your cat
There are creative ways that will ensure your cat stays active and friendly for more extended periods without burning out.
- Place it inside their favorite toys and remove it before it turns stale.
- Stuff their ideal threaded balls with the tantalizing herb.
- Purchase a bubble bottle infused with catnip scent. The product usually includes a wand to blow the bubbles for the scent’s release.
- Spray around the cat’s living space, such as the bed, their favorite carton box or the scratching post. Sprays have a less potent value, but they will keep your pet active for a considerable duration.
- Spray moistures will ease your cat into reconsidering items that did not appease them in the first reaction. Spritz around the new blanket or carrier that they seem to dislike.
- Dry the leaves, then grind and mix with it their food. Watch how they lick the spice of the bowl.
- Place it in different areas around the house or the compound to keep the cat fit and happy. Heavy cats that are inclined to enjoying the television more than you do or the fireside warmth may eventually abandon their comfort zone for a little happy sniff around the home.
- Give it as a treat when they allow you to give them a shave, bath, or a brush.
- Use it if your cat has anxiety on long journeys or when changing homes.
- It is a high-stress reducer when visiting the vet. This remedy will help you, your pet, and the vet!
- Catnip is proven to effectively alleviate urine obstruction in cats, which is usually a result of stress.
How safe is catnip for cats?
The big question is, how safe is catnip for our furry friends? We all know these evolved indoor felines have learned the art of being the perfect passive boss. They will give you a death stare while attempting to knock off your phone from the kitchen counter. Does this mean that energized cats will shake off your wall-mounted television? Or will the relaxed cats forget their trained house mannerisms? What is the truth about catnips?
If you have a moment to wrestle with the morality of giving your cat a cat drug, well somewhat, you would want to know the possible risks surrounding its use.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals organization supports the idea of treating your cat to a healthy dosage of catnip. The organization’s spokeslady, Sophia Charchuck, stated that cat owners should adhere to measures, which will protect the cat from possible danger. This conclusion means to keep your pet away from the road, sharp tools, and unsafe people. It would be utterly dumbfounding to prefer enjoying a sunset with your cat nipped animal on the roof of your house. Your cat should be within your view range and in a safe playing ground.
This permission from PETA has a scientific backing from Scientific American, which does not consider catnip a drug. They do not think that you are potentially encouraging escapism and drug addiction to a helpless furry friend. Catnip is not the animal version of marijuana.
So, can you sit and roll a joint with your cat? No, you cannot. Catnip does not have any slackening effects on humans. As stated earlier, it was and continues to be a great additive to herbal remedies that treat migraines, gas, insomnia, cramps, and indigestion. It is, however, not a human drug. You do not have to worry about losing your mental aptitude while tending to your cat.
At this reading point, it is highly probable that you and I both unanimously agree with the thousands of veterans who mark catnip as a safe herb. Unfortunately, our furry friends cannot verbalize their reaction. It is our job to observe the physical cues of their response. Historically, cats that consume a large portion of freshly cut catnip have adverse reactions such as vomiting and diarrhea. The Human Society organization advises that one observe the cat’s behavior to estimate the safe limit. Begin with a small dosage and gradually up the intake towards the recommended amounts.
Can you grow catnip?
Here is a little fun fact – catnip is also an excellent sedative or excitement trigger for bigger cats like tigers and jaguars. One may have the temptation to curb their tiger’s aggression safely and naturally. In comparison to the average home cat, bigger requires more copious amounts of catnip. The good bit is that it is quite possible and safe to grow, harvest, and store the herb within our home.
Catnip is a notoriously short-lived plant. That only sounds contradictory to its ready availability because this perennial plant is a honeypot for felines. Your cats will flatten out the plants in a minute. The scientific formula for growing this plant should include instructions to consider a permanent replacement if the home has a cat. That is, however, impractical and the following guidelines are a better alternative:
- Have your catnip live in the locked out porch, and your cat live in the house with you.
- Grow the plant inside a secure and caged enclosure if you do not own a porch.
These suggestions will lengthen your plant’s life to a fault. Catnip plants love the sun and will show stunted growth when constricted behind your house’s walls. You can grow the seeds in the house before considering a safe gardening zone for transfer.
What are the primary environmental requirements for growing catnip?
- Maximum exposure to sunlight
- Low temperatures that do not exceed 30.
- Deep soil of about 20cm
- Approximately 45cm between the plants.
- A height growth allowance of about 7 inches.
- Average watering conditions and drainage.
Where can you get catnip seeds or plants?
There is a myriad of places to source your herb. The most obvious would be to get it from the wild growth near your home or locality. In case that is not an option for you, you could transplant it from a willing neighbor’s garden. The more natural choice would be to walk into your local gardening vendor shop.
How does one grow the catnip plant?
Sow the seeds into the soil during the spring season. If you choose to wean the plant from indoors to the garden, you should place the seeds in a damp spot. Cover the pot with transparent plastic and store it in a well-lit spot, unreachable from prying and curious felines. Check the soil regularly to spritz it when it dries up. You will be able to transfer the shootings to a garden after approximately two weeks since the purchase.
How often should you water the plant?
The amount of water that your plant needs vary depending on the plant’s exposure to the sun. Partially shaded catnips will require fewer refills compared to full-lit plants. Additionally, indoor plants have to need lesser vigorous maintenance than garden plants.
You would have to water the plant after two or three days in summer and maybe once a week in winter. In case you go away for an extended holiday, the plants may have a chance or revival with constant watering upon your return.
How should you harvest catnip?
Catnip’s essential oils have a strong effervescence when the plant flowers. This happens around mid-summer. Cut the stem with the leaves intact and hang them upside down in a well-ventilated space without sunlight or lay them flat on a dry rack. It is an unpopular fact that catnip stems are not highly potent for your cats; hence, you do not have to crumble it along with the leaves. The bright side of cutting of stems instead of leaf blades is that the plant replaces stems faster than the leaves.
How should you store catnip?
Put the crushed leaves inside an airtight airbag and place it in the freezer to elongate the freshness. You can alternatively put the leaves in a dark, cold room. The leaves will lose their power in a couple of months; you will need to pluck new stems if you need a fresh supply.
Now that you know the entire truth about catnips, it is up to you give your domesticated cat, jaguar or leopard an afternoon treat in a healthy routine. Too much of anything is not suitable for neither humans nor cats. Your furry friend will thank you with high-decibel purrs and a belly exposure for your free rub treats.