Cat owners have long known the emotional benefits of having a feline friend in their home. In fact, studies have shown that owning a cat can relieve stress, as well as reduce the risk of physical health ailments such as high blood pressure and heart attack.
Many cat owners will show their appreciation by offering treats to their four legged friend. Unfortunately, too many edible treats can have ill desired effects on a cat’s health. Unlike many calorie dense treats on the market today, catnip will not contribute to obesity and the many health issues it can cause.
Just as in humans, obesity in pets is on the rise in America, and can have damaging effects on a cat’s overall health and emotional well being. Luckily, cat owners have the option to treat their furry companions with the ideal treat… catnip!
What is Catnip?
A member of the mint family, catnip has a pungent aroma that cats are very attracted to. Once a cat interacts with catnip by smelling, rolling in, or licking, the essential oil nepetalactone is believed to mimic feline pheromones.
This causes a natural euphoric or “happy” feeling that can fuel hyperactivity and hyper alertness. These effects last for a duration on average of 10 minutes, and usually cannot be repeated until a few hours after the initial interaction.
The opposite when ingested, catnip is known to have a calming effect when eaten. Aside from the emotional benefit, providing catnip as a treat for a cat can help strengthen the bond between cat and pet owner, as well as improve the overall physical well being of the pet. Assists In Training Activities Much like other domestic pets, training activities can be a fun way for pet and owner to bond.
Cats are highly intelligent and learn quickly. These types of interactions help to create a trust and understanding of what is to be expected from each member of the relationship. Some cats, however, need some motivation in order to become engaged in these activities. That’s where the catnip comes in! Adding some catnip to the area where the activities are taking place are sure to attract the pet and give them the enthusiasm and alertness necessary to excel at the task before them.
Just as it encourages participation in training, using catnip on toys will attract them to the toys and encourage interaction with them.
This is vital to the health of the cat as play provides much needed exercise to help keep body weight near its ideal limit and muscles and other internal organs in tip top shape. This also helps to keep an emotionally uplifted cat, as exercise is known to fight depression and anxiety, that cats (just as their human counterparts) can suffer from.
Catnip is versatile, in that it can be used in so many ways from adding to toys and bedding, to play areas, to just being smelled, rubbed up on, licked or eaten. Catnip is a great treat simply for the euphoric effect it can have on a friendly feline. But, just as owning a cat provides so many health benefits to its owner, cat owners can provide an ideal treat that has so many wonderful emotional and overall healthful benefits of its own.
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