Feline Lifestyle

Why Do Cats Like Catnip?

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Catnip is a member of the mint family. Scientists are not sure how or why catnip affects cats the way it does, but they have identified the part of the plant that causes the euphoric reaction. The substance is a non-poisonous chemical called nepetalactone, an aromatic oil found in the stem and leaves of the plant. Researchers believe that cats react to the smell of the leaves rather than the taste.

Varied reactions to catnip

Reactions from cats will vary based on the strength and quality of the product. Cats who do respond to catnip will typically roll around in it, jump and run around, rub their faces in it, drool, and purr. Typically, a catnip “high” last about ten or fifteen minutes. Once the energy dissipates, most cats will be very relaxed and ready for a nap.

Not all cats react to catnip

Only about 50% of cats are affected by catnip, and not all cats react the same. Whether or not cats respond to catnip appears to be genetically determined. Kittens are not affected until they’re about two months old (if they fall into the category of cats that do respond). If a kitten hasn’t shown a reaction to catnip by the time she’s six month’s old, she falls into the non-responsive category.

Catnip can be used to train cats

For cats who do respond, you can take advantage of their reaction to catnip and use it for training purposes. Sprinkle catnip on scratching posts to attract them to use the post, or on cat beds or mats where you want your cat to sleep. If your cat reacts by becoming relaxed and mellow after use, use it before car rides, trips to the vet, or other stressful situations.

Some cats react with aggression

Some cats become so stimulated by the herb that they may release their excess energy by picking fights with other cats in the household, or by attacking their humans.

You can freshen up old catnip toys by dampening them with water. This will release a new wave of catnip scent.

Quality of catnip

When buying catnip, take a close look at the packaging. You’re going to want brands that use only leaves and blossoms rather than stems. Organic cat nip is best, especially if your cat is going to ingest it. Catnip is easily grown, but use caution: unless you want every cat in your neighborhood to visit your yard, you may want to grow it indoors.

If your cat initially doesn’t react to catnip, try a couple of different brands. Your cat may not react because the quality of the catnip is not very good.

Catnip comes in a variety of forms, including as a fresh or dried herb, liquid, spray, and, of course, in catnip filled toys.

The euphoric reaction to catnip is perfectly safe for cats, and cats won’t become addicted to it.

This article was previously published on Answers.com and is republished with permission.

Tiffanie McCullough: Passionate About Cats, TNR, Feline Nutrition, and Busting Stereotypes

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I first met Tiffany McCullough at Cat Camp NYC earlier this year, but didn’t have much of a chance to chat with her until we saw each other again at CatCon. We only talked for a few minutes amid the (wonderful) craziness that is CatCon, but I knew right then and there that I had met a kindred spirit, and that I wanted to introduce you to this amazing woman.Continue Reading

How to Help Animals Affected by the Northern California Wildfires

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For the past weeks, some of the largest wildfires ever seen have devastated parts of Northern California. For most of us, our thoughts not only go to the many people who have lots their homes, but also to the animals, especially the cats, affected by these fires. Thankfully, there are many organizations that are helping with animal rescue efforts, and they can all use our help.Continue Reading

Orphan Kitten Club: Dedicated to Saving the Lives of the Tiniest Felines

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For the past decade, Hannah Shaw, better known as The Kitten Lady, has dedicated her life to saving the most vulnerable of cats – neonatal kittens. Hannah has a huge following on Instagram, featuring some of the most adorable photos of kittens you’ll ever see online, but she is about so much more than just cute photos. Shaw has become a force in the animal advocacy world, and is the go-to expert on how to save and raise orphaned kittens. In addition to teaching neonatal kitten workshops at shelters around the country, her website and YouTube channel offer a wealth of resources on kitten care.Continue Reading

Discovering Tortitude: Under Thisbe’s Peach Paw

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Guest post by Clea Simon

How soon is too soon to invite another feline spirit into one’s life? That’s a question I still don’t know the answer to. We lost Musetta, my beautiful feline muse, in September – nine months ago – and I miss her still. Something will trigger a memory – the sight of another tuxedo cat, though never one with whiskers as long and graceful as hers, a shadow falling by the window where she used to lounge – and I am thrown back into mourning.Continue Reading

Cat Photography Q&A With Andrew Marttila

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Andrew Marttila is one of the most talented cat photographers I know. His images feature celebrity cats, shelter cats, and house cats with a level of detail that captures each cat’s essence. Andrew graduated with a degree in neuroscience, but he took a different career path when his social media took off while he was finishing school.

Since then, his photos have been seen by millions. He has been featured in hundreds of publications, articles, and galleries. Andrew was the photographer for the book Shop Cats of New York, which was released in November 2016. Andrew used to be terribly allergic to cats, but now lives with girlfriend Hannah Shaw, aka The Kitten Lady, their three cats, and a constantly rotating cast of foster kittens outside of Washington, D.C.Continue Reading

Trap King Sterling Davis: Helping Cats, and Busting Stereotypes

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I first met Sterling Davis, the Trap King, at CatCamp NYC in May, and I was impressed with his passion for cats and for creating change in the world. Sterling is one of the most genuine people I’ve ever encountered, and I’m excited to introduce this multifaceted cat rescuer to you today.

Sterling’s mission is to change the stereotypes of not only men in cat rescue, but also bridge the gap in communication between black communities and animal rescue and local shelters.Continue Reading

7 Simple House Cleaning Tips for Cat Parents

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Guest post by James Hall

Studies have shown that sharing life with a cat reduces stress, strengthens the immune system and lowers the risk of stroke. For most of us, these benefits more than make up for the extra housework cats may cause us. The fact is that cats have a seemingly endless supply of hair to spread around furniture, carpets and beds. And of course, there’s the litter box. Keeping a home clean and odor-free may sometimes seem like an impossible task.

It doesn’t need to be this way though! The seven tips below can make cleaning a home with a cat faster, easier and more efficient.Continue Reading

CatCon 2018: Join Me for a Weekend Dedicated to All Things Cat

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If you’re a cat lover, Pasadena, CA is the place to be on August 4 and 5! CatCon returns for its fourth year. Taking place at the Pasadena Convention Center, CatCon is the biggest cat-centric, pop culture event in the world dedicated to all things feline. To date, the two-day immersive experience has seen nearly 45,000 attendees and has been featured in over 500 outlets around the world, including The New York Times, BuzzFeed, Reuters, Vanity Fair, and Glamour.Continue Reading