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How Catnip Works & Why Cats Like It

Even though cats go crazy and some even seem drugged around catnip it's not a drug. It's actually an herb that belongs to the mint family. When the leaves are broken it releases a certain chemical that most cats respond to.

All cats respond differently to catnip. Some of them walk away cuz they couldn't care less, but others go ape. The cats that do go crazy are responding to the active ingredient in catnip called Nepetalactone. The reaction to this chemical is caused by the organ that operates a cat's five senses (touch, smell, sight, sound and taste.)

Those cats that do react will eat it or lick it; some roll in it and others just sniff it. The catnip reaction is inherited so not all of them respond. Young kittens and old cats rarely respond although large cats like tigers will. If your cat's behavior doesn't change around catnip it's nothing to worry about. About 10 to 30 percent of cats don't go berserk over catnip.

Catnip is completely safe and isn't addictive to cats so give your feline friend a treat like Catnip Puffs every now and then. The most amusing thing about giving cats catnip is the behavior change. Although it's safe, keep in mind you can have too much of a good thing. If a cat eats lots of fresh catnip it could puke or have diarrhea but this is rare. If it does happen don't give your cat as much catnip or any at all.

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