When we take a kitten to live with us, we immediately try to pamper it a lot and offer it many toys so that it can have fun and burn off energy. Some cat products have catnip, or catnip, in the formula.
We will tell you what this substance is and how it acts in the pet’s organism. Many people who have cats are not very familiar with the effects it causes, so let’s explain where it came from and how it works.
what is catnip
Better known as catnip, catnip is a medicinal herb in the mint family. Its name of origin is Nepeta Cataria, derived from the Italian city of Nepeta, where the plant was first cultivated.
Catnip is very similar to mint and begins to bloom in late spring, right through to fall . Its flowers are pink and lilac.
In Veterinary Medicine, catnip is widely used both to calm the most aggressive cats and to cheer up and exercise the most apathetic ones.
It contains a substance called Neptalactone that acts on the animal’s brain and causes changes in behavior, making it feel excited and euphoric.
Upon smelling catnip, the cat is awakened by a kind of predatory instinct. As soon as cats smell the plant, they start licking it and some even try to chew it.
When euphoric with the action of the substance, cats are very likely to start to get restless, shaking their heads, rubbing themselves on the floor, growling, drooling, running and jumping in high places.
The catnip effect lasts around 10 minutes. After all this hustle, the pet goes into a sleepy state.
In what way does it work and what does it do?
In Veterinary Medicine, catnip is used to calm the most agitated or aggressive cats and to cheer up those who are more apathetic.
Catnip can be used in many ways. An example of use is to put it on scratching posts so that the cat gets used to and is interested in using the toy, thus preventing it from scratching sofas or other furniture.
It can also be used in toys or in the place where the animal must sleep so that it understands what its objects are. In some cases, weed can be put in the feed to help the pet that doesn’t like to eat much.
Cats who spend a lot of time alone at home can enjoy catnip, avoiding the stress caused by the feeling of abandonment. If your kitten gets aggressive when you have visitors, it can be used to calm him down.
If your pet shows frequent aggressive behavior, you can use the herb, placing it in the place where you want it to sleep. Thus, he will associate the place with calm and rest.
Cat’s weed cannot be used too often so as not to lose its effect. Once a week is the ideal frequency and will make all the difference in your pet’s routine, making him more active.
catnip side effects
The effects of euphoria and agitation are the most common and do not harm the pet. When catnip is inhaled, its smell activates the amygdala and hypothalamus, which are responsible for emotions and happy reactions.
That’s why the predator instinct is stimulated. He feels like hunting, he runs a lot and his tension is released.
Many people believe that weed is a kind of drug and are therefore afraid that cats will become addicted. Contrary to what many think, weed is completely harmless, does not harm health and is not addictive.
The only care we must take is ingestion because some cats may want to eat it. It’s good to prevent this from happening, as weed can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea in some pets that have the most sensitive digestion.
Does it work with all cats?
Catnip works on about 70% of cats . Puppies younger than six months and the elderly generally do not feel the effects. The animals are sensitive to weed during sexual maturity.
Another interesting thing is that weed sensitivity is hereditary. This means that some cats have genes to develop the behavior provoked by it, while others do not show any symptoms.
If you put your cat in contact with catnip and you don’t notice any changes in behavior, don’t worry. Some felines are immune or resistant and end up not being as euphoric or relaxed with use.
care and precautions
Just like humans, each cat is unique. Therefore, it is very important to study your cat’s behavior before and after using catnip.
Although she is harmless, some cats that already have high aggressive behavior can potentialize this energy. With that, they can extravasate and create fights with other cats, for example.
So watch if the play level gets elevated to the point where he fights or scratches beyond normal. Know your cat’s profile well and use the herb in the correct form and quantity.
When we present a new experience to our pet, we must observe its reactions. Although it rarely happens, it may be that catnip makes the male cat more aggressive due to its connection to mating.
To avoid surprises and stressful situations, start using a small amount of the herb and see how your pet reacts. Animals cannot say what they feel, so we must be aware of the signs they use in communication.