When it enters a cat's nose, it binds to receptors on the sensory neurons lining the nasal cavity, which, in turn, activate different areas of the brain that control emotion and behavior. Michele Pevide / Getty Images. The Effects of Catnip in Cats Catnip has been proven to be a mood enhancer for felines, however, these behavioral changes can show themselves in different ways depending on your cat. Yes, catnip has been proven safe for cats. Even though your cat may display these behaviors, the response occurs through the olfactory system. Cats commonly react to catnip by sniffing, licking, eating, rolling, and rubbing their cheeks on it. However, when a cat eats catnip the result is totally the opposite! While catnip seems to give cats more energy, used in low dosages it has the opposite effect on humans. Be sure to download our complete guide here! Isabelle Tavares is a journalism graduate student at the Newhouse School of Syracuse University and former ASME intern for RD.com, where she wrote for the knowledge, travel, culture and health sections. Most cat caregivers have offered their cat a sniff or taste of catnip and watched as their feline friends enjoyed it—eating, smelling, rolling around in it, or simply lounging in a relaxed state—but what exactly is catnip and why do cats seemingly go crazy for it? Nepeta Cataria (scientific name of catnip) is a herbaceous plant used as an ornament or as a natural herbal remedy for humans. Catnip is measured as a form of environmental improvement. Place a small amount of catnip on your cat's scratching post to encourage scratching, or in their carrier to encourage them to enter, thereby creating a positive association. What Is Catnip and How Does It Affect Your Cat? The active ingredient in catnip is called nepetalactone. Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. An even better suggestion: grow your own catnip. Catnip can be grown in the garden proper or in containers, either inside or outside. Catnip has been used where cat sleep to help keep fleas away. When these fragile bulbs rupture, they release the nepetalactone into the air, which is why you can find cats chewing on the plant to release more nepetalactone. Cats are receptive to a volatile oil (an oil that evaporates in the air) found in the stems and leaves of the catnip herb. This out-of-fur experience is due to the active ingredient in the oil, nepetalactone. Nepeta cataria, commonly known as catnip, catswort, catwort, and catmint, is a species of the genus Nepeta in the family Lamiaceae, native to southern and eastern Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia, and parts of China. But catnip actually isn’t the only herb known to get cats to boogie. Cats are receptive to a volatile oil (an oil that evaporates in the air) found in the stems and leaves of the catnip herb. this website. Although rare, overindulgence can cause vomiting or diarrhea, so you may want to limit your cat's exposure if she's overly interested. Insomnia. But there is no good scientific research to support any of these uses. Learn how to sew an easy medical face mask with fabric and cotton ribbon, amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Around half to two thirds of cats will respond to this oil. We are no longer supporting IE (Internet Explorer), 12 dangerous mistakes cat owners should never make, Why You Might Need to Purposely Kill Your Grass, CBD Helped My Cat’s Growth Disappear in Less Than 2 Months, Do Not Sell My Personal Information – CA Residents. Which cats are affected? Credit: Nepeta cataria, the scientific name for catnip, is an herb in the mint family. Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links. Catnip is used by mouth, applied directly to the skin, or inhaled for many different conditions. With that said, if eating, catnip may act as a sedative. What happens when my cat has catnip? It binds to receptors inside the cat’s nose and drives its sensory neurons crazy, according to Daniel Rotman, CEO of PrettyLitter. Cats can detect catnip oil in the air at saturations as low as one part per billion. It's worth noting that not all cats are affected by catnip—this response is inherited. Stress Reducer (Cats + Humans) Cats can get stressed out just like humans. Catnip is commonly used to encourage cats to explore and play, but it can also be used as a training aid. To identify it, catnip is a grayish-green plant with jagged heart shaped leaves and thick stems that are both covered in fuzzy hairs. We recommend our users to update the browser. It can grow up to three feet high.