PetFAQCategory: SuppliesHow does catnip plant affect cats and what causes this reaction?
antje_alderman.9692antje_alderman.9692 asked 4 months ago

How does catnip plant affect cats and what causes this reaction?

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PetFAQ.netPetFAQ.net Staff answered 4 months ago

Catnip plant, also known as Nepeta cataria, is a herbaceous perennial plant that belongs to the mint family. It contains a chemical compound called nepetalactone, which is responsible for the unique behavior exhibited by cats when they come into contact with the plant.

When cats smell or ingest catnip plant, they often display a range of behaviors that include rolling, rubbing, chewing, and even licking the plant. Some cats may become hyperactive and vocal, while others may become more calm and relaxed. This reaction to catnip is not universal among all felines, as it is estimated that only around 50-70% of cats exhibit this behavior.

The reason for the catnip plant’s effect on cats lies in its chemical makeup. When cats smell the nepetalactone in the plant, it binds to receptors in the cat’s olfactory bulb, which is the part of the brain responsible for processing odors. This causes a release of endorphins in the cat’s brain, which can create a sense of pleasure and euphoria.

In addition to the olfactory receptors, nepetalactone also binds to receptors in the cat’s brain that are associated with sexual behavior. This is why some cats may exhibit more playful or even frisky behavior after coming into contact with catnip.

It is important to note that the effects of catnip on cats are temporary, lasting only around 10-15 minutes. After this time, the cat’s response to the plant will generally diminish or disappear altogether. Additionally, catnip is not harmful to cats and is considered safe for them to ingest or come into contact with.

Overall, the reaction of cats to catnip plant is a fascinating and unique aspect of feline behavior. While the exact reason why only certain cats are affected by catnip is not fully understood, it is clear that the chemical compound nepetalactone plays a significant role in this behavior. Whether your cat is one of the many that loves catnip or not, it is always interesting to observe their reactions and learn more about their unique behavior.

Read more:Growing and Caring for a Catnip Plant

How does catnip plant affect cats and what causes this reaction?
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