The Fundamentals of Catnip

Is your feline friend familiar with catnip? It’s our cats’ favorite plant! Here, your veterinarian North Phoenix, AZ tells you all about the basics of catnip.

What Exactly is Catnip?

Catnip is an herb categorized in the same plant “family” as mint. It occurs naturally, having originated on the continent of Europe before being spread all over the world.

In the wild, catnip is a leafy green plant with white flowers. The catnip you’ll buy in a pet store is a processed and dried version of the natural plant, and catnip can also be infused into sprays or included in pet toys.

What Makes Cats Respond to Catnip?

The oils of the catnip plant contain a chemical substance known as nepetalactone. It’s this substance that causes a reaction in your cat’s brain, leading to feelings of euphoria and excitement.

Why Doesn’t My Cat Respond to Catnip?

Cats require a certain gene, inherited from the parents, to respond to nepetalactone. If they don’t possess this gene, catnip won’t cause much of a reaction whatsoever! If your cat doesn’t respond to catnip, don’t worry—they’re perfectly healthy.

Want to know more about Fluffy’s favorite herb? Contact your animal hospital North Phoenix, AZ.