Why do cats love catnip?
Catnip contains a natural substance, called Nepetalactone, which triggers a euphoric, mood enhancing response in the brain. For most cats, catnip also stimulates exercise and appetite. Studies have shown that a small percentage of cats may not react to catnip because they do not carry an inherited “catnip gene.” The catnip gene becomes active when a kitten is about 6 to 8 weeks old; however, most cats experience the greatest benefits from catnip when they have matured to 9 months.
Is catnip safe?
Yes. Experts say that catnip is not at all toxic or addictive in any amount. Nepetalactone, the natural substance found in catnip that triggers the euphoric response and /or increased activity, never actually enters the bloodstream, so there’s no danger to your pet.