One of the most amusing and intriguing things about cats is their reaction to catnip. The unassuming minty herb can make some felines almost euphoric. If you notice your cutie rolling around in it, chewing it, drooling and stumbling all over herself, she's very likely a fan of catnip.
Effects of Catnip
Catnip can indeed turn your usually relaxed kitty into a drooling mess, according to the Humane Society of the United States. The mere scent of the perennial can have a cat running maniacally, rubbing obsessively, licking, chewing, sniffing, growling, leaping and flipping -- the whole nine yards. For a few minutes, you might not even recognize your pet.
If your cat is drooling from the smell of catnip, it's probably because she's feeling giddy and practically can't contain herself. According to the ASPCA, drooling can be a sign of extreme contentment in a feline -- a holdover from her tender days with mommy cat, drooling during the comfort of nursing time. Aww.
Catnip is neither dangerous nor habit-forming in any way, according to the Humane Society of the United States. However, not all cats have a genetic predilection toward the green stuff. In fact, about one-fourth of cats have no reaction to it, the society says. If a cat naturally doesn't respond to catnip, she'll probably just ignore it entirely. The same applies to very young kittens. The penchant for catnip typically appears in cats who are 3 to 6 months old. Before that age, a kitten won't really acknowledge it, much less drool for it.
Other Causes of Drooling
If your cat is drooling, don't always assume that catnip is the culprit, even if some of the herb is lying around. Salivation sometimes indicates a serious medical problem, such as esophageal blockage, herpes or even plant toxicity. The effects of catnip usually fade in just a few brief minutes. Take your fluff ball to the veterinarian if the drooling doesn't quickly cease. Never waste precious time when your kitty shows unusual symptoms.
- The Humane Society of the United States: Crazy for Catnip
- ASPCA: Questions About Cats
- ASPCA: 17 Poisonous Plants
- ASPCA: Herpes
- The Merck Manual for Pet Health: Disorders of the Esophagus in Cats
- The Humane Society of the United States: Catnip -- Why Cats Go Crazy For It
- The Humane Society of the United States, Animal Sheltering: The Catnip Conundrum
- CNN Living: 5 Things to Know About Catnip
- George Doyle & Ciaran Griffin/Stockbyte/Getty Images