Properties of catnip or catnip

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Cats are domestic felines that have not lost their hunter instinct, hence their independent, explorer and adventurous nature that often drives owners crazy, who must stay alert and informed, for example, about those toxic plants for cats.

However, practically all those people who have welcomed a cat into their home know that there is a plant that, far from being toxic, they love and it causes various reactions in them, we are dealing with the well-known catnip. If you want to know more about this plant, in this Animal Expert article we will tell you about the properties of catnip or catnip.

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  1. What is catnip?
  2. Why do cats like this plant so much?
  3. Catnip properties
  4. Can catnip be toxic to your cat??

What is catnip?

Catnip goes by the botanical name of Nepeta cataria, Although it also receives other names such as catmint, cat basil, catnip, catnip or catnip.

It is certainly a plant whose appearance is similar to that of mint and spearmint, its leaves are green, with serrated edges and its length is between 20 and 60 centimeters in height. Yes OK it is a plant native to Europe, also grows wild in North America and Western Asia.

Why do cats like this plant so much?

Catnip is very rich in essential oils and this makes it 7 out of 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 heat, but this reaction does not end here, later there are many cats that begin to jump from one place to another, to run ... They can also roll on themselves and hunt imaginary mice. Yes, without a doubt this plant exerts a narcotic effect that seduces more than one feline, ¿But why does this reaction occur??

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 sensitive neurons and the reaction that the cat experiences before this plant is due to an overstimulation that does not occur naturally when faced with other stimuli..

In addition to the narcotic effect, catnip induces behaviors in the cat similar to those that occur during courtship and mating.

Catnip properties

Due to its properties, catnip provides your cat with several benefits:

  • It encourages you to play and move
  • Makes it easy for you to stay active and exercise
  • Stimulate the cat's mind thanks to the game

For this reason, it should not be surprising that many cat toys as well as scratchers include catnip, in addition, today it can also be found in the form of a spray and spray it on your pet allow you to react through smell to nepetalactone, thus obtaining an immediate reward that can be used as positive reinforcement.

Can catnip be toxic to your cat??

Catnip it is not toxic for cats and not addictive either, therefore, there is no problem in our cat being 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, since although it is not usual, it can manifest aggressive behaviors, 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 felines, which is why they generally love it, however, we emphasize that moderation and supervision is important.

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