Q:

What does catnip do?

A:

Quick Answer

While there is no concrete neurological reason for why cats react the way they do to catnip, researchers find that catnip mimics pheromones that stimulate receptors in the brain, according to the Humane Society. The oil in catnip called nepetalactone is what causes this effect on cats.

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Full Answer

The effect that catnip has on cats differs if it is inhaled or ingested. Cats that only sniff catnip typically become happy, playful, roll around and even drool. But the effects are completely opposite if ingested, which causes cats to become mellow and relaxed, rather than energized and crazy. The majority of cats react to the presence of catnip by growling, flipping, rolling, rubbing, meowing and then finally mellowing out.

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Related Questions

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    Is catnip bad for cats?

    A:

    The American Veterinary Medical Association, or AVMA, states that catnip is nonaddictive, nontoxic and safe for cats to sniff and ingest. However, catnip has been linked to seizures in rats and is a uterine stimulate, so it shouldn't be given to pregnant cats or cats with a history of seizures.

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  • Q:

    Why do cats love catnip?

    A:

    Cats love catnip because of the essential oil it contains: nepetalactone. This essential oil is found in catnip's leaves, stems and seeds. Catnip is an herb and a member of the mint family.

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  • Q:

    Why do cats like catnip?

    A:

    Cats are attracted to catnip because of an oil called nepetalactone. Found in the seeds, leaves and stems of the plant, the oil gives felines a blissful, happy feeling.

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