If you own a cat, you’ve probably heard of catnip. The question is, how much do you know about Fluffy’s favorite plant? Here, your Isle of Palms, SC veterinarian goes over the basics.

What Exactly is Catnip?

Catnip is actually an herb. It’s classified in the same “plant family” as mint, and it grows in the wild all over North America. The wild plant is leafy and green, with white flowers that contain distinctive purple spots. In a pet store, you’ll buy a dried and processed version of the plant.

Why Does Catnip Affect Cats?

The catnip plant’s oils contain a chemical known as nepetalactone. It is this substance that causes the reaction you’ll see in your cat. Nepetalactone is believed by some experts to act as a sort of feline aphrodisiac, eliciting an almost sexual response in your pet!

Why Isn’t My Cat Reacting?

If your cat doesn’t respond to catnip in any way whatsoever, don’t worry; they’re perfectly healthy. Our feline friends actually need a particular gene, inherited from the parents, to react to catnip. If they don’t have this gene, catnip will have no effect!

To learn more, call your vet clinic Isle of Palms, SC today.