What Is Cat Nip?
With growing popularity and more presence in grocery and pet stores, many pet owners are starting to question what is catnip. Along with pet owners wanting to know what catnip is, it is also important to know if it is safe for your cat and if your cat is even going to respond to catnip. Because there is still little known by a broad majority of owners, it is important to familiarize yourself with what catnip is.
Catnip (Nepeta cataria) is a perennial herb that is closely related to the mint family. It is an aromatic herb and has been used by humans for medicinal and relaxation purposes for many years. In the last few decades it has been used for cats. The essential oils found in catnip are an attractant and are soothing to cats. When the chemical in the essential oils is smelled and enters the body of the cat, they enter an almost hallucinogenic state. Catnip is not harmful for cats as long as it is 100 percent catnip. Catnip should not be given to cats younger than six months old.
Sometimes, catnip has absolutely none of the previously listed affects on a cat. Whether or not a cat is attracted to and experiences the side effects of catnip is a genetic trait. Only 50 percent of cats actually have the genetic markers that cause them to experience any effects of catnip.
It is important to consult with a veterinarian before giving catnip to your pet.