How Catnip Gets Cats High

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Catnip aka. Nepeta cataria is a member of the mint family and the oil, called nepatalactone, which can be found in this plant, has a powerful effect on cats who are sensitive to it. But contrary to popular belief, not all cats react to catnip because it is actually an inherited sensitivity. Only fifty to sixty percent of cats exhibit the typical response to the plant but if your cat didn’t get that gene, he just won’t care about catnip.

When catnip-susceptible-cats smell the herb, they immediately go crazy but when eaten, it seems to have the opposite effect because cats become very mellow. These sessions usually last about ten minutes and eventually cats will lose interest. It will take about two hours for cats to ‘reset’ and become susceptible to catnip again. Catnip is not harmful to cats and they won’t overdose on it. Most cats know will know when they have had enough and refuse further offers.

Catnip does not work on humans like it does in cats but it can be used for tea. It’s regarded by herbalists as effective for treating headaches, an upset stomach and even insomnia. To make catnip tea, just add one teaspoon of dried catnip to a mug of boiling water and let is steep.

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