What is Catnip?
"Catnip" is the common name for a perennial herb of the mint family. It is native to Europe and is an import to the United States and other countries. The catnip plant is now a widespread weed in North America.
Do All Cats Fall Under Its Spell?
No, but three out of four usually have some kind of reaction and over half have the crazy cat, good times that we all love watching.
How long Does "Happy Time" Last?
Given to the right cat, catnip can cause an amazing reaction! The cat will rub it, roll over it, kick at it, and generally go nuts for several minutes. Then the cat will lose interest and walk away. Two hours later, the cat may come back and have exactly the same response.
How Does It Work?
Because there really isn't any scent that causes this sort of reaction in humans, catnip is hard for us to understand. However, it is not an uncommon behavior in animals that rely heavily on their noses.
Although no one knows exactly what happens in the cat's brain, it is known that the chemical nepetalactone in catnip is the thing that triggers the response. Apparently, it somehow kicks off a stereotypical pattern in cats that are sensitive to the chemical. The catnip reaction is inherited, 75% of all cats have the "happy Gene" while the other 25% of cats are just total party-poopers.
How often should I use it?
Not very, I have 5 cats and usually I let them have their fix, once every two weeks or so. Cats can become immune to it's effects so be careful not to over do it. If you really want to see that fun loving reaction then once a month will guarantee you the few minutes of High-Jinks we come to expect.
Are Wildlife Cats like Lions and Tigers also Catnip crazzies?
Yes, they are party animals just like their domesticated cousins and just like Fluffy or Princess they will have the same "I'm lovin it" feeling.