Learn More About Fluffy’s Favorite Plant

Many of our feline friends love catnip. You may have even tried giving your cat the plant and watched them go crazy! But what is catnip, exactly, and how does it work? Learn more here from a veterinarian Portland, OR.

What is Catnip, Exactly?

Catnip is an herb, related to other common herbs like mint and basil. The wild plant grows a few feet tall and has white flowers. In a pet store, you can purchase “raw” catnip, a dried and processed version of the plant that looks similar to other dried herbs. Catnip can also be infused into toys and other products.

Why Does Catnip Affect Cats?

The oils of the catnip plant contain a chemical called nepetalactone. This substance triggers a reaction in your cat’s brain. Many experts liken it to a sort of cat aphrodisiac!

Why Doesn’t My Cat React?

You might give your cat catnip and see no results. Don’t worry—your cat is totally healthy. It turns out that cats require a specific gene to feel catnip’s effects. If they don’t possess that gene, catnip won’t do much of anything.

Want to learn more about your cat’s health and behavior? Contact your veterinarians Portland, OR.