As a pet owner, it’s your job to provide your furry and feathered pals with fun activities and games. One way to entertain felines is to give them catnip, a green plant that makes many cats get a little silly. Below, the animal care specialists at Waipahu Waikele Pet Hospital in Hawaii share five facts about catnip so you know a bit about this plant and how it could affect your kitty.
5 Important Facts About Catnip
1. You Can Grow Cat Nip at Home
There’s no need to go to the pet store for this fun cat treat. You can grow cat nip at home in an herb garden. These plants love full sun and grow well in most of North America. Buy some seeds, plant them in a pot, and watch them grow.
2. Catnip Has Cousins
Catnip is known as Nepeta cataria and is a member of the mint family. Its genetic cousins include basil and oregano, but the latter two don’t have the same effect on kitties as catnip. This herb can provide a great form of enrichment when placed in toys and can be an important component of animal care.
3. It’s All About the Oil
Why do cats love catnip so much? The herb contains an oil called nepetalactone in its stems, leaves, and seeds. When your cat smells the oil, they roll around in awe of their own tail or lick and chew themselves.
4. Kittens Don’t React to Catnip
When you first get a kitten, you may be tempted to see how they react when presented with catnip. However, the plant won’t have any effect. Cats must be at least three months old for catnip to work. Responses to the mint are hereditary, so some cats will never enjoy the plant.
5. Catnip Can Serve as Positive Reinforcement
Many people think that cats aren’t trainable and give up before even trying. If your cat likes catnip, though, you may have a chance in teaching them tricks or changing negative behaviors. If your furry friend claws the furniture, for example, you can rub catnip on a scratching post to encourage them to move their paws to a better locale.
Giving your cat some catnip can brighten their day with some goofy excitement. Put some in a toy or let your cat give the herb a whiff straight from the plant. To learn other animal care tips, call Waipahu Waikele Pet Hospital at (808) 671-7387 or visit the website for more information on pet care and veterinary services.