Updated: Mar 2
The answer is MAYBE!
Do you ever wonder why your cat seems to go crazy for catnip? Well, you're not alone. Many people are curious about this peculiar plant and its effects on our feline friends.
As it turns out, catnip is a member of the mint family and contains a chemical called nepetalactone. This substance is similar to the active ingredient in marijuana, and it produces a similar reaction in cats. When they smell it, they may become more active, playful and friendly. They may also become agitated or aggressive, drooling and swallowing their tongues while pawing at the air as if they're playing with a toy. When under the influence of catnip, some cats will roll around on the ground, others will rub against objects such as your legs or bedposts, and still others will suck on their toys in an exaggerated manner.
Not all cats react to catnip this way, however. Approximately one-third of all domesticated cats are completely unaffected by it. In fact, some veterinarians believe that the gene responsible for sensitivity to marijuana is not present in some cats.
The good news is that even if your cat isn't affected by catnip, he probably won't mind it. Most cats enjoy the smell of catnip and will play with their toys whether or not they're under the influence of this herb.
Cats that do react strongly to catnip usually only respond to the herb once or twice a day. After they've had their fill, they will eventually become desensitized to the smell and lose interest completely. This can take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours, depending on how old your cat is and how often he's been exposed to catnip previously.
If you'd like to try exposing your cat to catnip for the first time, be sure to introduce it in a safe place. You don't want him to swallow any of the plant, which can be toxic if too much of it is consumed at once. Also, some people have reported that catnip may cause excessive vomiting and/or diarrhea in cats that consume it.
When exposing your cat to this herb for the first time, let him smell it before giving him any leaves or buds. You can do this by rubbing them against his nose, or you can make a little stuffed toy out of cotton and wrap the catnip around it. Once he's had a chance to smell it, offer him the toy. Most cats will be very curious about this new object and may even lick or chew on it. Once he's become familiar with the catnip and its taste, offer him another scent from the plant. If all goes well, you should see signs of hyperactivity within ten to twenty minutes after exposure.
If your cat doesn't respond to catnip for some reason, try exposing him to different kinds of catnip. There are several brands on the market, and some of them may be stronger than others. You can also try mixing catnip with other herbs or spices that he enjoys.
If you'd like to keep your cat interested in catnip, it's important to rotate different brands periodically. If you expose him to only one kind at a time, he'll eventually become desensitized to it. This can make it difficult for you to find something that will interest him as much as catnip does.
You can purchase catnip in most pet supply stores, but if you want to grow your own, you may want to consider purchasing an organic variety of this herb. It's believed that pesticides and other chemicals used on non-organic plants may be harmful to cats.
If you do decide to grow your own catnip, it's best to start with seeds or seedlings instead of mature plants. You'll also want to choose a place that's away from direct sunlight but has good air circulation. The soil should be moist but not soaking wet and should contain some fertilizer. Once the plant gets established, remove any flowers that appear so they can develop into seeds for future use.
Seeing how my cats react to catnip for the first time:
As you can see, catnip is a harmless herb that many cats enjoy. It's fun to watch them go crazy over it every now and then, especially if you're able to capture the action on video.