How Catnip Get Cats High

 In Cat Training Blog

How Catnip Get Cats High?

You might have heard that cats are exquisitely susceptible to catnip and it starts exhibiting several unsusal behaviors like rubbing their body on catnip, rolling around it, vocalizing, and salivating. Yes, that’s true. The magic of catnip can really get the cats high.

But, what exactly is catnip ?

Catnip is actually a plant. In its most exact definition, it is a year-round herb that grows up to three feet tall and is closely related to mint, as it is in that family, and is otherwise known to scientists as Nepeta catria. It contains nepetalactone in its stems and its leaves, which is the chemical compound that makes it so attractive and so buzzing towards cats – well, many of them at least.

Does Catnip get cats High?

Yes, it definitely does. If you look up the words catnip and cat, you can expect to be bombarded by fuzzy purring cats acting quite wonky. Thanks to the internet and its obvious obsession with cat videos, cats enjoying their catnip can be seen by anyone at any time. It is such an entertaining and at the same time a very baffling, mystery.

Is it Safe for Cats?

Catnip is generally safe for cats, and even if they ingest too much of it, all they would endure is a few bouts of diarrhea and vomiting before returning back to normal. Actually, it is even safe for humans. Accordingly, it has been used in prior times as a sedative and as a very effective mosquito repellent, just like its fellow plant chamomile.

This compound is actually a stimulant that has effects that are very similar to that of marijuana or LSD for a person when sniffed out by a cat. This so-called high lasts for about ten minutes before the cat gets back to its normal self, although it takes a few hours before your cat will be able to enjoy its buzzing effects again.

However, the exact opposite effect can be seen if a cat ingests the catnip. If ingested, the catnip acts as a sedative instead, as opposed to when inhaled where a cat begins to react by flipping, rolling around, and being overly energetic.

Cats inhale on ingest nepetalactone from catnip by rubbing against the plant, and sometimes chewing on leaves and stems to bruise them so as to release more nepetalactone and give out the effects.

Accordingly, this odd reaction to the plant is thought to be hereditary and affects about half the population of cats. This sensitivity to catnip usually surfaces after several months of life as the reaction has not yet been seen amongst little kittens. Their reactions to catnip have many variations too.

Just as plenty other substance, the more your cat is exposed to it, its effect may no longer be noted. This is especially true if your cat has catnip more than every two weeks or so.

Catnip is available these days as a live plant, as an oil extract, or as a dried plant material.



So how exactly cats get high on catnip?

The chemical compound nepetalactone mentioned earlier binds receptors directly inside your cat’s nose. These receptors trigger sensory nerves that lead directly to the brain, thus affecting its function and activity – most particularly in the hypothalamus area which is responsible for regulating your cat’s emotions.

Additionally, some other scientists believe that nepetalactone also triggers another organ found deep in the nose of many mammals – not including humans – which is involved in sensing pheromones. They hypothesized that nepetalactone mimicked the makeup of pheromones which makes it easier for the compound to bind to these special receptors.

How do I Know if My Cat is affected by Catnip?

When the catnip affects your cat, the resulting reaction is intense, and cats are seemingly intoxicated or simply on a high. Some may describe the cats as being euphoric after exposure to nepetalactone, and then purely serene after some time. This sort of reaction, however, is not solely restricted to catnip, the same reaction can be seen with other compounds that are found in other plants that are naturally occurring. The reaction is often likened to a human getting high on marijuana.

One big difference between a cat that is high on catnip and a person high on marijuana is that the cat on catnip will have the exact same effect and activity when exposed to the catnip. If on the first instance the cat rolls and flips and rubs itself on the plant, it is most likely that it will elicit the exact same reaction when re-exposed to catnip again after a few hours, a few days, or some weeks.

Contrary to what is stated above, some claims state that roughly 75 percent of cats are actually affected by catnip. Here lies another difference between it and the high that hard drugs produce with humans. Some cats are not reactive to it as it is believed to be a genetic thing. Other members of the feline family are also susceptible to the effects of catnip, including lions and tigers.

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