Why Do Cats Love Catnip?
If you’ve ever owned a cat, you’ve probably noticed that they love to roll around in and eat catnip. But do you know why cats love catnip? Catnip is a type of herb that contains an oil called nepetalactone.
This oil is what causes the euphoric effects that cats experience when they smell or eat catnip. In this article, we will explore the science behind why cats love catnip and discuss some of the possible benefits of this herb for cats.
What Exactly is Catnip?
Catnip (Nepeta cataria) is a member of the mint family and is related to other herbs such as basil, oregano, and sage. The plant is native to Europe and Asia but can now be found all over the world. Catnip grows best in warm, humid climates and can reach up to three feet in height. The leaves of the plant are green and heart-shaped, while the flowers are white or pale purple.
The active ingredient in catnip that affects cats is nepetalactone. This compound belongs to a class of chemicals called terpenoids which are also found in other plants such as lemon grass, ginger root, and lemongrass.
When cats smell nepetalactone, it binds to receptors in their noses and causes them to experience a range of pleasurable sensations. These effects are similar to those that humans experience when they smell certain essential oils.
How Do Cats React to Catnip?
The nepetalactone in catnip also has some interesting effects on cats when they ingest it. While some cats will become more energetic and playful, others may become relaxed or even drowsy. In large doses, catnip can cause cats to hallucinate. However, these effects are usually short-lived and not harmful to the animal.
If you’re interested in buying catnip in Raleigh, you can do so from these local pet supply stores:
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