Katze mit katzenminze gepresst

Catmint for cats: How the plant works

6 Questions about catnip

Catmint, also known as catnip (Nepeta cataria), is very popular with our pets. Its smell in toys or on sprayed utensils almost magically attracts velvet paws: It entices them to play, romp around and chase or ensures complete relaxation - as you can see from the pleasant purring of your pet. Outdoor cats, on the other hand, love to get high directly at the source by throwing themselves into the plant, rolling around in it and rubbing against the blossoms. We answer 6 questions about catnip and its effect on your kitty.

1. What does catmint smell like?

Catmint exudes a lemony-minty aroma. The white flowering perennials usually attract cats more than the plants with blue flowers.

2. Why do cats like catnip?

One reason for the strong attraction are certain alkaloids such as actinidine and nepetalactone, chemical compounds that have an effect on the human and animal organism. They are not only contained in the plant but also in the urine of uncastrated female cats. The mint thus acts like a sexual attractant, especially for our sexually mature male furry noses. Basically, however, catnip has a euphoric effect on all cats and they roll around and rub themselves in the plant as if intoxicated, romp around in a frenzy or can relax particularly well. The only exceptions are kittens and senior cats.

3. Where does the name catmint come from?

When a cat rolls in the mint, it carries the clover fruits of the plant in its fur and spreads the pollen further along its path, where new catnip then germinates and grows. So the name came about because our velvet paws scatter the plants.

4. What does catmint do?

Have you ever watched your cat rolling wildly around its catnip toy or purring loudly and rolling comfortably in the garden mint and then going its normal way again a short time later? The behaviour of your cat varies according to genetic traits and not all cats react in the same way to the beguiling plant. Calm, sluggish cats usually become agile and their play instinct is awakened, whereas nervous cats are relaxed by the smell. For particularly active, easily irritable house cats, mint can have both a calming and stimulating effect and even cause aggression. Some cats, on the other hand, feel nothing at all when they smell catnip.

5. How long does catmint last?

The rush from catnip can wear off after just 5 minutes or even last up to 2 hours - it varies.

6. Where and in what form can I buy catmint?

You can buy catmint in pet shops as a spray, in toys or in the form of dried leaves and flowers. However, as the plant acts like a drug for our pets, it is best to use it now and then instead of using it permanently. Some cat owners also plant catmint themselves in the garden for their outdoor cats.

Catnip toys: alternation for house cats

The best way to awaken your lazy cat's play instinct is with cat toys filled with catnip: Cosy cats then often become much more active and romp around the flat. Often a little valerian is added to the catnip in toys, as this scent also has a particularly attractive effect on the gentle four-legged friends. It doesn't matter whether you offer your cat a bird toy with cords at the ends, other shapes made of linen or cord or a teaser in different colours and patterns: Catnip cushions, on the other hand, are better offered to nervous and restless velvet paws, as the catnip-valerian mixture relaxes them temporarily at best.

Catnip to sprinkle

Catnip spray or sprinkle

Does your velvet paw like to sharpen its claws on the sofa cover and the good wooden cupboard or does it refuse to climb into the transport box before a doctor's appointment or other trips? Then your secret weapon is Catnip Spray, which is ideal for these situations:

  • Spray the scratching tree or sprinkle catnip on the surface to make it irresistible - your furniture will then be spared at best.
  • A few spritzes of the catnip spray or blossoms of the plant in the transport box will arouse the curiosity of your furry nose - now the journey can begin in comfort.
  • Even if you have more than one cat, you can divert the attention of your velvet paws and thus counteract any quarrels. Try combining catmint with a little valerian: This will cool down heated tempers and lighten the atmosphere.

Conclusion: As you can see, catnip can have very different effects on cats, which basically depends on the character and nature of the animal. It is best to test the reaction of your four-legged friend with a small amount at the beginning. This is the best way to avoid unpleasant surprises, especially with house cats, and at best you can control your four-legged friend if it reacts very strongly to catnip. What effect does the plant have on your cat? Does your cat have a favourite toy with catnip? We are curious about your experiences.

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