Catnip: Why Cats Get High On It

By December 24, 2014June 10th, 2020No Comments

By Charmaine Ng

Here’s the truth: not all cats are susceptible to catnip. The herb, Nepeta cataria, originates from Europe and Asia and has a slightly minty and lemony aroma. While it is harmless to all cats, whether ingested or inhaled, only cats that inherit a certain gene fall prey to its charms. About one cat in two will end up inheriting a sensitivity to the herb, but it’s hard to tell if your kitten is one of them until sometime between 3-6 months of age.

How catnip causes bouts of ecstasy in cats is due to it’s volatile oils, and specifically one chemical in the oil called nepetalactone. It’s found in the leaves, stems and seeds and it only takes one sniff before susceptible felines are licking, chewing, and rolling around in bliss.

These episodes, however, are quite short-lived, lasting about 10 minutes for most cats. Each cat will react differently to the herb but once the pleasure passes, it’ll be about two hours before he or she responds to catnip again.

Growing your own catnip will ensure that your stock is the freshest, but store bought catnip may work just as well on Kitty too. Much less enthusiasm has been witnessed from catnip sprays, which probably do not contain enough nepetalactone to appeal to most felines. The potency of the chemical also doesn’t last very long, so if you grow your own, remember to harvest them and then store it in the freezer; you can do likewise for store bought catnip as well.

KONG Naturals Premium Catnip is North American grown catnip of the highest quality. KONG catnip is harvested at the peak of its flavor, color and fragrance and field-dried. KONG’s premium leaf and flower cut gives you minimal stems and seeds and more of the essential oils that cause a reaction in most cats. Use as a stand-alone treat or in KONG refillable catnip toys.