Monday, February 24, 2014

Why Doesn't My Cat Like Catnip?

It was about a year and a half ago that my Kitty Kitty Meow Meow passed away. I always wanted to see her go crazy for catnip at least once, but she just never would. It's like it had no effect on her. I tried it on her on several occasions but it was a no go. 

Kitty Mitty Meow in 2003.

She was always kind of a weird cat anyways, so I didn't think much of it. Maybe she didn't need catnip to make her any weirder! Then later on, I learned that not all cats are effected by catnip. OK, so that's why my cat doesn't like catnip! 

Catnip is an herb that belongs to the mint family. Nepetalactone is the essential oil found in catnip that makes cats go crazy. But, not all cats are effected by nepetalactone. According to the Humane Society of the United States, only about 50% of all cats have inherited sensitivity to catnip. The other 50% were born without the catnip gene, so to speak. 

If a kitten has the catnip gene, they will start responding to the stuff between the ages of 3 to 6 months. Catnip will have no effect on very young kittens. I've also heard that it may not effect some older cats. So age is a factor as to whether or not your cat will like catnip. 

Photo via Jason Riedy

I think it's also pretty interesting that humans can use catnip for some pretty cool stuff. Did you know that the nepetalactone in catnip is a very strong mosquito repellent? 

If your cat doesn't like catnip, there are some alternative plants you can try that may have a similar effect on them. I wish I had known about some of these when Kitty Kitty Meow Meow was younger. 
  • Valerian
  • Silver Vine
  • Cat Thyme 
  • Honeysuckle
If there are any other herbs that cats go bonkers for that you know of, please share with us! 

How about your cat? Do they react to catnip? 

42 comments:

  1. Were back :) . I thought every cat loved nip but have seen so many on the blogs that don't. Alfie will do somersaults for it xxoxxxxx

    Mollie and Alfie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ooo I bet that he is so cute to watch on catnip!

      Delete
  2. I heard before that some cats are just not into catnip. I yet have to encounter the first one though :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, Vanessa look no further. Miss Meow Meow never reacted to it while she was alive!

      Delete
    2. My cat doesn't really care for catnip, either. He's naturally insane... He was a stray that a friends wife managed to capture and give to me. He was almost feral when I got him at ~6 months old. It took him months to get comfortable with me and to allow me to really interact with him. Now, he cuddles up with me at night as though he's a small child. He typically goes completely insane every morning at around 4:00 am, running back and forth in the room and launching himself off the wall on top of me. Catnip, however, seems to just annoy him. When I put it down, he stares at me like I'm stupid and walks away.

      Delete
  3. That's interesting! I thought all cats love it. I've heard it's a treatment when you have a cold, then you can use it for tea. Here a lot of people plant it around her flowerbeds, to keep bugs away.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it has some calming properties for humans I believe. So they might drink the tea to help them go to sleep.

      Delete
  4. My cat bro Bert is a nip head. He has to have his nip every morning...he waits for it and if Mom forgets, no problem, he reminds her! Sophie has no interest in the stuff. Mom says that all her cats have been different with nip. She likens it to humans and "weed". Some like it, some don't and some can't control themselves and have to much of it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw how funny! I think I like your moms comparison to the human catnip haha! Probably very true!

      Delete
  5. All of mom's cats have loved catnip, a little too much if you ask her! We always found it growing wild, they loved the fresh stuff, have you tried that? Then let it dry, much better than store bought. Love Dolly

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No. I would have if the nursery had some growing, but I have never seen them selling it. Maybe I should tell them they need to get some :) I'm sure it would sell fast.

      Delete
  6. No cats over here, Miss Ann but that is pretty interesting that only 50% would enjoy being on the nip! BOL
    Happy Monday,
    Oz

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oz, I just read about something that is supposed to be like catnip for dogs. I am so going to try it out and share!

      Delete
  7. Hone suckle! I remember eating the honey bulbs off those when I was a child!! They were great!!!!
    Interesting info about nip! I had no idea it had different effects on some or even not at all!
    ((Husky hugz))
    Frum our pack at love is being owned by a husky

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was surprised to see it on the list too. But yes I also used to suck the juices out of honey suckle when I was a kid too.

      Delete
  8. No cats here but that is interesting as we thought all cats liked nip. Have a marvellous Monday.
    Best wishes Molly

    ReplyDelete
  9. Skeeter doesn't "get" catnip. At all. Our previous cat, Petey, loved it and I grew it for him. Loved watching him roll around in it getting his "high" on :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw Skeeter and KKMM both. My cat probably thought I was crazy trying to get her to sniff it.

      Delete
  10. That was a great post, Five of us love catnip and all seven of us love silvervine!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wish I had had the chance to try silvervine with KKMM but I just didn't know about it then!

      Delete
  11. We didn't know about honeysuckle ; we have to try it ! Purrs

    ReplyDelete
  12. eye haz never like catnip....grazz...ewe bet cha...but never nip...fresh leaf, dried or in catnip balls...eye will hafta tell de food serviss gurl ta check out sum oh de other herbs tho !! thanx !!

    tuna of moon

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh well Tuna. You aren't alone. At least you aren't a nip junkie! ;)

      Delete
  13. Very interesting. When I had cats, I always wondered why none of them seemed very interested in catnip. I guess, like you, I assumed all cats liked it.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Oh we like the nip...probably a little bit too much. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  15. All four of my cats love catnip. Each reacts a little differently, though, for the most part they just roll around and get silly. I usually give it to them when I want to distract them or need them to chill.

    --Purrs (and woofs) from Life with Dogs and Cats.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey well that's a pretty good idea Susan.

      Delete
  16. Hi Ann! Just wanted to let you know that I just nominated you for the SUNSHINE AWARD today on my blog!

    ReplyDelete
  17. We definitely have a few kitties at the shelter who don't care for catnip. Here at home, though, we are three for three. Moosey, Gracie and Zoe are all huge catnip fans. :)

    ReplyDelete
  18. That's interesting. I thought all cats were affected by it. As for Rita... she's missing the peanut butter gene. :) Every other dog I've known loves the stuff!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Huh well that is interesting... definitely a little weird! But that's OK Rita ;)

      Delete
  19. Woah, I didn't realise there were other uses for catnip! I only have ONE use for it myself...*snort drool*

    ReplyDelete
  20. Love this! With twelve feline fur children of our own we have about half that love it and half that could care less. What is great is that the ones who don't like catnip seem to get a kick out of watching the ones that do get all goofy about it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OK, that would be interesting to see! And wow... 12!

      Delete
  21. Our cat Don Juan used to get kind of mean when he was on catnip....LOL....so we couldn't let him have it! Our current cats seemed to like it but never really went crazy or anything, I haven't given them any for a while and I wonder if they'll react differently now that they're older?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I read that some cats do get mean with it. Some older cats don't react but who knows?

      Delete
  22. I am a total nip freak!! It makes me sneeze, though. MOL

    ReplyDelete
  23. my jasmine, 17 year old siamese, does not like catnip either.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Cats like valerian? I would suggest going to a health food store and smelling some for yourself, to see if you'd want to be in the same house with it. It's supposed to have a calming effect, but that stuff stinks.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I thought all cats liked it also. After losing both my Siamese furbabies within a year time at 16 1/2 yrs old, I decided to rescue another Siamese furbaby. He is probably a year old and for three months now I've tried giving him catnip, dried and fresh. He just looks it and walks away. I will have to try the alternatives. Thank you for the info. Trish

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for your comments!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...