Is Your Cat Allergic To Catnip?

November 8, 2010

in Cats

Catnip is more than just something that makes cats go wild. It is a plant that is part of the mint family. For a cat, ingesting catnip makes them wild in the same manner as your average bar drunkard. The reaction can range from your usual crazy cat things to those unexplainable things that only a cat can do and no other animal couldn’t.

Nepetalactone is a chemical found in the makeup of catnip that causes a lot of varied and often amusing reactions when ingested by cats. The scent of catnip is immediately picked up by cats due to their extraordinary sense of smell.

After smelling the catnip, most cats would lick it a bit after being interested with the smell. Then they would come back to eat the rest of the catnip leaves. Then it’s time to go crazy in a way only a cat can do – they would often start by rolling around in the leaves and letting the catnip get to their fur.

Shortly after ingesting catnip, a cat may leap, roll, wiggle, purr and seem to freak out. The cat may become aggressive toward another pet when under the influence of catnip. And like a lot of us enjoy drinking in moderation, a cat may nibble catnip in moderation and just flash a wide grin. This usually lasts for a few minutes, good thing for most cat owners.

It may take a little more time, like a few hours, for most cats to start acting normally again. Catnip doesn’t hold much interest for older, grizzled cats who might have tried it while younger. Smaller, younger kittens don’t care much for catnip either. You can either purchase catnip as a dried leaf or in oil form, and it’s found at most pet stores. Just a small drop of the oil is all that’s needed to get a reaction. You can also purchase catnip-scented toys. The potency of catnip declines over time.

So toss out the old toys regularly and get fresh catnip toys so your cat gets the same enjoyment out of it. Catnip may belong to the same family as basil, oregano or spearmint, but unlike these related plants, they don’t make a cat go like catnip does.

If you see your cat putting on the moves on a cat of the opposite sex, then chances are it might be the catnip. Since humans do have substance abuse issues, is it possible for a feline to suffer from catnip abuse? Fortunately, cats aren’t like people in that sense – they may get hooked to the catnip in a way but they won’t cause a fuss if they can’t get any.

Catnip is a unique treat you can offer to your cat a few times per week, and no, it is not simultaneously addictive and destructive. And since cats can be territorial, make sure to buy enough catnip for all of them and segregate their share so they don’t fight each other for it.

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