Why Do Cats like Catnip?
Cats are attracted to catnip because of its mint-like smell. Because of this, the plant is sometimes called “cat-mint.” Catnip is a fragrant member of the mint family. When the leaves are broken it releases a certain chemical that most cats respond to.
The reaction to this chemical is caused by the organ that operates a cat’s five senses (touch, smell, sight, sound and taste.) Those cats that do react will eat it or lick it; others just sniff it.
The plant grows to be about two or three feet tall and bears downy, heart-shaped leaves. Cats romp like frisky kittens when allowed to play with catnip. They roll and rub, purr, and chew on the leaves.
Besides smelling good to cats, catnip also tastes good and is healthy for cats. The leaves are rich in vitamins and minerals. Chewing on catnip gives a cat energy and also aids in digestion.
The catnip reaction is inherited so not all of them respond. Young kittens and old cats rarely respond although large cats like tigers will. If your cat’s behavior doesn’t change around catnip it’s nothing to worry about.