It's a dog blog, a cat blog, a cat and dog blog. Fun, reviews, dog training tips . . .

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Catnip Effects | Catnip Toys

In the botanical world catnip (catswort, catmint) goes by the name Nepeta Cataria. Felines are affected by the smell of the plant and are particularly sensitive to the main active ingredient, the chemical nepetalactone.

Cat gone wild on catnip plant
The ingredient has intoxicating and psychedelic effects on cats

Studies have shown that one in three cats is missing the necessary gene to respond to catnip and remains unaffected. Same applies to kittens younger than 10 months old. They have little  if any reaction to the herb. The average catnip high lasts approximately  ten minutes, and the toxicity level is minimal, a reassuring fact for all cat owners who want to provide their felines with a lifetime of catnip pleasure. 

Growing catnip is fairly easy, even for amateurs. The plant is perennial and grows to about one to three feet tall. It requires partial shade and prefers average well drained soil over rich ones. A word of caution, even with minimal attention the catnip plant grows like a weed, so a pot is preferable to the ground, as it might spread, crowding out other plants. Grow catnip seeds by planting them directly into your soil, spaced about 20" apart. As the flowers begin to bloom, harvest your leaves. Cut off the top leaves, stems, and flowers. They can be used fresh, frozen, or dried. To dry them, spread the leaves in a cool ventilated area. Growing the plant yourself is the easiest way to guarantee it is organic catnip, free of pesticides. 

The nepetalactone concentration is  stronger in the plants leaves than at it's roots, seed, or even the stems

Catnip can cause an astonishing reaction. The cat will sniff it, rub it, roll in and on it, kick it, but this should only last a few minutes at a time. A couple of hours later, the cat is ready for round two and will most likely have the same response. 

There are several catnip toys available in the market today. One of the most common brands is Cosmic Catnip, the makers of Cosmic Catnip Banana Toy, the Cosmic Catnip Filled Cigar Toy, and a favorite of our cats, the Cosmic Catnip Bubbles. When conducting our own experiments, we ordered and tested out the Yeowww! 100% Organic Catnip Cigar. 

This is a display of a ten year old maine coon cat's reaction to the cigars
He rolled and purred loudly until his time was up and the catnip effects had abated

This kitty becomes aggressive when under the influence

One great use for catnip is shaking some on old scratch boards your feline has lost interest in. Chances are, the herb's smell will attract your cat thus sparing a couch or two. We call this process "rejuvenation" and it helps by keeping your cat (especially if she's an indoor one) entertained, interested, stimulated, and her claws mildly trimmed. 

If you have a kitty or ten and have yet to experiment with catnip and catnip toys, don't hesitate. Worst case scenario, your cat becomes mildly aggressive in which case you remove the unwanted side-effect by removing the herb. Catnip is fun only when it doesn't result in excessive aggression. 



Two French Bulldogs said...

Wow. Catnip really makes those kitty go nuts
Benny & Lily

JacksDad said...

Puppies would never do such crazy things :)

My Mind's Eye said...

Great post full of very good info..BTW Madi got the extra catnip gene that the 1 in 3 cats don't have....Catnip makes her loopy!!!
Happy weekend Mad and Mom

NAK and The Residents of The Khottage Now With KhattleDog! said...

Jack Daddy is soooo khorrekht!

We would NEVFUR get like THAT fur something!


3 doxies said...

Instead of removin'da catnip can't you just remove da kitteh?

Sagira said...

One of my cats goes crazy tryin to get to the catnip too.

Lola and also Franklin, too said...

I don't know...I think our cats are crazy enough as it is.

wags, Lola

Stella said...

Hey Twinkums!

Stella, Mom and Ali Z are Bloggin' once more. Feels good to be home too. My Mom has to do her PT and I have to snoopervise it. Not easy because she gets a little testy with it.

We have a lot of catching up to do in blog reading but we'll do 'er.

Off to the races for now!

Stella: No, Mom, its right,left, right, left: how hard can that be!


Pat Wahler said...

Bogey goes bananas for catnip. It makes him act as goofy as if he's had 4 martinis.


Kate said...

Something tells me that being near a catnip kitty could be dangerous!


The Adventures of the LLB Gang said...

Thanks for the in depth info are so very smart in the ways of the kitty kat!!


Lorenza said...

I did not know about catnip!
I have read about it on some of our kitty friend's blogs!
Sounds crazy!
Kisses and hugs

Ina in Alaska said...

Catching up with your Friday and today post. Loved the Frankie Friday post, what an adventurous little critter! That was a very steep bank that led into the water, WOW!!! We are impressed with little mighty Frankie. We are so happy you have a good life and lots of love. You are just adorable! xoxo

Molly the Airedale said...

Mom has that growing in her garden and we can tell you that it does nothing for us dogs! Why haven't they invented a dognip yet, we want to know!
Happy mother's day to your mom, Twink!

Love ya lots
Maggie and Mitch

Dexter said...

Now if they would just invent dognip...


BRUTUS said...

Very informative! I'm not sure I would want there to be such a thing as dognip, seeing as how those cats pretty much make fools out of themselves under the influence!

Brutus the Frenchie

kissa-bull said...

cracker cat crazy

pibble wiggles
the pittie pack

Martine said...

Cat nitp is a favorite of the hairless wonders!! They don't lack the gene to detect it! They especially love the nip at the cabin, where they have a cat tree that goes up to the loft, they get wild and crazy racing up that tree... it's very entertaining.

xo martine & the kiddlets

Anonymous said...

Puppies will act like that at times. I live with one that does. I have 3 cats and a puppy. One of my cats acts more like a dog then my dog does. :)

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