What is Cat Nip?

Catnip or catmint is a plant from the mint family. Quite easy to grow and with natural insect repellant properties you might like to plant some for your own favourite feline if , that is, you don't mind every feral or pet cat in your neighbourhood stopping by to get high.

The attraction to nepatalactone, a chemical emitted by the catnip plant is resticted to cats and is genetic. About 80% of cats are susceptible though older cats may lose the impulse and kittens do not react at all until they are somewhere between four and six months. Females tend to be more strongly attracted than males.

Even most of the members of the large cats react to catnip though tigers seem not to like it much and cheetahs don't react at all.

In the past it was believed that catnip was a hallucinogenic for humans but this has since been disproved. The herb is still used in alternative medicine for the treatment of digestive complaints. It can be used in teas or salads and as a meat tenderizer and has even been shown to be a very effective natural mosquito and cockroach repellant, so it obviously has

Whatever it's uses for humans there is no doubt that catnip drives cats to distraction. They'll rub themselves on it, roll on the plants, nip at it, becoming quite oblivious to all around them.

Catnip is harmless to cats and if you want to give your cat a treat there is absolutely no reason not to indulge him with a catnip toy. The fresher the catnip the stronger the attraction so toys made with fresh catnip are better or buy some catnip oil and make your own.

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