As a member of the mint family, catnip is a fairly common plant sold at big box stores and many small nurseries. The essential oil nepetalactone, found in catnip, can have powerful effects on a cat, turning them into an unrecognizable feline. The effects are different depending on your cat and some cats do not feel any effects. So, what can happen if you give your feline friend catnip?

When a cat come in contact with catnip their reaction may be one of playful hyperactivity. The pheromones emitted by catnip often stimulates receptors in the brain similar to those that are triggered when the cat is happy. Because of this your cat may start running around the house, playing with toys, or depending on your cat’s personality, start attacking people that get too close.

Other cats react differently, as they become more relaxed, they may roll around on the floor, snuggling the ground or other objects, and eventually just lay out in a daze. This type of effect is more common for cats that ingest catnip rather than relying on its scent.

While many cats react to catnip, a handful of felines have no response to the scent or taste of catnip. Most cats have zero response to catnip until they are over 6 months old. If your cat does respond to catnip, the effects only last about 10-15 minutes.

Whether you are growing catnip for your feline or for its herbal properties, be sure to test catnip with your cat, before allowing them to have unlimited access to the plant. Some crazy cat behavior can be avoided by restricting catnip. Contact West Ballantyne Animal Hospital for all of your veterinarian cat care needs.