Friday, December 27, 2013

Catnip

I like taking catnaps, but our cat LOVES catnip. We got Kitty a small toy animal that has a pouch for catnip as her Christmas present. She found it right away and went into 'crazy mode.' Her eyes got real big with this wild look, she started rubbing against the toy and chewing on it, and drooling all over the floor, and rolling around on the floor. She was kind of berserk for awhile... then she crawled up on the couch between Jane and I and curled into a ball and went to sleep. A couple hours later she repeated the cycle. I didn't realize that only 1/2 to 2/3 of cats even respond to catnip. Kitty is definitely one of them.

Here are some other facts I learned about catnip from the Humane Society, and a few other places:
  • Catnip is a member of the mint family. It is officially known as Nepeta Cataria, and for cats who are sensitive to it it will turn even the most sedentary couch potato into a flipped out ball of ecstasy.
  • The most intense catnip experience comes through smell. It is believed that it mimics feline "happy" pheromones. When eaten, however, catnip seems to have the opposite effect: the cat may become very mellow.
  • Most cats react to catnip by rolling, flipping, rubbing, and eventually zoning out. They may meow or growl at the same time. Other cats become hyperactive, running around like their tails are on fire, and some get downright aggressive, especially if you approach them.
  • Usually these sessions last about 10 minutes, after which your cat loses interest. It may take as long as two hours for him to "reset" and become susceptible to catnip again.
  • A reaction to catnip is an inherited sensitivity. Again, an estimated 1/3 to 1/2 of cats don't respond or care about it. Also, kittens will have no response until they are between 3 to 6 months old.
  • Catnip can also have a sedative effect on humans. Made into tea, it has calming properties similar to chamomile.
  • Catnip also makes an excellent mosquito repellent. They say it is 10 times more powerful than DEET (the most widely used chemical repellent). However, it only lasts a few hours.
  • You should store catnip in the freezer in an airtight container or bag to keep it fresh.
  • Even though it may make your cat seem crazy, it is actually very good for cats. It is a healthy stimulant that helps keep your cat from becoming lazy and fat, and maybe even depressed.
So, there ya go. I think I'll give Kitty a catnip treat, and I will indulge myself with a catnap.