When it comes to a Siamese cat’s enjoyment of this mysterious plant, the verdict is in – and it’s a tie. About 50 percent of Siamese cats like catnip. But for the affirmative camp, “like” is an understatement.
I would say that they have a more euphoric love affair with it. And as parents of these mysterious beings, we are so glad they do!
It’s hard not to like a simple herb that sends my cats ricocheting off of the furniture, and me into a fit of giggles. This is a fantastic way to blow off steam for both myself and my furry children.
Do all Siamese cats like catnip?
When it comes to cats’ reactions to catnip, it’s taster’s choice. Science has yet to prove a definitive link between a specific breed and a taste for catnip. This article published by the NCBI describes the possible logic behind this finickiness.
There is a theory that a predisposition to the herb is genetic. But many educational studies dispute this hypothesis. So we don’t have any idea why certain cats go bonkers after sniffing catnip, while others don’t react at all.
It is as much a mystery as where their purr motors come from. The active ingredient in catnip is Nepetalactone (Nepeta cataria). It seems this plant’s destiny was for the feline kingdom! You can read more about Nepetalactone in ScienceAdvances.
Nepetalactone resides in both the stems and leaves of catnip. This special herb comes to us from Europe and Asia, and there are more than 250 kinds. But no matter what the type, approximately 50 percent of cats will have a strong reaction to it.
This response seems almost hallucinogenic – and the majority of cats I’ve known enjoy the trip! I have yet to meet the other 50 percent.
“A kitten is the delight of a household. All day long a comedy is played out by an incomparable actor.” –Champfleury
What happens when a Siamese cat likes catnip?
I’m tempted to tell you to just feed your cat a little and watch the magic happen, but here’s a little preview. When a cat sniffs this enchanting herb, it sends her into a state of euphoria.
She’ll bury her nose in the leaves and roll her entire head around, trying to elicit the most pleasure from the aroma. Then she’ll hallucinate that she’s a sprinter at the starting gate. The referee blows the whistle and she begins to chase after visions only she can see. If sniffed, she’ll have a look of absolute focus and determination in her pretty blue eyes.
Then when she wants to calm down, all she has to do is consume a little more, and those eyes will glaze over in bliss. She may even begin to drool. She’s in her own happy little world. The high lasts about 15 minutes, and she’ll ask for more in about two hours because she’ll again be ready to roll!
Why do Siamese cats like catnip?
Nepetalactone is the ticket to this fantasy world. This is an essential oil found within the leaves of the catnip plant. When it’s released, it causes a chemical reaction within a cat’s brain that leads to rapture.
I would argue that the cats who enjoy a little nip of this plant do so because it allows them to expose their silly side. After all, every mammal needs to relax and let off a little steam, right? Because we all know that cats don’t have enough zen in their lives.
But in all seriousness, I’ve seen my cats try to restrain themselves from scratching. It looks stressful! Catnip is well suited to solve this problem.
When sniffed, it causes the comical reaction we’re accustomed to. But when ingested, it acts as a sedative. And this plant is as easy-to-use for the cat as the human.
Your kitty can break down the leaves by chewing, heightening its effects. But don’t worry. While this all might sound like a trip back to the psychedelic sixties, catnip is not a drug.
It doesn’t have addictive properties – although your cat will remember that he likes it and ask for it again. There is also no risk of harming him by feeding him too much, or too often.
You may have noticed the phenomenon where your cat leaves a single morsel of his food. Either this is incredible self-control or survival instinct, but cats have superior willpower. So it’s the perfect treat or reward. Or yes, a bribe!
When to feed your Siamese cat catnip
The desire for catnip is born in a kitten when they reach two to three months. Before that, their senses aren’t sophisticated enough to appreciate its fine qualities. We’ve already discussed the benefits of catnip for your feline.
Now let’s talk about the advantages for you. Sprinkle a little, or a lot, on the scratching post when training your cat or kitten. But make sure not to get any on expensive furniture or prized heirlooms!
It is also quite useful as a more overt bribe. Use this strategy before trips to the vet, at the vet, or as a reward after trimming her claws.
And while it might be tempting, do not give her catnip because you need a good laugh. This is fine when it happens, but your cat is not a trained circus animal.
Now let’s talk about timing. It might only be me, but I enjoy sleeping, so I avoid dispensing catnip before bed. They say it can act as a sedative, but I’ll need definitive proof first!
All the ways to feed your Siamese cat catnip
You can feed it to your cat in many forms, including shredded leaves in little bags from your local pet goods store. Other forms include liquid, spray, and still on the plant in your windowsill. You may also have several adorable stuffed toys that include pouches for catnip.
But from my experience, no matter how you feed it, it is likely that your cat will have a strong reaction to it. This response seems almost hallucinogenic – and the majority of cats I’ve known enjoy the trip!
Uses for catnip besides entertaining your Siamese cat
Your cat should only consume her plant inside because far too many dangers exist in your garden. Unless she is on a leash – which Siamese cats actually seem to enjoy!
According to Drugs.com, there are several other fantastic uses for this versatile plant.
- Mosquito Repellant: Tired of swatting away mosquitos during the summer? Planting some catnip around your favorite outdoor areas will give you much-needed relief.
- Relaxation: It can have a calming effect on you in other ways too. Curl up beside your furry friend with a cup of catnip tea.
- Medicine: Store some in your medicine cabinet to cure an upset stomach. Catnip is also rumored to stimulate appetite, calm colic, and ease the common cold.
Catnip is native to Southern Europe, but is widely naturalized all over Europe and North America, where some of the best quality in the world is grown in the state of Washington.
It is a 50-100 cm tall perennial herb resembling mint in appearance, with greyish-green leaves. The flowers are white, finely spotted with purple.
Leaves are triangular-ovate with a heart-shaped base, sharp, coarse, pubescent. The fruit is a brown elliptical smooth nut. Catnip blooms in June – July. The fruits ripen in July – August.
Are the parallels beginning to materialize for you too? Well, it is a plant, and it does look similar. Food for thought.
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