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The Surprising Science behind Catnip

Most cat owners have had hours’ worth of entertainment watching their feline friends bounce after playing with a da bird toy filled with cat nip. However, have you ever wondered why this substance is so irresistible to cats across the globe?


What makes it so addictive?

Cat nip, which is also often called catmint, is a small perennial herb that forms a part of the mint family. It contains a chemical compound called nepetalactone in the leaves and stems. When the scent from this herbaceous plant is inhaled by your cat, it has a stimulant effect on their nervous system.


It is commonly believed that the scent closely resembles the natural pheromones that are released by cats. When they experience this phenomenon, it triggers receptors in their brains that cause them to go into a frenzied state which can be addictive for your feline friend.


What effect does it have on my cat?

When you give your cat a da bird toy filled with this herbaceous plant, they may experience the following sensations:

  • When your cat inhales the scent from catmint, they will experience a sensation of being intoxicated that is similar to the effects that marijuana or LSD has on the human brain.

  • Cats respond to this sensation by rolling around, being hyperactive or flipping over. However, it is important to keep in mind that each feline is different and may respond differently to the effects of this herb.

  • After exposure to catmint, your cat with experience this intoxicated sensation for approximately 10 minutes before it ends and your feline friend returns to their normal condition.

More interesting facts about catmint

  • If your cat ingests this type of herb, it will have a sedative effect on them. It is important to limit their consumption of this herb as it may cause diarrhea and vomiting.

  • Approximately 50% of all cats are affected by catmint while the other 50% do not show any response when exposed to the scent. If your cat is affected by this herb, it will only become apparent when they reach seven months of age as young kittens are immune to the effects.

  • Vets recommend that you only expose your cat to this herb once every two or three weeks to avoid the formation of a habit. Your cat may also become immune to the effects after repeated exposure.

  • Cat owners can also use this type of herb as a natural sedative that is similar to chamomile.

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