My son is an addict. Fortunately my son is a cat, and he’s only addicted to catnip! He LOVES this kitty drug, especially the Yeowww cat nip pillows and toys! If I have purchased a new catnip toy for him I Barely get through the front door before he is going wild to get into the shopping bag.
So, what is it about this magic elixir they call catnip? Does catnip make cat’s high? If so, is catnip good or bad for our kitties, and what are some potential catnip benefits for cat’s? Inquiring cat parent minds need to know!
The Magic Elixir – What is Catnip?
OK, so your cat has a problem, admitting it is the first step! We love our cat’s like children, so it is important we know exactly what we are giving our kitties to roll around in and play with.
Catnip is another name for the herb Nepeta cataria, part of the oregano and spearmint family. Nepeta cataria is a relatively common plant, often found alongside the roads in North America. There are more than 250 species of catnip found around the world today.
The chemical compound in the plant that attracts and affects cat’s is called nepetalactone. It is found in the leaves and stems, and can grow up to three feet high…”high” being the optimal word here.
Is My Cat High, Should I Be Concerned He Has a Problem?
When nepetalactone is inhaled by a cat, it produces a “high” that is known to be similar to the high experienced from either marijuana or LSD. The catnip “high” lasts for about 10 minutes before the effects wear off and the cat returns to normal, or one might say “comes down”.
Some catnip side effects have been known to make cat’s roll around, flip over, and typically act a bit hyper. Over half the cat population seem to be affected by catnip, and the behavior that results can vary from feline to feline. A cat’s reaction or lack there of to catnip is believed to be hereditary, which means cat’s inherit this trait from their parents
Let’s take humans for example, or shall I say our cat’s servants. Let’s use alcohol as an example for all intents and purposes. Cat servant #1 could take a few drinks, enjoy their evening and call it a night. Cat servant #2 has a sensitivity toward alcohol and takes a few drinks, takes a few more drinks, and cannot seem to stop.
Two people ingesting the same substance, have two very different reactions. It is no different for our cat’s who dabble in the nip!
Is catnip good or bad for our kitties?
The active ingredient that makes our felines “high” is nontoxic and has no adverse effects on cat’s. A few felines do become a little more aggressive than usual and tend to be a little more possessive.
If your kitty start to show signs of aggression simply avoid giving your cat catnip or you could give it to them when they have some alone time to enjoy the magic kitty elixir.
Is Your Cat High or Just Tired?
When a cat eats catnip, it acts as a sedative, but when the plant is smelled, it causes the cat to go crazy. It is thought to imitate feline pheromones and trigger those receptors.
If your cat sniffs this magic elixir, and begins rolling around with a catnip toy, he or she could demonstrate a few of the following behavioral changes:
- Increased meowing
- Increased salivation
- Desire to roll around with said catnip toy
- Ears may go back and eyes may widen
- Spuratic bursts of speed
- “Paranoia” LOL
A cat’s behavior can change dramatically when they are introduced to catnip. What exactly it changes to can differ from cat to cat. Senior cat’s may seem to be rejuvenated and begin to act like they did when they were kittens. When my kitty Mr. Grey got sick at the age of 15, he would always perk up when I came home with a new catnip toy for him. Which of course brought me intense joy, knowing he was in the twilight of his years.
Catnipaholism is a progressive “habit”. In the early days of playing with catnip, it seems to make most cat’s more playful and more interested in toys. However, after a certain amount of time, cat’s under the influence of catnip seem to calm down and get sluggish and sleepy. One might say “the nip stopped working”. Or, the catnip no longer does for your cat as it did in the beginning.
If you are worried about your cat ingesting catnip leaves, you can avoid this by purchasing I suggest these catnip toys that are wrapped in cloth. That way your cat can still smell the substance but not eat the leaves.
One benefit that I love about my cat playing with catnip is that it inspires movement and exercise after long periods of rest. Cats typically sleep 12-18 hours a day, so playing with a little catnip is a great way to get them moving and grooving!
Not only does this impact your cat’s overall weight and physical health, it also has a role in minimizing the risk of diabetes and age-related illnesses like arthritis.
Similarly, catnip can be helpful in training – especially if your cat misbehaves (like scratching your furniture). Sprinkle dried catnip on places you’d rather have your cat scratch or sleep on.
Catnip also seems to make most cat’s more playful and more interested in toys. Catnip is purrrfectly safe and the active ingredient is nontoxic and has no adverse effects on cat’s.
This is Your Cat, This is Your Cat on Nip
We all have our vices.
Your cat just happens to like to get “high”. The good news is, your cat’s drug of choice is legal and perfectly safe for your feline royalty to indulge in!
Does catnip make cat’s high? Yes, absolutely. A ten-minute state of kitty euphoria! I highly recommend Yeowww cat nip toys, as it is really fresh and strong. These are high quality, high test catnip toys! If your cat is anything like Uncle Sil, they will go positively wild when you walk through the door with their next “fix”.
Is your cat part of the percentage that has the catnip sensitivity, and goes bonkers for it? What is your cat’s absolute favorite catnip toy? Please feel free to share pictures and comment below, as I’d love to get new ideas for what to buy my King!
Yours in Kitty Health,
Founder of The Cat Chronicles