The Basics of Catnip

Have you ever tried giving your feline friend catnip? Learn about the basics of catnip below from a Lafayette, LA veterinary professional.

What Exactly is Catnip?

Catnip is a naturally occurring herb in the same plant family as mint. It can be found all over the world, characterized in the wild by its white flowers with distinctive purple spots. The catnip you’ll find in a pet store is dried for consumer use, and looks much like greenish-brown oregano flakes.

Why Does Catnip Affect Cats?

The leaves, stem, and other parts of the catnip plant contain oils, and in these oils is a chemical compound known as nepetalactone. It is this substance that causes the reaction you see in cats; it’s essentially an aphrodisiac, and may cause cats to run around excitedly, rub their faces in the catnip, or simply relax in a state of euphoria.

Why Doesn’t My Cat Respond to Catnip?

Cats require a specific gene, inherited from their parents, to feel catnip’s effects. If your cat doesn’t respond to the herb, don’t worry—they just don’t have the right gene!

Talk to your animal hospital Lafayette, LA  for more information on catnip and your pet’s response to the herb.