Most people think of catnip as having drug-like effects on their cats and they are neither wrong nor right... Some cats react differently to the presence of this plant related to the mint family. You have probably all witnessed it in some degree or another. The rubbing against it, the playing with it, the sniffing it, the actual eating it; And so yes in some aspect your cat's odd behavior after contact with this plant does look like having a drug effect on him.
Catnip contains the chemical trans-nepetalactone which causes the cats' odd behaviors. Some researchers believe that its presence would trigger a release of feline pheromones and excite certain brain receptors associated with presence of these pheromones. Perhaps this is why some people assimilate this with a cat being "high" on catnip the way some humans get high on various hallucinogenic drugs.
For as much fun as it is to observe your cat's behavior change while in the presence of catnip, remember that not all the cats react the same way and that some more aggressive behaviors such as hissing have also been observed.
Catnip is easy to get and safe for your cat.
Don't be sad if your kitty doesn't react the Catnip as not all cats react to it and actually, according to scientists, only sexually mature cats 6 months and older might develop the reaction to the presence of catnip.
If you'd like to have a good laugh about cats high on the catnip, you should consider visiting the site of photographer Andrew Marttila who takes hilarious photos of cats on catnip!
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