About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

My Favorite Weed: All About Catnip

Life is good.
What is that stink?! It’s familiar but I can’t quite put my finger on it. Not skunk. Did I step in something?

Oh JB found the source. I put catnip in my pocket and forgot about it. The cats don’t get it every day. But the catnip plant in the garden does donate enough leaves to treat the cats occasionally.

What is Catnip?
Catnip Nepeta cataria is a perennial herb that is member of the Mint family. Like dandelions and Canada thistle, catnip is another plant that is not native to the Americas. It has many medicinal uses in addition to its being a recreational substance for cats' enjoyment. Gardeners and birders may also find it interesting that researchers have found that the oil in the catnip leaves is about ten times more effective at repelling mosquitoes than DEET, which is the active ingredient in most insect repellents.

I am one crazy cat!
More Fun Facts about Cat Nip
  • Catnip was originally native to Asia and to Europe.
  • It was introduced to the Americas as food and for medical purposes.
  • Catnip tea was very popular before the importation of Chinese teas.
  • It was used as a treatment for gastrointestinal complaints, nervousness and colds.
  • Only 2/3 of cats respond to catnip, and only cats over three months old can appreciate the effects.
  • Tigers, cougars, bobcats, lions and lynx also respond to nepetalactone, the active ingredient in catnip.
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