Ever seen a cat on cloud nine? If you want to know what a happy cat looks like, all you need to do is use some catnip! The benefits of catnip have been observed by owners and researchers alike, and the plant's effects are undeniable. Better mood, more energy, reduced nervousness, and mental stimulation are just a few of this herb's perks. Not to mention, watching your cat interact with catnip is just downright entertaining - for you both!
If you want to create some funny and memorable experiences with your feline friend, this plant is the tool for you. We're here to let you know just what catnip is, how it helps your cat, and how you can include it in your daily routine.
What Is Catnip?
Catnip, more formally known as Nepeta cataria, comes from the Plantae kingdom. Also known as catswort and catmint, this grayish-green plant has quite the effect on felines! The mere scent of this plant causes most cats to go into a happy fit. Rolling, rubbing, and strange vocalizations are common reactions to the plant!
If you do some research you will find most sources suggesting that 70 to 80% of cats are affected by catnip and due to genetics the remaining percent is not. Although some newer studies suggest that all cats can feel some level of effects when they come in contact with it.
Catnip is native to southern and eastern Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia, and parts of China. The genus includes other variations of the herb with different colors and scents.
Here are some of the most common catnip strains that get your cat floating on cloud nine:
- Camphor catnip (Nepeta camphorata)—White flowers with purple spots
- Lemon catnip (Nepeta citriodora)—White and lavender blooms
- Persian catmint (Nepeta mussinii)—Lavender flowers
- Greek catnip (Nepeta parnassica)—Pale pink blooms
There are different plants from Japan, China, Pakistan, the Himalayas, Crete, Portugal, Spain, and more. It seems like the herb grows in some form or another in almost every country. Most variations prefer the same dry, hot sites as common catnips, but a few such as Kashmir Nepeta, Six Hills Giant, and Japanese catmint favor moist soil and shade.
What Are the Benefits of Catnip?
The kick that cats get from this plant isn't just for amusement - the boost can benefit your cat in several other ways as well. Experts believe that the plant activates certain regions of the feline brain that influence emotion and behavior. Nip puts your cat in a more relaxed state.
If you have an exceptionally lazy cat on your hands, catnip can give them a helping hand. The herb may stimulate your cat to become more active, which is why some owners are using it to help their kitties get their daily workout. It makes playtime a blast for cats! Try getting your cat to chase a laser or toy after they've had some catnip - they'll certainly be up for the chase.
Catnip may also help your cat calm down once it's passed through their system. The herb's stimulating effects may help your cat unwind, which then promotes relaxation and tension relief. Calm cats suffer fewer health conditions than stressed cats. If your cat is hyperactive, the plant may get them to finally chill out.
Catnip engages your cat's brain! This fact is obvious to most, but many don't realize the importance of mental stimulation in your cat's life. Like people, cats need to exercise their brains to stay happy and healthy. Catnip works your cat's brain and provides them with quality mental stimulation.
Catnip's relaxing effects and uses can help a cat focus in the classroom, so to speak. The plant can make training easier for you and your cat by calming your pet down and putting them in the right mood to learn. Similar to using your cat's favorite treat, catnip can also serve as a reward when your cat successfully completes a task!
What Types of Catnip Are There?
We know that not everyone can plant a bunch of herbs for their cat's pleasure. If you're looking to get your hands on some nip, there a plenty of options available for your cat to try.
These are little green plant flakes that come in enclosed bags or jars. It's best to keep catnip flakes in an airtight container to ensure freshness - you should toss the flakes after they've been left out for 48 hours. You can sprinkle this product on your cat's favorite toys or around their play area to give them a mood-boosting kick.
Compressed catnip is a terrific option if you don't want the mess that comes with flakes. These catnip products take the plant material and pack it together in a solid shape (like a ball) for your cat to play with. These products last about a week, but can you can keep them for up to a month if you keep them moist and seal them away at the end of the day.
Catnip Infused Toys
You can purchase catnip infused toys for your cat to play with. Just remember to read the instructions for safe use and expiration. Better yet, you can build a homemade toy for your friend out of their favorite sock or stuffed animal!
Catnip spray is another excellent alternative for mess-free fun with your cat. This product typically contains catnip oil, a liquid solution that provides the same benefits as the dried plant. You can spray objects your cat interacts with, like their toys or scratch post. Just don't spray the cat!
Once open, sprays will last for about six months. And the best part about the spray? It isn't just for cats. You can spray it on yourself to create a natural bug repellent.
Catnip Spray With CBD
Want a combo product that packs an extra punch? Catnip spray with CBD has many uses, which combines the potent effects of catnip and cannabidiol (CBD) for cats into one product. You can use CBD catnip spray when you want to boost the overall effectiveness of the plant.
Catnip oil is more concentrated than spray. It also has a longer shelf life when kept sealed and out of direct sunlight. You must dilute this before using it on your cat because its full strength could make your cat ill.
Catnip Tea Bath
Creating a catnip tea bath for your cat may soothe tension and soreness away. Most cats can't stand water, but they may come running if you add some catnip to it. All you need to do is boil some loose catnip and add the water to your cat's bath - they'll be sure to love it!
Bubbles are a fun product for young cats to play with as they pop, lick, and run after them in the air. Many owners use catnip bubbles to get their children and cat playing together. The product may leave behind a sticky residue, so it might be best to use outdoors.
Uses & Benefits of Catnip
Each of the products listed above may promote wonderful benefits to your pet's mind and body. Catnip's sedative effects can detangle your cat's nerves, to allow them to relax and decompress. The plant is highly recommended for cats in shelters because it can make them feel calmer in unfamiliar settings. Cats that spend a lot of time alone can also benefit from the plant's mood-enhancing qualities.
Related Article: Separation Anxiety in Cats: The Signs and Symptoms to Look Out For
Topical catnip applications (like the tea bath) may soothe your cat's skin and reduce shedding. Nepetalactone, the active compound in the plant, can ease irritation and stop itchiness. This means less scratching for your cat!
How to Use Catnip
If you have a form of dried catnip, like catnip flakes, all you have to do is sprinkle the material on objects that your cat interacts with. You can also fill bean bags or socks with dried catnip to make a stimulating toy they can play with! If you use a spray or oil, you can apply it to the same objects in your cat's territory to provide them with a pleasurable boost.
Final Thoughts - Catnip Benefits & Uses
It may take a short search to find the best catnip product that can provide the best benefits for your feline, but we hope this information makes it a bit easier for you! Catnip has an endless amount of uses and benefits, making it a no brainer for you and your cat. Remember, two keys to your cat's life are relaxation and good health. Taking care of your cat should always stay near the top of your priorities, keep catnip in mind to initiate healthy mental and physical stimulation.