Catnip has had a resounding effect on its namesake. But the plant is not suitable for every cat.
Purr and relax: Catnip has a calming effect on nervous animals, for example.
It smells a little like lemon and magically attracts cats: catnip has a euphoric effect on animals. Used correctly, the plant can turn nervous four-legged friends into relaxed contemporaries and awaken the play instinct. But be careful: if the animal reacts too violently to the mint, keepers should do without it.
Catnip is an irresistible attraction for cats
Many cat owners know the problem: Whenever the next appointment with the vet is due, the four-legged friend is reluctant to use his transport box. Scattered in a little dried catnip can work wonders. Cats love nothing more than the smell of the plant, which is native to Asia, southern Europe and South Africa. "The phenomenon that catnip exerts a great attraction on cats was known as early as the Middle Ages," says Marius Tünte from the German Animal Welfare Association in Bonn. It has now been shown that the ingredient actinidine is similar to a substance that non-castrated female animals excrete with their urine.
Catnip has intoxicating and beguiling effects
Nevertheless, the effect of the substance has not been clarified in detail today. "It is noticeable, however, that cats are often more attracted to the smell of catnip than cats," explains Tünte. Velvet paws, jumping at the smell, tossed with relish and nibbled at the plant. "They also like to rub against her, loll around and purr." Catnip can have an intoxicating and beguiling effect on four-legged friends, confirms Klaus Kutschmann from the Federal Veterinary Association in Berlin.
Catnip perks up tired cats
“If a cat is often very nervous, the smell of catnip can make it more relaxed. But even with animals that only lie on the sofa all day, it does not fail to have an effect. " Toys treated with catnip that went unnoticed for a long time could suddenly be interesting again. "For example, if you have a slightly overweight animal at home, you can use the plant to get it to move more," says Kutschmann.
Pet shops and health food stores offer catnip
Cat owners could grow the mint themselves or buy it in dried form in health food stores, for example, says Heidi Kübler from the Society for Holistic Veterinary Medicine in Schallstadt in Baden-Württemberg. In the meantime, however, the trade also offers toys that have been pretreated with catnip. "This can be recognized by the note" catnip ", the English name for catnip." Small jute bags filled with dried catnip are very popular. “You can find these toys or small stuffed animals in pet shops. This can be used to encourage many cats to play, ”says Tünte.
Transport box becomes attractive with catnip
A rustling tunnel treated with catnip - an elongated tube and popular toy - also awakens unimagined energies in house tigers, says Kübler. The same applies to the scratching post. If the animal tends to sharpen its claws on the sofa at home, a few sprinkles of catnip are enough to make the tree more attractive. Even a transport box suddenly becomes interesting thanks to catnip. "This makes it easier for the animal to be lured into, for example, when a doctor's appointment is due or it has to be temporarily housed in a guesthouse."
Some cats react aggressively
Nevertheless, catnip should not be used on every animal, says Tünte. "For some animals, the substance does not have a calming effect, but is very euphoric." If pet owners observe that their cat reacts extremely violently to the toy and even becomes aggressive, it is better not to offer it.
Catnip is not poisonous
Over-anxious cat owners also fear that catnip could be poisonous. But this is unfounded: "In the form in which we find them in toys or as plants themselves in pet shops, the cat cannot be harmed," says Tünte.
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| Updated: November 14, 2019