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Why do cats like catnip?

What is catnip and why are cats so fond of it?
Girls playing with a cat in front of a window

What is catnip?

Catnip, officially called Nepeta cataria, is an herb from the mint family. 

Why do cats like catnip?

Catnip contains nepetalactone, which is said to resemble the cat's own pheromones. Two out of three cats who inhale the scent of catnip can experience a moment that we can liken to ecstasy. It can simply lift your cat's mood.

Even reserved feline personalities can end up in a state when exposed to the mint's chemical compound.

How do I give my cat catnip?

Give your cat catnip by spraying, smearing or placing catnip on, for example, the cat's toy or scratching post. Small amounts are usually enough for your cat.

Catnip should not be eaten as it can lead to vomiting and diarrhoea.

How often can I give my cat catnip?

The effects of catnip are short and usually only last 5-15 minutes. After that, it usually takes a while before the cat becomes interested in catnip again. Catnip does not cause permanent damage, however, your cat can become addicted if it is exposed too often.

Where can I buy catnip?

You can grow catnip yourself or you can buy it in pet stores. Catnip comes in different forms; powder, oil or oil spray. There are also toys that are pre-prepared with catnip or have catnip inside.

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