You must have heard about catnip and you have probably seen a ton of videos on the internet in which cats get a little bit crazy after getting “high” on catnip. But can our favourite companions become addicted to catnip?
To answer this question we must firstly explain what catnip is. Well, it is important to know that catnip is part of the mint family and is quite common since it can be found on all continents (except Antarctica of course). The interesting thing is that this plant contains a chemical substance called nepetalactone which can have an effect on some cats. This means that some of the cats that come in contact with this plant can become very playful, rolling around and act “high.”
After about 10 minutes, cats go back to their normal behaviour. Scientists cannot really explain why some cats have this affinity for catnip but they say that cats don’t get addicted to catnip. They usually like to enjoy it whenever it is available but they won’t try by any means to find catnip.
As previously said, scientist cannot really tell why cats (and even lions and tigers) like catnip. They usually call it a sensitivity to catnip. This sensitivity seems to be inherited, which can explain why some cats aren’t affected by this plant. It is also important to mention that cats are more likely to react to catnip when they are young, between 3 to 6 months of age.
Luckily, there is no clear evidence that catnip is harmful. So, if you discover that your cat enjoys the occasional catnip, don’t worry! It will only make you chubby furry fellow exercise a little!