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Catnip for cats. What is it and what is it for?

Written by: Luis Ignacio Gonzalez Andue

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Time to read 3 min

If you are a cat lover, you have surely heard of catnip or catnip plant .

This plant, whose scientific name is Nepeta cataria , is famous for the almost magical effect it has on many felines. But what exactly is catnip and what is it for?

In this article, we are going to explore all the details about this fascinating plant, its benefits for cats, how to use it correctly and even how you can make homemade catnip.

What is Catnip used for?

Catnip or catnip is much more than just a plant for cats. Its unique properties make it extremely attractive and beneficial to them. But why are cats so attracted to this plant?

Effects and Benefits

The main reason catnip has such a strong effect on cats is because of a chemical compound called nepetalactone , present in the leaves and stem of the plant.

This compound acts as a stimulant for many cats , causing a series of interesting behaviors:

  1. Stimulation and Play : Many cats become more playful and active after smelling or ingesting catnip. They jump, run and roll around, showing playful and energetic behavior.
  2. Relaxation and Well-being : In other cases, cats may experience a state of deep relaxation. This calming effect can be especially helpful for cats that are often stressed or anxious.
  3. Encouraging Exercise : The attraction to catnip can encourage cats to move and exercise, which is especially beneficial for those who tend to be more sedentary.
  4. Improving the Environment : Incorporating catnip into toys or certain areas of the house can make the environment more stimulating and pleasant for your cat, promoting its overall well-being.
cat eating catnip catnip

Instructions on how to use it

Using catnip in your cat's daily life is simple, but it is important to do it properly to maximize its benefits and avoid possible drawbacks.

Here we leave you some recommendations on how to use it :

  1. Toys and Scratchers : Sprinkling or rubbing catnip on toys or scratchers can make your cat more interested in them, encouraging play and use of these objects.
  2. Resting Spaces : Placing some catnip in beds or resting areas can help your cat relax and enjoy their space more.
  3. Stress Management : If you have visitors or there are changes in the home that may stress your cat, offering catnip can help calm him or her.
  4. Frequency : Although catnip is not addictive, it is advisable not to use it every day to prevent your cat from getting used to it and losing interest.

Can you make homemade Catnip?

Making homemade catnip is a great option if you prefer a natural and inexpensive approach.

Here we explain how you can grow it at home:

  1. Purchase of Seeds : Purchase Nepeta cataria seeds at a garden store or on an online website.
  2. Soil Preparation : Catnip grows well in well-drained soil with good sun exposure. Prepare a pot with the appropriate soil.
  3. Sowing and Watering : Sow the seeds following the package instructions and water regularly. Make sure not to waterlog the soil.
  4. Care and Harvest : The plant needs little care, but it is important to protect it from pests and diseases. When the leaves are ripe, you can cut them and let them dry for later use.
cat eating catnip plant for cats

Differences between dry vs wet catnip

There are different ways to offer catnip to your cat, it can be found in dry or wet format (watering). Each one has its own characteristics:

dried catnip

Dried Catnip

It is obtained by drying the leaves of the plant. It is easy to store and use. Ideal for sprinkling on toys or scratching posts. Dried catnip retains its properties well and can last a long time if stored correctly.

catnip plant

Wet Catnip

It consists of fresh leaves of the plant. It may be more attractive to some cats due to its freshness and more intense aroma . Perfect for use directly in the garden or in pots inside the home. Natural catnip needs to be used quickly, as it wilts and loses its effectiveness within a few weeks.

Final conclusion

Catnip is a wonderful addition to any cat's environment, providing entertainment, relaxation and well-being .

Whether you use it dried or natural, purchased or homemade, this plant can improve your feline's quality of life significantly.

By understanding its effects and how to use it correctly, we can ensure that our cats enjoy all of its benefits to the fullest.

Dare to try it and watch your cat have fun and relax!

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