There is often confusion between catnip and catnip. If, in our minds, the distinction between the two plants is not necessarily clear, it is however absolutely not the same thing for the cat. One is edible and has many health benefits while the second has an amazing stimulating effect! In our article, discover what catnip is used for and how to maintain it.
Even if the cat is a strict carnivore, catnip has many benefits for the health of our felines. However, it is difficult for the consumer to find his way around because confusion is often made between different plants, each with their own properties. We can nevertheless distinguish two types, which meet two very different and complementary needs in cats. Therefore, one should not confuse catnip that the cat chews to purge himself and the euphoric catnip that he sniffs. Neither of them is dangerous for the cat.
Cyperus zumula: catnip to purge oneself
If your cat lives indoors, there is a good chance that he will chew your plants, which, in addition to causing you inconvenience, could jeopardize your pet’s health. Indeed, many plants present for him serious risks of intoxication and some of them are even a deadly poison, such as ficus, philodendron or dumb canes (dieffenbachia). To avoid that your tiger of living room does not attack your plants, there is a solution: to place at its disposal of the grass with cat, completely inoffensive for him.
Catnip has multiple benefits! Indeed, chewing this grass will allow him to eliminate the hairs absorbed during its toilet by regurgitating the indigestible balls accumulated in its stomach. It is sold in the form of seeds to sow, ready to use trays to make germinate or fresh grass already germinated. It is very easy to grow and only needs water and sunlight. Its lifespan generally varies between one and two months.
Several varieties of plants can be used as catnip, such as barley or oats, but Cyperus zumula remains the favorite of our four-legged friends. We recommend it because it is rich in vitamins and minerals and facilitates their digestion.
Properties of catnip or catmint
It is well known that cats love catnip, a plant containing nepetalactone, an active ingredient that acts on the nervous system and triggers sex pheromones in the brain. It is generally sold in the form of ground dried grass or spray. But contrary to the aforementioned plants, the cat does not consume it, it breathes it. The catnip has a euphoric, exciting and hallucinatory effect on the cat but also on other felines.
The effects vary according to the cat and no one will react in the same way: he may start sniffing the grass frantically, lick it, roll on the ground, jump, shake his head, salivate, start running, adopt hunting behaviors… However, it is estimated that 30% of cats are insensitive to catnip, as are kittens and aging cats. This sensitivity is, moreover, hereditary.
Beware, cats can become uncontrollable after consuming catnip, so absolutely avoid stroking or touching them during this “crazy 15 minutes”.
Since the cat is attracted by its irresistible smell, you can use it to lure it to the desired place. For example, sprinkle ground catnip on his toys to increase his interest and encourage him to exercise or spray his scratching post with a catnip spray to prevent him from scratching your furniture or sofa. However, the stimulating effects of catnip can disappear if you give it too often. In order not to make it lose its virtues, it is preferable not to give it more than once a week.
Namely: there is an alternative to catnip, valerian officinale, whose properties are identical. Do not worry, both do not present any danger, side effects or risk of addiction for the animal.