If your cat is a big catnip fan, they aren’t alone! Many cats flip when they have the opportunity to play with a catnip toy or are exposed to the plants. However, if your cat does not react to catnip the same way other cats do, don’t be alarmed. This is more common than you may think. If you have brought home a toy to your cat that was loved and played with regularly – and then, all of a sudden, nothing – then you might be confused as to why catnip affects some kitties and how long it lasts.

What is Catnip?

Catnip, or Nepeta cataria, is a perennial herb. It can grow to be up to three feet tall, and it is considered to be a member of the mint family. The chemical inside catnip that draws in felines is called “nepetalactone.” This chemical is found in both the stem and the leaves of the catnip plant.

What Causes the Cat’s High?

The nepetalactone is a stimulant to cats, and when it is sniffed, it creates a “high” for the cat that is believed to be similar to the high felt by humans when they are on marijuana or even LSD. The effects only last for about 10 minutes on the cat, however, so don’t worry about getting your cat strung out for too long. After those 10 minutes are up, your cat should return to normal.

What are the Effects on the Cat?

Depending on how the cat is exposed to the catnip, this will determine the effects on the cat. When cats tend to ingest in that catnip, it acts as a sedative. The cat will usually lounge around and even nap off the effects. However, when the catnip is smelled, it will usually make the cat go crazy. The catnip is thought to mimic the pheromones of other cats and activate those receptors, causing your cat to run wild with energy through your home. Cats will react to the plant by being hyperactive, rolling around, and even flipping over!

What Else Should I Know About Catnip?

Only about 50 percent of cats truly react to catnip, and every cat’s reaction is different to it. You’ll have to experiment with catnip and your cat to see how it affects their behavior. However, if you have a kitten at home, you will not be able to see if your cat has a catnip sensitivity until it is a few months old. Kittens are not affected by the chemicals in catnip. Also, catnip is extremely safe for cats. Of course, you should limit how much your kitty ingests, as too much could make them sick. If this does happen, time and a break from the catnip will help the cat feel better in no time at all. Believe it or not, catnip has been known to help humans! It’s been used as a sedative for centuries, and it is an effective mosquito repellent.

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