All About Catnip

Thinking of giving your feline friend a little catnip to see what happens? Learn about the basics of catnip below from a Niagara Falls, ON vet.

What is Catnip?

Catnip is an herb, classified in the same family as mint. It grows on a plant that can reach several feet in height and is characterized by white flowers with telltale purple spots. Catnip is processed and sold commercially at pet stores and retail outlets.

Catnip contains a chemical compound known as nepetalactone, which is a sort of cat pheromone. This is the compound that causes the effects in cats that we see.

What Does Catnip Do?

Nepetalactone acts as an aphrodisiac, eliciting an almost sexual response in cats. While different cats will react differently to the herb, many roll around in the catnip, rub their faces and bodies near it, vocalize loudly, and run around excitedly. Other cats become euphoric and calm. Others don’t react at all—this is because cats need a specific gene, inherited from their parents, to feel catnip’s effects.

Your veterinarian Niagara Falls, ON can answer any further questions you may have about catnip, where to get it, and how it may affect your feline friend.

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