It’s not just house cats that can’t get enough of the aromatic herb, the larger wild members of the feline species also get the same enjoyment from catnip because it comes down to genetics. As it’s hereditary, not all cats will have a strong reaction to nepeta cataria, in fact approximately 33% of cats are largely unaffected by it.
For the remaining 67% of cats, It is the nepetalactone in the oil of the plant’s seeds, leaves and stems that gives them that feeling of euphoria. It is this large majority that will benefit from catnip as a behavioural tool in the home.
Many cat owners now prefer to leave their cats front claws in rather than have the first digit removed from the kitten when it is young. While this is kind to the cat, these felines will thus need to have their claws trimmed on a regular basis and/or have a scratching post provided for them to wear down their talons.
The scratching post is a great way to save your chairs and couches from having the fabric torn away by an enthusiastic cat, but sometimes a cat may stray from its use. Catnip, applied to the scratching post, can reinforce the proper behaviour for the cat, making the scratching post the much more favourable option.
Growing your own catnip in the house has several benefits, chiefly:
As catnip is safe to eat, it will be much safer for them than the majority of common houseplants, many of which can be poisonous to pets if consumed.
If you have questions about other ways that catnip could be used as a positive reinforcement training method for cats, contact your veterinarian today.