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Why Do Some Cats Not React to Catnip? What Science Has to Say!


Feb 7, 2023
tabby cat savoring catnip in the garden

Catnip can be a exciting addition to your cat’s day-to-day lifetime. Catnip is typically discovered in treats, scratchers, treats, and in a free type that you can sprinkle where your cat could love it.

We have all found cats go outrageous for catnip, typically rolling in it or taking in it, and then training their parkour about the household ahead of crashing for a very long nap. For some cats, however, there is no reaction to catnip. You may possibly present catnip to your cat and they just sniff it and walk away. It turns out that sensitivity to catnip is a genetic trait that only all-around 70%–80% of cats have.


Why Do Cats Respond to Catnip?

Catnip has the capacity to activate specific receptors inside of cats, creating them come to feel pleased, loving, or energetic. This euphoria can be attributed to a chemical in catnip called nepetalactone. This chemical causes cats to show behaviors that are equivalent to how feminine cats in warmth may act.

Catnip mimics pheromones that cats make, primary to a sexualized reaction to the existence of the chemical compounds in it.

cat reacting to catnip
Picture Credit history: Kelly Magnuson, Shutterstock

Why Do Some Cats Not Respond to Catnip?

As not all cats have the genetic trait to be sensitive to catnip, there is a chunk of the domestic cat populace that won’t react to catnip at all. Catnip also has no result on cats that have not reached sexual maturity, so this normally applies to cats underneath 6 months of age. You probably won’t know if your cat has a sensitivity to catnip or not until they are at least 6 months outdated.

Cats that do have a sensitivity to catnip generally only feel the outcomes of the chemical compounds for all-around 10 minutes. After the “high” wears off, cats are immune to the outcomes of catnip for close to 30 minutes. This does not imply that your cat is immune to catnip all the time, while, so if your cat’s reaction to catnip only lasts for a number of minutes and then doesn’t look to happen again for a although, that’s a entirely ordinary reaction and doesn’t suggest your cat does not have the gene to respond to catnip.

cat rolling around in catnip
Graphic Credit history: Kassel95, Pixabay

Do All Cat Species React to Catnip?

No, not all species of cats respond to catnip. We all know that domestic cats react to catnip, but what other cats are delicate to the consequences of the chemical substances in catnip? Consider it or not, mountain lions, bobcats, lynxes, tigers, and jungle lions respond to catnip the exact same way that domestic cats do, though they are also affected by genetics that effects no matter if or not they react.

In one particular examination carried out by the Knoxville Zoo, lions and jaguars showed the strongest reaction to catnip. Tigers, mountain lions, and bobcats at the zoo showed a response to the catnip, but it was fewer powerful than the lions and jaguars. The cheetahs at the park confirmed no curiosity in the catnip, deciding on to not even solution it.

gray cat near catnip plants
Image Credit rating: Ga Evans, Shutterstock


In Summary

If your cat does not show a reaction to catnip, it doesn’t imply there is everything wrong with your cat. It’s a wholly usual thing for some cats to exhibit no fascination in catnip. If your cat doesn’t respond to catnip, you may perhaps take into account introducing them to silvervine, which is a plant that causes a similar reaction as catnip. Some cats that really don’t answer to catnip might display an curiosity in silvervine.

If your cat does not react to both, then you may perhaps will need to obtain game titles and toys that are interesting to your cat alternatively of working with catnip for enrichment.

Showcased Impression Credit history: Badon Hill Studio, Shutterstock

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