What does catnip do to cats? And how much catnip should your cat have?

Anyone who has a cat or kitten knows how crazy their feline friend goes for catnip. What is catnip, though, and why does it drive cats crazy?

According to PetMD, catnip is a herb closely related to mint. When cats smell catnip they experience behavioral changes which can mimic a female cat going into heat, but male cats can also be affected by catnip.

When cats smell Nepetalactone oil, which is found in the leaves of catnip, it can cause behavioral changes as the scent is carried to their brains from pathways in their nose and mouth, according to PetMD.

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What does catnip do to cats?

According to the Humane Society cats react to catnip by meowing, flipping, rolling, rubbing and zoning out. Some cats may even become aggressive if you approach them while they are playing with catnip.

Other behavioral impacts of catnip include playfulness, affection and even relaxation, according to PetMD. Cats experience different behaviors when they ingest catnip mellowing out, according to the Human Society.

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