Catnip: Cats go mad about it

Catnip belongs to the labiate family and was already used by the old Egyptians. Cats were aware of the benefits of this versatile plant even earlier. Sprinkle a bit of catnip and watch your cat. Very nervous animals will relax, purr, sniff, nibble and roll around in the herb. Catnip stimulates appetite and catnip tea, stewed for just a moment, aids digestion. The substance intoxicating to cats is called nepetalactone.

Nepetalactone affects the nervous system but is completely harmless and non-addictive. The herb is used to impregnate toys, transport carriers and scratching posts making them irresistible to cats. Whether or not the opinion that catnip can induce miscarriages in pregnant cats has any merit is still disputed by experts. So, better safe than sorry and keep catnip away from pregnant queens.
You can grow catnip indoors in a pot or outdoors in the garden. Dried herbs are available in health food stores. Store the herb in an airtight container as the volatile essential oils will otherwise evaporate quickly. Any ornamental varieties of the plant do not have any effect. Nepeta cataria grows best in a sunny spot and of course, without being visited by curious cats. It takes a relatively long time for the plant to develop a root system. You can harvest the plant once the stems have reached a height of approx. 45 cm. Please consider that your window sill or garden will become very quickly a favourite spot of various nosy parkers. You can hang the plant to dry in a dry room. Drying in a very low oven is also possible. Then store the catnip, as previously mentioned, in a vacuum sealed container until use. If you do not want to go through all this effort you can also get a wide range of catnip products at Maxi Zoo.

Call into your local store today to discuss your cat’s personal needs with our Maxi Zoo Pet Experts