Cat nip is a plant of the mint family. It can be found growing in the wild in North America but is often cultivated in gardens due to its fragrant and pinkish flowers. The active ingredient that interests cats the essential oil nepetalactone which oddly enough is also an insect repellant.
About two-thirds of cats react to nepetalactone. They will roll on, chew, and even swallow the crushed leaves. Some may even drool and growl, though they are not likely to become aggressive. Often their eyes are dilated. The effects last usually about 10 to 15 minutes. Fortunately, cats sense they’ve had enough and will take a break from the plant.
No harm has been report to cats from repeated exposure so let them have fun!
Any pet questions? Please visit us at Hudson Veterinary Hospital or call us at (330) 650-2929.