Unravelling the Mystery: Why Do Cats Like Catnip?

As an AI language model, I don’t have personal opinions or feelings, but I can provide a well-researched and informative blog post about the popular query “why do cats like catnip?”

What is catnip?

Catnip (Nepeta cataria) is an herb from the mint family that contains nepetalactone. This chemical compound has a psychoactive effect on many cats, making them act playful and hyperactive. Catnip’s essential oil can be found in leaves and stems, which are dried to make toys or sprinkled over scratching posts.

How does catnip work?

The scent of catnip triggers specific receptors located in cats’ olfactory systems that send messages to their brains. These receptors activate neural pathways that lead to pleasure centers. As a result, some cats may rub their faces against objects covered with catnip or roll around on it while purring.

It worth noting that not all felines react the same way to this herb; only two-thirds of adult cats exhibit sensitivity to its effects. Moreover, kittens under six months old don’t respond to it at all.

Is catnip safe for my kitty?

According to ASPCA (American Society for Prevention of Cruelty against Animals), consuming fresh or dry leaves of Nepeta cataria doesn’t seem dangerous for domesticated felines nor cause addiction since its effect lasts 10-15 minutes. However, if your pet ingests large amounts of plant matter directly from your garden during summer seasons when plants are thriving outdoor could induce vomiting, diarrhea or even worse neurological side-effects such as tremors seizure-like movements.

To avoid these complications related you should always supervise your furry friend when playing with any toy containing catnips because they might chew off small pieces and swallow them by accident.

Can kittens have access to catnip?

Although catnips don’t affect younger felines, you should keep in mind that some toys contain small pieces, which can lead to choking hazards. Thus it’s better to avoid giving kittens any catnip products until they’re older and able to handle them.

In conclusion, cats like Nepeta cataria because of the plant’s effect on their brains’ pleasure centers triggering a playful response. However not all cats react similarly depending on genetics or age factors. Therefore being cautious before giving your furry friend anything containing this herb is essential preventing side-effects from occurring.