Cats are domestic cats that have not lost their instinct as a hunter, hence their independent, exploratory and adventurous nature that often drives owners crazy, who must stay alert and informed, for example, about those plants that are toxic to cats.
However, practically all those people who have received a cat in their home know that there is a plant that far from being toxic they love and provokes in them different reactions, we are facing the famous catnip. If you want to know more about this plant, in this article we tell you about the properties of catnip or catnip grass.
What is catnip?
Catnip is known by the botanical name of Nepeta cataria, although it also receives other names such as cat mint, cat basil, catnip, catnip or gataria.
It is certainly a plant whose appearance is similar to that of mint and spearmint, its leaves are green, with jagged edges and its length is between 20 and 60 centimeters high. While is a plant native to Europe, also grows wild in North America and Western Asia.
Why does this plant like cats so much?
Catnip is very rich in essential oils and this makes 7 of each 10 cats react before her, showing an unusual interest in this plant.
First we can observe how the cat approaches the plant, rubs against it, licks it, chews it and emits sounds similar to those of the cat’s zeal, but this reaction does not end here, afterwards there are many cats that start jumping from one place to another, to run. They can also roll on themselves and hunt imaginary mice. Yes, without a doubt this plant exercises a narcotic effect that seduces more than one feline, but why is this reaction?
This narcotic effect is due to an active principle called nepetalactone, this substance is able to bind to those cells whose function is to stimulate the sensory neurons and the reaction that the cat experiences before this plant is due to an overstimulation that does not occur naturally to other stimuli.
In addition to the narcotic effect, catnip induces in the cat similar behaviors to those that occur during courtship and mating.
Properties of catnip
Due to its properties, catnip provides several benefits to your cat:
- It encourages you to play and move
- It makes it easier for you to stay active and exercise
- Stimulates the cat’s mind thanks to the game
This is why we should not be surprised that numerous cat toys as well as scrapers include catnip, besides, nowadays it can also be found in the form of an aerosol and spray it on your pet it will allow it to react through smell to nepetalactone, thus obtaining an immediate reward that can be used as positive reinforcement.
Can catnip get toxic for your cat?
Catnip it is not toxic for cats and neither addictive, therefore, there is no problem in that our cat is moderately exposed to this plant, and yes, moderation here is very important.
A cat continuously exposed to the narcotic effect of catnip can be dangerous, because although it is not usual, it can lead to aggressive behavior, in the same way, excessive exposure can endanger the health of the animal if there are terraces or open windows.
Catnip is ideal for our cats, which is why they generally love it, however, we emphasize that Moderation and supervision is important.
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