Why Does Catnip Make Cats Go Crazy?

We’ve all heard jokes about how catnip makes cats act like they’re high or drunk… but why does it affect our cats this way? 

You’ll see your cat rolling around on its back, loudly purring and meowing, drooling, zoning out, rubbing against everything… What's the deal? 

The video version of this post is fascinating, and contains cute cat footage. We recommend you watch it now by clicking HERE. 

You can also download the free audio-only pest-free podcast version by clicking above. 

The truth is we don’t know exactly how it works. But scientists believe that catnip clings to the cat’s “happiness receptors” in the same way a recreational drug affects the human brain. 

Before you turn your cat into the police… don’t worry! Catnip isn’t addictive, and it’s completely harmless! 

Does Catnip Really Make Our Cats High? 

Catnip is believed to have a hallucinogenic effect in cats. Inhaling the aroma of catnip will excite and stimulate your cat’s senses, making your cat euphoric and causing them to go wild for a little bit. 

Weirdly, if a cat ingests catnip, it has the opposite effect. Cats tend to mellow out after they’ve eaten something with catnip in it. 

Catnip Affects Different Cats Differently 

It’s not commonly known, but a cat’s sensitivity to catnip is hereditary. Only about ⅔ of domesticated cats are affected by it. Young kittens and elderly cats are also rarely affected. So don’t be disappointed if your cat doesn’t get too crazy. 

And if you give your cat catnip too often, it may lose its effect over time. Remember, everything in moderation! 

Some cats, usually males, will get very aggressive when they’re hopped up on catnip. In this case it’s best to leave your cat alone for 15 minutes or so. Your cat will need a nap afterwards anyway! 

Does Catnip Work on Wild Cats?

Surprisingly, catnip even works on large cats like lions, bobcats, and cougars. There are plenty of funny videos online of large cats on catnip rolling around like playful kittens. 

Some trappers even use catnip to lure predators like mountain lions away from their property! 

You can spray a toy with catnip and watch your cat go wild, but if you spray a lion’s toy with catnip, you can expect it to get completely destroyed and even eaten! 

Zookeepers will usually spray a log of wood with catnip for the animals in captivity, so they don’t destroy any expensive toys. 

Oddly, catnip has a much stronger effect on younger wild cats than adults. This is strange because it has the opposite effect in house cats.

Catnip Is Used by Humans? 

Catnip has even been used by humans, for thousands of years! Catnip is closely related to mint, rosemary, oregano, and basil, and many people use it in their teas for relaxation. 

Some cultures throughout history have even smoked or chewed it for therapeutic effects (and sometimes for the hallucinogenic effects)! 

The essential oils in catnip have also been used to treat humans, and in some cases can even repel insects! 

Got a Pest Problem? 

Do you think you have a wildlife or pest infestation problem? Wildlife infestation can cause damage to your health, your family or pets’ health, and damages to your home. 

Please contact us at 855-WILDLIFE or visit www.wildlifexteam.com for more information and a free inspect report. 

Thanks! 
-Wildlife x Team International 


 

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