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Unread 11-12-2006   #1 (permalink)
muslgrl
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Default Catnip - Fun or Dangerous

Catnip (Nepeta Cataria) is an herb belonging to the mint family which has been used by man since the days of Ancient Egypt and by cats for even longer. It has a remarkable effect on many cats, stimulating them and relaxing them at the same time. The plant is a perennial, common throughout Europe and Asia, as well as in North America where it was introduced many years ago. Its feline appeal lies in a chemical called nepetalactone which is present in its stem and leaves. Although the plant exudes its characteristic odor all the time, it is much more attractive to cats when the shoots are damaged or withered.

Nepetalactone is an unsaturated lactone that does for some cats what marijuana does for some people. Cats take off on a ten minute "trip" during which they appear to be in a state of ecstasy, rubbing and rolling on the plant. All species of cats react in this way, even lions, but not every individual reacts to it. The deciding factor is genetic. Fifty to sixty percent of adult cats show a reaction to catnip. For the first two months of life kittens are repelled by catnip. The positive or neutral response does not appear until they are three months old.

Scientists have not determined how or why the chemical substance in catnip affects cats. They assert that it does no lasting damage and that after the catnip "trip" the cat is back to normal with no ill effects. Valerian and Canadian Honeysuckle are plants that produce similar behaviors in cats.

While cat owners may have reservations about offering their cats loose catnip, they will find that catnip stuffed in toys heightens the cat's interest in stationary toys that would otherwise be considered "dead prey", lifeless and boring. Toys that have pouches for catnip offer an advantage in that they can be emptied and refilled with fresh catnip. SmartCat has designed several of these toys. A new alternative to loose catnip, which can be messy, is catnip-infused plastic discs. These discs give off the smell of catnip for up to three months. Catnip toys should be stored in an airtight container with a pinch of catnip and brought out for twenty minutes play at a time. Like any herb, it looses its essential oils if left exposed to the air.
 
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Unread 11-23-2006   #2 (permalink)
vp311
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Great info, Thanks! I never was exactly sure what catnip was.
 
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Unread 11-23-2006   #3 (permalink)
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I have also read that catnip tea is also consumed by humans
 
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Unread 11-23-2006   #4 (permalink)
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Catnip tea? Really? I've never heard of it, what kind of affects does it have on humans? I wonder what it tastes like....
 
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Unread 11-23-2006   #5 (permalink)
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I have never tied it but it's suppose to taste pretty good. I guess it makes an excellent cure for insomnia and hyperactivity so they say
 
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Unread 01-04-2007   #6 (permalink)
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Thank you so much dear muslgrl. This is valuable information. My cat hates catnips, so I don't need to bother much about the do's and dont's but thanks again for educating me on catnips, I was pretty much ignorant about them
 
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Unread 01-04-2007   #7 (permalink)
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Exclamation Don't try this at home! (In case you've ever wondered).

Since we are discussing proper uses of catnip I thought I should relate a combination gentle warning and funny story. When I was in college (yaya, I know you hate ancient history) I had a boyfriend who really liked to smoke marijuana. One weekend he was moaning to me that he couldn't get any, and he suddenly got a bright idea. He stole some catnip from his mothers supply cupboard for her pets and tried smoking it. I really wasn't interested in trying it and I am glad! The poor guy was nauseous for several hours (instead of being ravenous the way he was with pot) and it gave him a terrible headache. No THC in catnip apparently, and whatever it is that gets the cats stoned doesn't work for people!
 
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Unread 01-08-2007   #8 (permalink)
catatonic
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I've had 7 cats and not one of them ever bothered with catnip. I would buy all sorts of fun toys stuffed with it and nothing. Unless it had a bell then they might show some interest. I even tried just catnip itself. My oldest girl started to show interest, sniffed it, sneezed then walked away in disgust. None of the others even looked at it.
 
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Unread 01-08-2007   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vp311 View Post
Great info, Thanks! I never was exactly sure what catnip was.
Neither did I actually. Thanks for the info. I bought my cat a toy with catnip in it once but just like all his other toys he wasnt interested.
 
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Unread 01-09-2007   #10 (permalink)
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I had no idea what catnip is either. This is a great information. Thanks muslgrl. My cats never had toys, they just play with whatever caught their fancy. And they're mostly outdoors, which is fine with me.
 
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