What is catnip? Why do cats go crazy for it?
Catnip, aka Nepeta cataria, is a flowering member of the mint family of herbs. The compound in catnip, called nepetalactone, is a type of chemical known as a terpene – an active molecule that attracts cats. Scientists believe that the oils in catnip stimulate the olfactory sensors in the brain as well as effecting hormones similar to pheromones.
How do cats respond to catnip?
Response to catnip is believed to be genetic, with approximately 75 percent of cats being receptive to nepetalactone. If you’ve never seen a cat respond to catnip, you’re in for quite a show. Licking, tumbling around, “bunny-kicking,” rubbing and lots of slobbering that typically lasts for about 20 crazy, exciting minutes. After that the cat mellows out, “resetting” itself before it indulges in another irresistible encounter of catnip bliss.
Catnip is an extremely safe and non-addictive herb for cats and kittens to play with or even eat. Depending on the individual cat and the amount of catnip that’s been ingested, the cat may be excited or calmed while using catnip. Many kinds of wild cats also react to this herb.
Felines who frequently enjoy catnip can build up a tolerance, which diminishes their response. For cats who seem to become immune to the effects, you can simply put the catnip away and bring it out occasionally so that the cats can still enjoy an exciting experience. Store your catnip in an airtight container in a dark space, out of kitty’s reach. Heat, sunlight and freezing catnip does break down the oils, reducing the product’s freshness and lifespan.
What elements are essential to a good catnip toy?
The best catnip toys are completely stuffed with catnip – not just a pinch of catnip and the rest of the toy stuffed with cotton or polyfill. Yeowww! Catnip toys are 100 percent stuffed with organically grown catnip. Yeowww! Catnip toys contain no fillers. The stuffing is all catnip.
Yeowww! uses only the leaves and flower tops to ensure that the catnip is extremely fragrant. The team at Yeowww! often hear that people’s cats never responded to catnip until they tried a Yeowww! Catnip toy. The Yeowww! team believes this is due to both the quality of the catnip inside as well as how much catnip is contained in the toy. Many of the Yeowww! toys have over an ounce of catnip inside them.
Shape also plays a big part of a cat’s enjoyment with its catnip toy. Some cats like round shapes, other cats are attracted to long or skinny shapes for bunny kicking, and many cats prefer smaller toys that they can bat around.
Stuffed 100 percent with organically grown catnip and made with durable cotton twill fabric using only non-bleed vegetable-based dyes, Yeowww! Catnip toys do not include strings or plastic pieces that can fall off or be ingested. Strings and plastic pieces are especially dangerous for cats because they can cause blockages if swallowed.