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Why Your Cat’s Catnip Habit Is a Good Thing

Unravel the layers behind your cat's obsession with catnip. From the euphoria-inducing highs to the calm-inducing lows, discover how these plants affect your cat's neurological system in a safe and non-addictive manner.

why do cats love catnip


  • A member of the mint family, catnip contains nepetalactone, a compound found in its essential oil that’s thought to affect cats’ behavior
  • In many cats, exposure to catnip leads to hyper or playful behaviors, including rolling over, grooming, increased activity and vocalizations
  • It’s often been assumed that cats who don’t get hyper from catnip aren’t affected, but it turns out catnip also causes passive behavioral effects
  • One study found 80% of cats had passive responses to catnip, including “sphinx-like position” and decreased vocalizations and activity
  • Catnip may work via your cat’s opioidergic system, with effects similar to opioid-like pain relievers and sedatives; the end result may be a more relaxed, happy kitty; rolling in catnip may also offer natural insect-repelling benefits

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