You will now witness a cat losing his hard-earned dignity...

In order to properly care for your cat, it's important to be able to understand him or her as best as possible. So, let's talk about catnip! If you've package of catnip ever witnessed what happens to your cat after he smells and rubs his nose in some catnip, you've probably had yourself quite a laugh!

Catnip is an herb with a strong scent, and it's also known as catmint. According to the book "Why Do Cats Do That? Real Answers to the Curious Things Cats Do," nepetalactone, which is a "hallucinogenic compound that mimics the scent of a cat's sex pheromones," is responsible for the effect it has on your cat. Unless your cat is one of the few that is not affected by catnip, you've probably witnessed him rolling around and yowling, acting like he is on drugs and extremely satisfied! They will usually do so for up to 15 minutes.

cat smelling catnip

In the image on the left, you'll notice my cat sitting on a triangular box. This is a popular way to deter your cat from sharpening his claws on your furniture or carpet. Every time you see him do it, gently pick him up and put him on top of a cat scratching box that is made for claw-sharpening. And where does the catnip come in? Well, if you rub some catnip between your fingers and then sprinkle it on top of his scratching box, he will be much more interested in being in that area. (And he'll be extremely content!)

Thankfully, catnip is not addictive or harmful to cats. You can use it to reward your cat for being good or if you just want to give him something to get excited about! You yourself will certainly be entertained!

For instructions and tips on how to grow your own catnip naturally, this gardener's Web site can be of some help. Supposedly, cats prefer this, and you'll witness an even stronger reaction to this than from what you can purchase at your local store! And as a quick sidenote, you can purchase small pots of live, planted catnip from PetSmart.

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