Catnip is very popular among cat lovers society but some people still have no idea of what actually is it. Therefore it is necessary to learn information and how to use catnip for every feline owner. I believe this easy and informative research may help you to understand it because some people still think it is unsafe to give the kitty and human both.
The meaning of catnip
Image source – Wikipedia
It is a short-lived perennial plant which is from the mint family. The scientific name is Nepeta Cataria but generally well known as Catmint, Catnip or Catswort. It has coarse tooth leave and small pink or white color flowers with faint purple dots. Sometimes those beautiful tiny flowers. The entire plant is about 3 feet tall. Along with leaves, those flowers are fragrant too. This plant is originally from southern and eastern Europe, Asia and Africa. But widely cultivated in North America and Northern Europe.
Now Catswort is also planted as home decoration in worldwide. This herbaceous plant contains aromatic volatile essential oil which as the chemical Nepetalactone. Nepetalactone can stimulate neurological responses to felines not only domesticated cats but also big ones like lions, tigers, and others feline family. Around 80% felines are triggered by catnip but some are not. Normally kittens and old ones are less affected or no effect sometimes. Different cats show different sensitivity to Catmint. This is not certainly a drug even it shows drug-like effects.The essential oil can be extracted by steam distillation. I have written an article about ” do cats eat catnip or not ” in a different post. You can take a look here for more detailed information.
The effect of catnip on felines and humans
Stimulation effect on humans is not same that is shown in cats. Even among felines, few are resistant to it. The chemical Nepetalactone can cause behavior effects which have basically 2 types depend on inheritance if cats. After sniffing and chewing the plant, the first type is common and followed by the signs of head and body rolling around, paw on the plant or rub the leaves with head, meow, growl. This effect is short-lived and may not last more than 15 mins in maximum.
It is a funny thing to see kitties in drunk like condition but some kitties will show excitement, aggression, growl, hiss, and scratch back the owner after triggered by Nepetetactone instead of showing drunk like behaviors. Excessive amount ingestion can cause drooling, sleepiness, laziness, purring and unstable mental condition. But there is no need to worry about as it is natural and they will be Ok after Euphoria. If some cats have no response to catnip, they may respond to alternate plants like valerian root and silver vine. For example, felines in Australia seem not showing interest in catswort.
Furbabies do not a hangover and they will not do overdose as they have the common sense to stop at perfect high level. Cat owners try catnip as calming herb when furry queens are in heat but not all queens are being soothed by it but some are getting more hyper instead of relaxing due to the different type of neurological response. Multiple feline owners should give separately to individual ones to avoid a fight from sudden aggressive behavior. Nepetalactone can cause mind sedative effect and hallucination in cats and dogs after ingesting but it is not a drug and sure to be no addicted. Although it is safe for normal kitties, better not give it to the pregnant queen. Not only felines, Catmint is also useful for humans are traditional herbal medicine. Since it gives a different neurological response, humans are not going to be hyper, but it can make the mild sedative effect to soothe and relax the mind.
The common use of catnip for humans and cats
This little herbal plant is very useful in multiple ways. The earliest use was documented by native American and general Irish herbal medical lists in 1735. Native American people use catmint as a relaxing agent when their infant cried severely. This plant is very well recommended to banish insomnia, headache, and anxiety. For humans, it is served as dry leaves to infuse as herbal tea but I do not recommend for pregnant women because it can cause the problem in urine construction. Around 1960, catnip was smoked to get a high euphoric sensation like other herbal tea. Internationally considered by millions of anti-chemical user approved as natural mind painkiller and also good as aromatic treatment of insomnia, anxiety, stress, and stomach upset.
The crushed paste of fresh leaves is used as a natural antiseptic for the minor injury. In history, there was an executioner who had to eat catnip for calming himself so he could kill prisoners with a stable mind. Catmint is well known for great powerful insect repellent which is 10 times more powerful than DEET. Having this beautiful aromatic plant can make your home free from the mosquito, fly and even from nasty cockroaches. In cosmetics and insect repellent products,15% of catnip essence is enough to make the product works. For tea, 1 or 2 spoon maximum dry crushed leaves put in room temperature water. Let it settle for few minutes and drink.
For cats, this plant is used to play train them for making familiar with human owners. And also powerful training aid to get the proper behavior of what owner wants. For example, distracting naughty kitty from sofa or carpet by putting catnip essence on toys and scratching post. You can also use old toys so kitty can get interested back on them. There are 6 types of Catmint toys you can commonly find in the market.
Stuffed cloth toys– This is generally dry catnip stuffed soft cloth toy which is mostly in mouse or fish figure. This type is most well common nowadays.
Dried catnip-It is the traditional way and also very common training aid. Fresh product is better quality so be careful when you buy.
Plant-You can grow by yourself from seed or just ok to buy a grown plant in the pot from the market if you are not patient to wait. I am lazy to wait so I chose the second option.
Catnip bubble– Businessmen are the genius to make children and cat both happy. The kid can enjoy with special bubble which is infused with the essence of catnip oil. It is very new products. I cannot say how feline respond to this one.
Spray– Alternative version of the dry sachet. Works like the old traditional way but less messy and more convenient. It is kind of new on the market too.
Catnip wine– Do not worry if you do not have a romantic partner to share wine because wine with Catwort essence is now available. This is good to have a feline which sits on lap and share drink wine together with you.
Now, I think you may clear a few general cat health and other facts about catnip. Not only your furry babies, you can also enjoy this wonderful herb too. Choose the best type of toy for beloved kitties, bubbles or wine. It is also Ok to share dry catnip while you are drinking infused tea.