Free Pet Classifieds at Petmanacs.com

Pets Articles Complete List of Pet Articles @ PetManiacs.com | Home

Why Cats Flip For Catnip


If you've ever watched as a cat "flipped" over fresh catnip perhaps you've been struck with the question; "what causes Catnip to affect cats that way?" Catnip is indeed an unusual phenomenon among cats, it has the ability to alter your cat's behavior like nothing else can. So what exactly is the reason for what scientists have coined as "the Catnip effect"?

Unfortunately for such inquisitive minds the exact reason of why Catnip affects cats in such a manner remains mostly a mystery. There is however much that we do know about Catnip and cats even if we don't have the ultimate answer of exactly "why?" yet answered.

The Science Stuff

Catnip is scientifically classified as Nepeta cataria and is a perennial herb from the mint family and is in fact also referred to as "Catmint". It is a plant indigenous to Europe but has been exported and is now found all over including the United States and Canada.

The active ingredient in Catnip is an oil; Nepetalactone, which is found in the leaves of the plant. This is the reason you are able to find Catnip in a bottle or spray form in some pet stores.

Other Uses For Catnip

Catnip is not only good to stimulate activity in cats, it can also be used by humans as an herb for a medicinal tea which may soothe toothaches, help against coughs, and may also perform as a sleep aid. Furthermore, Catnip can be used as an herb on salads or other foods as has been the case for centuries in France. Lately Catnip has also been garnering favor as a natural insect repellant rivaling the effectiveness of many store bought varieties of repellant.

Catnip and Kitty

Catnip affects approximately half of all cats. What determines whether or not a cat will react to Catnip is a genome that is inherited (or not inherited as the case may be) at birth. Kittens, regardless of whether or not they carry this genome, do not react to Catnip until reaching about 3 or 4 months of age and becoming sexually mature. Older cats are also more likely to have a diminished or non-existing reaction to Catnip, which leads scientists to believe that the Catnip effect is based at least partially on sexuality and that the reaction may be something like an aphrodisiac. Further adding to this belief is the similarity of a sexual pheromone found in the urine of the male cat to nepetalactone (the active product in Catnip).

Cats that can be traced to regions where Catnip is not indigenous appear to be unaffected by Catnip. The domesticated housecat is not the only cat that may be affected by Catnip. Larger cats can also be affected by the Catnip effect, felines such as the bobcat, lynx, tiger and even lion are known to react much the same way the common housecat would. It is interesting to note that while Catnip can act as a stimulant when a cat sniffs it, it can conversely act as a relaxant if ingested. Therefore, you may see a different, nearly opposite result depending on whether your cat chooses to eat the Catnip you provide for him/her or merely sniffs it (the latter being the more typical behavior).

How to Use Catnip With Your Cat

Catnip can prove to be a very useful tool for a few common problems with your cat. If you are lucky enough to have a cat that does react favorably to Catnip then here are a couple of ideas for you and your furry little friend.

Catnip and Lazy Cats:

Catnip can be used to get a lazy cat off his or her butt. Some cats are notoriously lazy, choosing to sleep much of their day away in a nice golden patch of sunlight on the living room carpet, only waking up to eat and gather some necessary attention from their indulgent owners. If this sounds like your cat, you may soon see (if you haven't already) that your cat is becoming more and more round. This is generally not a good thing. Catnip may be able to help. Presenting catnip to your cat encourages activity (of course provided the cat sniffs rather than eats the herb).

Many adult cats will respond to Catnip in a manner that resembles their childlike kitten hyperactivity, jumping, playing and running around as if it was given an injection of kitty adrenaline, which in essence, is the case. The effect of Catnip on a cat can last somewhere between two and fifteen minutes. If the latter is the case, then this is a decent amount of exercise and will help keep your cat a little more svelte than without a Catnip treatment. Furthermore, if you leave the Catnip out for a few hours then your cat may return to the herb later (an hour or two after the effect has worn off) and again react in an energetic fashion. So in this sense you may consider Catnip sort of like a kitty energy drink.

Catnip and Cats That Scratch Furniture:

If you have a cat that seems bent on the destruction of your furniture then Catnip may again be able to come to the rescue. Cats can be frustratingly picky about just about anything under the sun including where they want to sharpen their furniture destroying claws. It is not uncommon for a cat to damage or destroy a piece of furniture just because the owners finally gave up on trying to redirect their cat to the unused cat scratching post that set them back anywhere up to a hundred dollars and more. A good way to attempt to change this frustrating and expensive behavior is to rub some Catnip or Catnip oil on a scratching post that you are attempting to get the cat to use. Introduce your cat to the newly "Catnipped" scratching post and see how he/she reacts. If all goes well, your cat will sniff and inspect the post and then begin clawing at it. After a few times (you may have to re-Catnip the post) hopefully kitty will be trained to use the post rather than the sofa.

Using Catnip with Multiple Cats

If you've never used Catnip before and you have more than one cat it is advisable to try it out individually on each cat before introducing it to all of your cats at the same time. The reason is because Catnip affects some cats in a negative manner causing the cat in question to become aggressive rather than merely playful. Introducing it to your cats individually enables you to control the situation and keep a cat that may react aggressively isolated from your other cats. This of course means avoiding a possible catfight that could result in broken furniture, hurt kitties (possibly requiring a vet visit), annoyed neighbors (and probably owners), or a combination of all of the above.

Growing and Keeping Catnip

Growing your own Catnip can be rewarding as it can save you money, give you the satisfaction of doing something yourself and ensuring that you always get fresh, high-quality Catnip for your cat. A word of caution however; the exact kitty reaction you want to grow your own Catnip is something to be wary of. If you plan on growing your Catnip out of doors and other cats can access your Catnip garden then be prepared for unwelcome feline visitors. This may not be a problem for you personally, but cats are by nature territorial and if you have a cat that lives alone without the company of other cats this could prove to be an area of stress for your cat. Even if you keep your cat inside at all times, your cat may get agitated if he/she looks out the window to see another cat frolicking in territory your cat considers his or her own. If you choose to grow your Catnip indoors, be careful to keep it out of reach of kitty. Otherwise you'll likely have Fluffy jumping up on furniture even to the most out of the way place to get access to the tempting herb. Cats are great jumpers and not really known for respecting precious household knick-knacks. So if you do decide to grow it indoors for a cat that reacts to Catnip, be careful to grow it in a place that your cat won't be able to access it. A room that you always keep closed to the cat is probably the best solution for indoor grown Catnip.

If you do find that your cat reacts positively to Catnip you should be sure to use it sparingly so as not to dull the effect which can be the result of overexposure. A good rule of thumb is to not treat your kitty more than once a week on average to Catnip.

Given all the positive effects that Catnip may have on your cat you owe it to yourself (and naturally your fluffy little ball of affection) to see how he/she reacts to this strange and well known herb. It will provide enjoyment and exercise for your cat and most likely an entertaining show for yourself as well. It's a win win situation.

Andy Markison is an illustrator, graphic designer, animal lover and pet owner living in Germany. His website, ZapGraphix.com, sells fun and humorous pet related merchandise.


MORE RESOURCES:
RELATED ARTICLES
A Dog Day Care Franchise - Is It Really Worth It?
When you take into account that there are over 68,000,000 dogs in the United States alone, you can see why many people consider taking advantage of a dog day care franchise.However, before you even think about a dog day care franchise, please do a self evaluation and make sure you are doing it for the right reasons.
Comparison of the Cost and Effectiveness of Holistic Horse Care versus Conventional Care
After years of practicing both conventional and holistic medicine for horses, I decided to compare the cost, effectiveness, and net results of managing and treating horses holistically versus conventionally.In this article I compare results for the average trail horse that is ridden about 2-3 times a week.
Horse Training Creativeness: The 5th Of 6 Keys To Developing A Partnership With Your Horse
The 6 Keys To Building A Life Long Partnership With YourHorse.Today I am going to ask you to think about being creative when playing with your horse.
Introducing a New Kitten to Your Older Cat.
So, you read somewhere that introducing a new kitten into your home could be great for your existing cat, for companionship. And you remember how much fun your cat was when she was a new kitten, and you would love to re-live those days.
Dogs and Old Age, How To Care For Your Aging Canine
Now that you're dog has shown you so much love andbrought you so much joy throughout your many yearstogether, it's time that you return the favor when the dogreaches his elder years. Caring for an older dog is much likecaring for an elderly person.
Whats the Best Diet for a Pregnant Cat?
Pregnant cats have to eat for two, three, four, five, even six cats. So her regular meal is just not enough.
Proper Diet For the Discus Fish
The Discus fish has its habitat in the South American waters of Brazil and Peru. Discus fish are classified as "grazers", and in the wild constantly forage for food.
Caring for Your Dogs Teeth
A dog, like a human baby, experiences the world through his mouth, by tasting and chewing on things. But, he also uses his mouth is as his hands.
Fat and Obese Dogs Live Shorter Lives
Obesity is one of the most important health concerns facing dogs. If you love your dog, you should do something about it.
Dog Worms -- Dont Let Them Get Started
There may be no warning before dog worms strike.It was about two AM, when beneath our bed the new puppy we'd brought home from the pound just a month earlier began screaming.
Acclimating New Birds
Now that my services have expanded into the "matchmaking" business, it dawned on me that we need to talk about the transition of a bird moving to a new home, whether a hand fed baby just adopted to a new home or an older bird going to a second home. This is a stressful time for any bird, but you can help lessen the strife and make the move easier for both your new bird and the rest of the family.
The Myth of 100% Complete Processed Pet Foods
Every day, people by the millions pour food from a package into their pet's bowl. Day in and day out, meal after meal, pets get the same fare.
Training Collars: Teaching Your Dog Basic Obedience and Breaking Bad Habits
Training CollarsTraining collars are a tool many pet owners utilize to teach their pets boundaries. There are several different types and several different options available to the consumer.
Dog Training Book - Why Buy One? When Everything is Free Online!
I'm a dog lover who believes that every dog owners should train their dogs if they truly love and care for them. Because I believe that dog training gives dogs a happier and healthier life.
Choosing Dog Tags for Your Canine
Remember when you first met your dog? He was fresh and new, and you were just getting to know each other. You went through training together, perhaps even ate together.
Take that Junk out of your Trunk
Your local grocery store is chock full of food and treats that are stuffed with bad quality ingredients. It is a real shock that the shelves do not simply collapse under the weight of all that rubbish.
How To Adopt A Shelter Cat - Your New Cat Will Thank You For Reading This Article
If you are thinking of adding a feline to your family, consider adopting a cat from your local animal shelter or humane society. The animals have been carefully screened for adoptability and have usually been worked with to enhance sociability.
Buster the Beloved Pussycat
"Dogs have owners; cats have staff," and I have worked for some wonderful cats in my time. The one I loved best was named Buster.
An Introduction to Dog Beds
Some people are so attached to their pets that they wouldn't dream of asking them to simply curl up on the floor to go to sleep. Pet owners, especially dog owners, have created an industry for dog beds that rivals the bedding industry for humans in both creativity and profit margins.
Cat Scratching Solutions
For a cat, scratching is a natural, necessary act. Besides keeping her claws in top shape, the stretching involved in a good scratch keeps her upper body strong and loose.



PetManiacs.com's Free! Pet Classified Ads
Click here to Post your ads | View by Location | View by Subject
Click here to Post your ads | View by Location | View by Subject


Pet Website Owners Wanted





Pet Maniacs home | site map | Pet Article List
© 2013