As a cat owner, you will find more and more toys with “catnips,” pots with cat grass that you can plant yourself, or sachets with dried catnip. But what is it all, and what is the difference? You can find the answers here.
Nepeta Cataria, aka “catnip.”
This plant, with the Latin name Nepetaria Cataria, belongs to the mint family. It blooms for a long time in different blue and white shades and is, therefore, one of the most frequently planted flowering perennials in recent years. It originally comes from southern Europe, Africa, and Asia, but you can also plant it yourself at home. However, this requires patience, as it takes root slowly and can only be harvested from a size of approx—45 cm. You can also get them dried in healthy food stores for those who don’t have a green thumb. It is either important to keep the catnip airtight so that the essential oils don’t evaporate too quickly. Depending on the type, they have a lemony or minty smell.
ALSO READ: Organic food for the cat
The effect on cats
Many cats like the mint smell very much, and they rub themselves on the plants, even eat parts of it or lie directly in the plant. The cats relax noticeably, but this can only be observed in adult cats. Older animals and young kittens show little interest in the plant. This is because that the plant secretes a scent that certain pheromones of the cat are similar. Nepetalactone, a pheromone, acts on the nervous system and thus creates an intoxicating or relaxing effect. Even nervous cats relax, roll around on the plants, purr, and play with the leaves until they eventually eat them up.
Surprisingly, however, this effect only occurs in around 50% of all cats. Scientists today believe that the “enthusiasm” about catnip is hereditary. Since catnip is harmless, poisoning is as good as impossible. However, problems can arise if the cat enjoys the plant too much and too often. If the “cat drug” is withheld from her, some animals can become frustrated, which manifests itself in outbursts of anger, profuse sweating, or massive tail biting. Therefore, you should only give the mint occasionally as a “specialty” so that such withdrawal symptoms do not occur in the first place.
ALSO READ: Can cats drink milk?
You can also take advantage of the positive effects of catnip. Scratching posts that are not so well received suddenly become an attraction. Popular toys become a favorite pastime, and even the hated transport box can lose its horror with skillful action. By the way: Catnip is the English name for the same plant.
By the way, a natural alternative to catnip is valerian. You can buy it either as whole roots or as drops. The latter can also be used to make toys more interesting. But it would help if you made sure that the drops do not contain too much alcohol, as this would be harmful in the long run.
ALSO READ: Keeping cat food fresh: it works with these tips!
This name refers to various grass-like plants that cats like to nibble on or downright devoured. Over the years, there have been various theories as to why cats like these grasses so much. At first, a dietary supplement was considered, as these plants contain folic acid, which is not found in meat. It is important for blood formation and, therefore, indispensable for the cat’s organism. The next thesis is that eating grass supports the binding of the swallowed hair in the stomach and the gagging process. The grass helps not to overwhelm the digestive tract with too much hair and thus prevents clogging.
There are several types of cat grass and even more commercially available plants, but they are not recommended. As a test of whether the grass is suitable for your own tigers, you should do it yourself. The leaves must not be hard or sharp-edged or have any prickly flowers. These can cause dangerous cuts in the cat’s throat or stomach and, in the worst case, even lead to death if the blade of grass is not detected quickly enough. If your cat is noticeably weak after eating cat grass, no longer eats, and sneezes or rubs its nose, you should immediately see your vet. Finally, you have to make sure that the plant has not been fertilized or treated with pesticides.
Generally recommendable species are Seychelles grass, often also called dwarf bamboo or green line. However, the latter is not advisable if it is in a smoker’s household: it filters toxins from the air, which the cat would then ingest. A safe alternative is to sow your own grids such as wheat, barley, or oats. These varieties are safe for the cat to enjoy, and they are also cheaper for you.
As a cat owner, if you do not believe in cat grass or the cat is not interested in the green stalks, you can use malt paste. The oils contain a positive effect on digestion and help the hair be shed well without vomiting.
ALSO READ: Kitten food: this is how you feed your kitten properly
Discussion about this post