Catnip – a green experience
Catnip is often very fascinating to cats and cat lovers. There are about 250 different species of Nepeta Cataria and it is often referred to as “catnip” or “cat-mint”. Catnip can be found in cat toys, sold in bulk or as a garden plant. There are even variants with the scent of lemon. Some people use catnip to encourage their cat to play with with a specific toy – especially scratching post.
Triggering a reaction
Not all cats react to catnip. The reaction varies according to the cat’s genes. About 80% of all cats in Great Britain react to catnip while most cats in Australia absolutely do not respond to it. This is because they descended from a small genetic strain of cats who does not react to it. Also, kittens doesn’t often not react to catnip until they are 6-8 weeks old and it may take up to 12 weeks before this behavior is fully developed.
The cats who react to catnip usually show a euphoric behavior where they roll around, purr, howl, lick, jump and even drool. This intense reaction only lasts a few minutes and tend not to be repeated until one to two hours later. If the cat often gets catnip, it is less likely that it will react to it so there is no risk that it will develop dependence. Some experts have recommended that cat owners should only give their cat catnip twice a week if they want their cat to continue enjoying the catnip experience.
Cats do not usually eat catnip, but it is not uncommon to see them chew on the leaves or push them up towards their mouth. This action delivers the oil, which contains the ingredient nepetalactone. It is believed that the smell is the way in which nepetalactone delivers its effect and that this active ingredient tends to diminish over time. Because of this the catnip should be stored in the freezer until needed.
Sowing of grass
It is not uncommon to see cats chew on grass outdoors. – An experience that indoor cats rarely enjoy. Although the grass does not provide any food or by any means is necessary for the cat, it is thought that cats gets some kind of pleasure from the experience. By allowing your cat to eat grass you also won’t experience your cat chewing on your houseplants (some of which can be toxic). You can buy seeds of different grass species that can grow indoors. Some variants, such as wheat or oats are often recommended because they don’t get stuck in -or damage the tongue. It is best to sow the grains every second to third week because the cats like the young new grass the best. When the grass is long enough, you can put it next to food and water bowl so your cat can eat it whenever it wants. Some cats may throw up hairballs, containing grass, but there is no reason for concern. Indeed, many believe that grass could be useful to prevent the hairballs getting stuck in the throat of your cat.
Video / short documentary about catnip
My other Cat and Kitten-related articles:
Keeping your Cat or Kitten Fit