There has been some recent research on catnip (or catmint) that I find incredibly fascinating because of the potential!
What they found was that there is a substance in catnip (and silver vine) called nepetalactone that triggers the opioid center of the feline brain.
According to Dr. Karen Becker, “Nepetalactone acts on regions of the feline brain related to play, hunger, and predatory and sexual behavior, triggering the uninhibited behaviors characteristic of kitties under the influence of catnip”
Additionally, the Japanese study also found that it also has mosquito repellent properties.
While I find this incredibly interesting for planning my backyard at my new home (I totally plan on planting catnip for these properties!), I also find the potential medicinal properties incredibly powerful!
I appreciate modern medicine, don’t get me wrong, but I also think we take for granted what the earth provides to us. In the wild, animals know what plants help them in certain situations.
Even in this study that was done, they saw that all feline species tested were drawn to the nepetalactone from the catnip plant.
Of course, we know how cats in our home react to catnip, and the pleasure center in their brain really comes through …. but if you think about the bug repellent properties of catnip, it makes sense that cats in the wild greatly benefit from the bug repellent properties as well.
For instance, if you think about a cat hunting in the wild, it is super important that they are perfectly still in order to pounce on their prey. If they are being bitten by bugs, they can’t keep still.
To me, it’s amazing how nature works in perfect harmony. There is a reason for everything.
So, what other medicinal properties does catnip have for cats that we don’t know anything about? Potentially catnip could have similar medicinal uses for cats that marijuana has for people. Pain relief, anti-anxiety, calming effects just to name a few.
I would find it super interesting to see if catnip could resolve issues with indoor cats. If a couple of cats were fighting, could catnip help them calm down and work it out?
Could catnip provide pain relief that would work as well as, or possibly better than, pharmaceuticals?
There’s certainly more research to be done in this area, but it seems plausible!
Not to mention the mosquito repellent properties … it seems like a miracle plant!
Though not 100% of cats are susceptible to catnip. I have only ever had 1 cat who doesn’t seem to respond to catnip, most cats I’ve had do love it!
Does your cat love catnip? Have you noticed any effect on multi-cat relationships? I’d love to hear about it!