Catnip as a Behavioral Aid?

March 15, 2011

Watching your kitty frolic under the influence of catnip is quite an entertaining pastime. The effects of the herb often bring out the sillier side of your cat’s personality, making her chase after imaginary friends or roll around on the ground. Although not all cats are affected by the smell of catnip, it is estimated that anywhere from one half to two thirds of felines love the stuff. There are even accounts of big cats like lions and tigers going crazy for catnip. The catnip plant contains an aromatic oil called nepetalactone that has a mild hallucinogenic effect on cats.

You can use catnip for more than just the purpose of entertaining. If your cat is among the felines who are drawn to the scent of catnip, you can use their attraction to the smell to make a new scratching post more attractive. You can also use catnip to help a shy kitty relax around new people. Additionally, scenting your cat carrier with the herb can help distract a nervous feline from the terrors of riding in the car.  Be careful with catnip however if your cat displays aggressive behavior after inhaling the aroma. You certainly don’t want to encourage bad behavior in your feline friend!

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