April 15, 2013

Catnip 101

Catnip (Nepeta cataria), also known as catmint and catswort, is a member of the mint family and contains volatile oils, sterols, acids and tannins. It is native to Asia and Europe, and was brought to North America by settlers and used as a tea. Folk wisdom says that it can aid sleep, stress reduction, and relaxation when used by humans.  In the garden, flowering catnip attracts butterflies, the plant is drought tolerant and deer resistant.  It also seems to be a repellant for certain insects.

All that aside, what we really want to know is what is the deal with catnip and CATS?

For that we turn to Scientific American and Dr. Ramona Turner"When cats smell catnip they exhibit several behaviors common to females in heat: They may rub their heads and body on the herb or jump, roll around, vocalize and salivate. This response lasts for about 10 minutes, after which the cat becomes temporarily immune to catnip's effects for roughly 30 minutes."

[Ms Turner omitted the part about them turning into crazed maniacs, bouncing off of walls.  Apparently she hasn't met Inka.]

"Response to catnip is hereditary; about 70 to 80 percent of cats exhibit this behavior... In addition, catnip does not affect kittens until they are about six months old and begin to reach sexual maturity. Catnip is considered to be nonaddictive and completely harmless to cats. "

Well that's good to know!  I'm glad that my catnip toys are not contributing to the delinquency of cats across the country.  Thanks for visiting!

You say your cat is impervious, indifferent, or forbidden to use catnip? 
 It happens.

Luckily, there is a reward in my current Kickstarter campaign that is just for you : It includes a tote bag and a generic I.D. card, but no catnip rats (see the $22 reward).  Click here for details.

The "Oh Rats" tote bag is an exclusive design available only until April 23 through my Kickstarter Campaign

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1 comment:

Catskill Quilter said...

I so enjoyed this post! Thanks for taking the time to share all of your info about catnip!