Nepeta Cataria, commonly known as Catnip or Catmint is a perennial herb from the mint family labiatae. The safe active ingredient nepetalcataria, is an essential oil which alters the behaviour of domestic and other species of cats. Listed below are some facts that you may or may not know about this plant.
- Different Names. As Catnip is part of the mint family, it is often called Catmint.
- Not all cats love Catnip! Catnip is obviously known to be a cat attractant, but not all cats love it and won’t have the same effect on every cat. It is believed that a whole third of the cat population is ‘immune’ to catnip.
- Catnip affects big cats too! Catnip also has a similar effect on some species of leopards, cougars and lynxes. Lions and tigers have similarly been affected, but not as consistently.
- Butternip? Catnip has also been known to attract butterflies and lacewings!
- Mortein anyone? While catnip attracts some insects, it has also been known to repel other species of insects such as aphids, squash bugs, cockroaches and termites!
- Not harmful to cats. Catnip may create some odd behavioural effects on your cat, but rest assured, it is completely safe for cats to consume! They won’t become addicted and there are no negative side effects.
- It’s not just for cats…it turns out, humans have been using catnip for centuries! It was used in teas, herbal cigarettes and in cooking for a very long time. In some parts of the world, it is still used for human consumption!
- Cat’s don’t actually eat catnip. Cats never actually intend to eat catnip, rather, brush up against it or lick it to release the oils, which in turn releases the effects on the plant.
- Doesn’t affect kittens. Cats under 6 months old don’t respond to catnip!
- Opposite effect on dogs! While catnip often makes your cat energetic and excitable, it has the opposite effects on dogs and works as a sedative!
Where to Source Catnip
- Most pet shops will sell toys filled with Catnip
- Fresh, you can grow it indoors
- Dried, you can sprinkle it on your kitty toys or on the floor
- Spray, refresh old Catnip toys or play areas