Too much stress at work?
Annoyed with your boyfriend? Had a big fight recently with your best friend?
Time to get a few drinks to calm down, and maybe go crazy, right?
Our best resort in any difficult situation is to grab a drink, sit and sip, as we get high (eventually sloshed). It is the easiest getaway for anything. A couple of drinks does no harm, helps us relax and maybe, just maybe assists in letting loose.
But what about our dear meows? Do they have anything to get high on? Is there anything that helps them ‘chill out’ a little? Humans have other alternatives too, but do kitties have at least one thing to loosen up?
Yes indeed, hooman! Our cats too can enjoy, get a little high, and chill. They might not fancy a glass of scotch or a pint of bud light. But they would surely love a sniff or two, or maybe even a bite, of the one and only plant: The Catnip!
Catnip, what a name! One would wonder about the nomenclature of this plant. No one really knows as to how it got such a name, but, surely, years and years of observation and behavior of cats towards this plant have indeed made us humans believe that this plant should surely be called Catnip!
What is this plant though? And, what does it to our meows? Why is it called Catnip at all?
Well, let us find out, dear hooman!
1) Cat-nip: What, is it actually?
Catnip is basically just another herb plant, which is green in color and has heart-shaped leaves. It is observed that cats go into some kind of a weird mood once they sniff enough of this plant, or maybe consume it in any way. The plant, which grows to a height of 3 to 4 feet primarily belongs to the mint family. The active ingredient in the plant that strikes meows, is called Nepetalactone. It is believed that cats usually go into a state of hysteria and extreme playfulness for a span of 10 to 15 minutes, followed by a long stretch of relaxation and extended sleep.
2) Kitty, what is happening to you?
As mentioned before, Catnip is essentially a getaway, a ‘chill out and relax’ tool for meows. But it must be clearly understood, that not all cats may be equally reactive towards this plant. Only 70 to 80% of cats (which includes wild jungle beasts as well) actively respond to catnip. It is observed that really small kittens and much older cats are not responsive at all. Catnip basically does exactly what any psychotic drug would do to a human. It may be hysteria, ecstatic behavior, slowing down of time, blurring out of the surroundings etc. What does it do to the meow though?
Well, it is known to trigger the neurons in the small and cute nose of our kitties, which in turn send signals to the brain, that orders the body to behave weirdly. The reactions that our cat may have to include things like hyperactivity, excess jumping and climbing, and of the most prominent thing ever observed, is excess rolling on the floor and pawing random things in weird patterns. The smell stigma seems to slow down their otherwise conscious and alert stance and makes their heads blurry, making them behave in weird ways.
It is also known to increase the average body temperature of the meow, also leading to a certain level of sexual activeness in their body. Female kitties are known to heat up more than males and are seen behaving in an arousing manner.
So, in a nutshell, catnip is what enhances the mood of your kitty. It helps them calm their senses and relax.
A fun fact about meows though, is that they are very alert and aware even when ‘high.’ It is a rare occurrence that cats would overdose on catnip. Nope, not happening! It seems that our meows are smart, and they know their limit. So, if your cat has had its fair share of sniff or consumption, it is highly unlikely that it would be eager for more. Great awareness, isn’t it?
Some various other plants and substances are very much like the catnip. They are known to provide the same level of fun and enjoyment. Some of them are:
1. Valerian root:
Similar to catnip, this plant provides strong mental stimulation for cats, causing hyperactivity and a rise in energy. However, exposure to valerian root has seen cats get aggressive as well. The effects of pleasure, fun, and relaxation remain, but also, due to excess energy, cats can get physically active, running, or jumping around a lot.
This is a more potent plant than a catnip. It is one of the best alternatives to traditional catnip if your meow is bored or not responsive towards catnip. The strong stimulants in silver vine play a vital part in your meow’s emotional and mental wellbeing, also providing adequate relaxation from anxiety and stress.
Our kitties are fragile indeed. Their pride and dominance may be prominent, but emotionally they may be vulnerable to many things. Products like the catnip provide ease and comfort to cats, giving their always-on-the-toes mind a chance to calm down and not be overtaken by stress.
But is it harmful to meows? How much is too much? Do bigger jungle beasts react the same way?
Nope! Not harmful at all. As mentioned earlier, cats are very smart and cautious at all times. Something like catnip can possibly drive the cats nuts. But they know their limit. They know when to stop, and that gives their parents to understand the exact quantity that should be given. However, going beyond the limit can cause digestive problems for the cat, causing stomach infections. They might throw up and fall ill.
As a matter of fact, cats of all sizes tend to react similarly to catnip or other plants that provide a potent stimulation. Bigger cats are also known to get extra aggressive, as they end up fighting within their pride.
If we hoomans have the need to relax our minds and calm down from time to time, our meows too need a strong substance that helps them ease out and be comfortable. And why should humans have fun? Meows wanna chill too!!