Catnip. Meow


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I don't know about you guy, but when I was young I was told that cats can get high from catnip. I have always wondered if it was true. I even tried it out with my friends car (don't worry the owner agreed). I didn't work as far as I remember. It may be because the cat sniffed it once and didn't like it. I stumbled upon catnip on the internet today and was intrigued and wanted to research some more. Turns out, cats actually do get "high" on catnip. Where I went wrong was that I just let the cat sniff it. You're supposed to "infuse" a toy with it (whatever that means). Well catnip is actually a leaf that's called Nepeta. This leaf has chemicals in it that mimic pheromone. Pheromone is a chemical in animals that triggers "social behaviors" in animals. Whaaaaaat. Well, this chemical triggers some kind of brain function (way above my science intelligence) and causes cats to, well, go crazy. One of the things that pheromone affects is the pituitary gland, which controls sexual response. So these little kittens think that they have to show off and start rolling around, rubbing random things, drooling, etc. How someone figured out that a leaf has this affect on felines is beyond me but good thing they did. If you never saw a video, check this one out. Also, it turns out catnip doesn't only affect domesticated felines. Yes you heard that right, it affects my boys Simba and Mufasa. So next time you're at a zoo, don't even think about giving the zoo lion some Nepeta leafs.



3 Comments

After raising money for the local animal shelter for this group at my school, we made the cats little toys. They were made with two socks. One balled up and put inside the other and that one was tied. Also, inside the balled up sock we put a ton of catnip. The woman who runs the local shelter said the cats love it especially when they are cooped up in those crates all day. We wanted to see for ourselves so we went to deliver the toys to the cats and we stayed to watch. After a few minutes with the socks the cats were going nuts jumping around the room and clawing at everything. It was very entertaining and I think the cats also had a very good time. If you have a cat i suggest making the toys they are simple and fun. Cat Toy

This is very interesting. I have never had a cat (or a dog for that matter) and so I had no idea that it had an actual hormonal reaction. I assumed catnip was kind of like chocolate for humans, a treat if you did something right. I am starting to question the ethicality of using a product on cats that cause such a reaction. Although, apparently not all cats react to this. Only about 50% of cats are affected by catnip as given by this link: http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/cats/tips/catnip.html

Seeing first-hand the effects of catnip can be quite a hilarious experience! It is not uncommon to find catnip growing like a weed, where I'm from. Occasionally, one of our cats would find a plant growing along the woods on our property. Upon the discovery of the plant, our cat started acting very silly, showing many of the characteristics you described. He was rolling all over the plant and chewing on it, and seemed to be enjoying himself! I found an interesting article describing how catnip works, check it out!

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