Catnip is a very well known herb to cat owners. It looks like dried up grass and acts like valerian. When around catnip, cats lick, eat or roll around it. The herb is considered as a drug to many people because of the way cats behave around it. But this has been proven a misconception. The herb is not addictive. Also, cats cannot overdose.
More Information about Catnip
Catnip is an herb that belongs to the mint family, scientifically known as Nepeta cataria,. The plant is native to Europe. It grows better in mild climates. They are commonly referred to as catmints or field balms.
Catnip is an herbaceous perennial and mirrors a typical mint family member. It’s square stem is complimented with brown-green foliage, triangular toothed leaves and tiny white flowers that blossom in summer. When the flower blossoms the plant looks beautiful and gives out a sweet aura. It is a short-lived that grows up to 40 inches in both length and width.
Herbal Benefits of Catnip
Catnip can stimulate the nervous system. It contains active molecule nepetalactone, which is also an essential oil. Nepetalactone has a sedative effect. This molecule mimics a cat pheromone and binds to a cat’s olfactory receptors. This is the reason cats hallucinate and go crazy around catnip. However, not all cats react the same way. The reaction to catnip is hereditary. When cats roll, chew or lick the catnip, more oil is be released. This makes the smell stronger and as the smell intrigues the reaction, the reaction will be stronger as well.
Generally, when a receptive cat is exposed to the nepatalactone oil, it will act crazy for about ten minutes to thirty minutes. The effect starts to wear off after that. If the exposure is continued even after that, the cat will not react. This does not affect the cat in any way but merely reduces the effect of catnip on the feline. However, if the cat is taken away from the setting and then later brought closer to catnip later again that day, it will react and behave similarly.
When to Harvest Catnips
At any particular time of the year, catnips can be harvested. It is accessible and easy to grow. You can plant it in your own garden and use it when needed. Leaves and flowering tops of catnip can be harvested during summer as that is when the flowers are in full bloom. The plant has to be provided with ample sunlight and well-drained moist, sandy soil. The plant grows best under these conditions.
Many cat owners look for new ways to keep their cats entertained. This is because cats tend to perturb when bored. They will scratch stools, make weird noises while trying to climb door or mess with the fruits on the dinner table. Cats love the smell of fresh catnip. They recognize it from far away. Catnip is the magic solution to most cat owner’s problems. They rub catnip on a plank or cat dish and use it as a toy bait to keep the cat in place. This keeps both the cats and owner happy. They first 30 minutes, they act weird. And then when they are satisfied, they behave like they have been drugged. Finally they feel drowsy and slip into a nap. The scene is very entertaining. The house feels peaceful. The herb can be used to train cats aswell.
Cats and Catnips
While catnip has an effect on most cats, some cats do not react to it. As already mentioned, the reaction is passed on by earlier generations, the cats that do not react, behave likewise because they did not inherit the reaction. This happens in the human world too, there are people amongst us who do not react as strongly to certain substances. Another reason that some cats might not react to catnip might be because they are under aged. Cats do not react to catnip until they are at least a few months old. So, it is possible that a kitten does not react to catnip but later when she grows up, she will have a very strong reaction.
Catnip helps to establish a very good between the cat and owner. The catnip has a very sweet smell indeed. If the scientific explanation to the reaction to catnip by cats is kept aside, is can be concluded that some cats are simply attracted to the minty smell of the plant. It is a great source of entertainment amongst both humans and felines.
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