Cats and Catnip EuphoriaCats and Catnip Euphoria

If you are a cat owner, then you probably already know that catnip can cause a normally self-contained feline to temporarily lose control. The cat will rub against the catnip, roll over it, kick at it and experience an intense euphoria for several minutes. Then Kitty will lose interest and walk away.

Catnip – also known as Nepeta cataria – is the common name for a herb that’s part of the mint family. It is native to Europe and an import to the United States where it has established itself as a widespread weed.  Cats will respond to it after they smell or ingest it. Interestingly, while the scent of catnip will stimulate a feline, a dose of catnip oil will actually do the opposite.  Cats and Catnip Euphoria is a funny thing to witness.

Scientists are unsure about exactly what happens in a cat’s brain when he or she inhales this herb. However, they do know that a chemical present in catnip called nepetalactone is what triggers the very particular response in cats of all kinds including tigers. Scientists also know that the catnip response is inherited and that about 15% of all felines are immune to it.

The reaction only lasts a short time. Then the feline acclimates to it. It can take an hour or two away from the herb for the cat’s system to clear. If the feline is exposed to catnip again, the same reaction can take place. Kittens are less likely to have a reaction which may have something to do with the fact that they have not yet reached sexual maturity.

The DVMs (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine) at Austin Pet and Bird Clinic are always happy and available to talk to you about your cat and feline health and wellness in general. We’re dedicated to helping you keep your animal pal in the pink for a long time to come. When you have questions, we have answers. Contact us today!

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