Critter Alley

Critter Alley

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

It's Meow-velous!

Dried catnip is typically packaged for sale as shown in this photo from City Cats

Yesterday I mentioned catnip in my adventures of moving Bogey's litterbox to the basement. Catnip is a fascinating herb. If a cat has ever lived in your home, you've probably witnessed it's strange and humorous effects.

Catnip is a member of the mint family that contains the chemical, nepetalactone. This is the "drug" that causes cats to react, although why is not completely understood. Very young or senior cats may not be impacted at all, and some cats never respond to catnip.

Typical effects may include chewing, rolling, rubbing, a higher level of playful aggression, or an extremely "mellow" mood. This varies from cat to cat.

My daughter's cat collapses immediately and rolls to her back the minute she sniffs catnip...and look out. You'd better not get close because her cranky kitty personality becomes even more intense.

Bogey's reaction is a bit slower. He'll sniff, drop, and then slowly roll (an excellent fire safety demo, by the way). He loves it. Not even the yummiest treat can pull him away.

Catnip effects are short lasting and nontoxic.

So if you have a cat and are looking for cheap entertainment, bring on the catnip.

Oh, and just in case you baby boomers are wondering, don't bother to sniff it yourself. Catnip does NOT have similar effects on people!


The Word Place said...

I can remember gifting various cats with catnip mice--which they played with, but I always wondered if the actual catnip affected them.

Anonymous said...

Ihave heard that catnip is very much favoured by cats. Dogs are less choosy and love all manner of stuff:)