Why do Cats go Nuts for Catnip?

What is catnip?

Catnip is a herb that is closely related to the mint family. Not all cats fall for it, but those that do absolutely love it. The key ingredient is nepetalactone and this can bring even the most docile cats to life, sometimes with funny side effects.

Smelling Variety vs Consumed Catnip

One form of catnip works via smell only. It’s believed to be related to pheromones – in particular happy pheromones. When cats eat the herb, it can have a different effect, more of a mellowing pacifying effect. The reactions can be very profound with those cats that do love it. Jumping, running, rolling, rubbing are typical reactions.

It can last for 5-10 minutes and then the cats will slowly lose interest. Most will typically play with it, rolling in it as it’s the smell that is working for them.

It’s considered safe to give to your cats, although the exact science of it is not known, it’s a short term effect that wears off quickly for the animal. It’s considered a fun and harmless form of entertainment that is fine to use from time to time. Many owners use it to spice things up for their pet, especially if the cat is left alone at home during the day.