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Posted on Friday, September 14th, 2012

Is Catnip a Good Choice for Your Companion?

catnip on floor

Whether you’ve recently adopted a cat or have owned one for many years, catnip is a strange part of the cat wellness world that not many pet parents quite understand. While it certainly can spark some crazy reactions and behaviors from your cat, most owners are unaware of what ingredients actually cause these actions and whether they could be cat health concerns they may have to worry about. Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions about catnip that can help you make an informed decision when deciding whether to purchase some for your cat.

1. What is catnip?

Catnip is actually a plant that belongs to the mint family, which includes more than 250 species that are found throughout North America, reports AnimalPlanet.com. This can be grown in your home, in a cat garden or can be found in a variety of cat toys in dried form. Cats typically will sniff at the plant, but they are also known to roll around and ingest some of it as well.

2. How does it work?

The active ingredient in catnip that will cause your pet to perform all of those wacky behaviors is called nepetalactone, which is an essential oil. When your cat comes into contact or sniffs this substance, it can result in a wide range of behaviors. This cat treat can cause some to become tired, others will become hyperactive and some may become aggressive. However, not all cats react the same way – the news source reports that only 50 percent of cats are affected by catnip, and typically young kittens and older domesticated cats will not be affected by it as much as middle-aged adult cats.

3. Is it healthy?

According to Cat-World.com.au, catnip is not harmful to your feline in any way and there’s no way for your pet to overdose on it. Typically, most cats will know when they’ve had enough of the stuff and will go find another activity. However, some cats will undergo a bit of a recharge period of two to three hours where the catnip won’t have any effect – but when they find it again, they could start to exhibit the same wacky behaviors all over again. Catnip is also known to repel mosquitoes and other insects, so along with helping your cat unwind, it holds many hidden benefits that could prove to be beneficial over time.

Does your cat love catnip? How often do you let your kitty indulge?

This content is provided by the pet wellness experts at Hartz. We know that adopting a dog or cat is a huge commitment, so we’re here to help you feel confident and become the best pet parent you can be.