|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.
- Silver Vine
- Cat Thyme
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?