Animals

How cat grass is used

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The cat grass (catnip) or catnip (Nepeta Cataria) is a plant very similar to mint that attracts the attention of our felines. In the days of the ancient Romans, this plant was used to cure all kinds of ailments and, more recently, has been used in herbal infusion to aid digestion. In the case of cats, the grass seems to be attractive and exciting.

When we put a cat in contact with the cat grass, the animal rubs, licks and chews it with unusual interest, they even emit sounds similar to those produced by the female during the heat. It is not clear why some cats react in this way and others do not (30% of cats are not affected by catnip). Responsible for the herb's narcotic effect is a molecule called nepetalactone, which penetrates the nostrils of cats and stimulates their sensory neurons. The stimulating effect of catnip lasts about ten minutes at the most after exposure and then may be more than 30 minutes immune to its charms. Some cats stay very relaxed after exposure and looking towards the void and others however become very excited and become hyperactive.

Cat grass is not harmful or addictive to them and they are used in certain toys to stimulate gymnastics and keep cats healthy without realizing that they are exercising. On other occasions it is used in sprays to attract the cat to the scraper and prevent scratching on the sofa since if we spray nepetalactone on the scraper, it attracts them to him. Keep in mind that a cat uncontrolled by the influence of nepetalactone is in danger, especially if there are open windows or terrace at home. In addition, the influences of catnip can be very exciting for the animal being able to produce (although not frequent), aggressive behaviors not recommended. In these cases, the ideal is to remove the plant.

Does my cat need to purge with grass?

It is true that some cats eat grass to cause vomiting, but they do not do so because they need to be purged but because they are sick to the stomach and feel the need to vomit to relieve themselves. Cats, due to their habit of grooming themselves licking their body, swallow a lot of hair, which can cause constipation or hairballs in the stomach (also called tricobezoars), which also bother the animal. In these cases, inducing vomiting by eating grass is a very sporadic solution. There are times that they also do it because they have ingested such an amount of food that they are ill and other times because they have an empty stomach and have acidity. If we see that the animal eats grass often, we must suspect that something is not going well and probably presents a chronic gastritis that has to be treated. Otherwise, if you vomit once every two or three months you should not be alarmed.

Is there special grass for cats?

There are different herbs for cats that are edible, you have to know correctly which one to give to avoid using any toxic plants. In animal stores there is quite a diversity of plants that you can use at home without risk to your cat. Similarly, we must inform ourselves if the plants we have at home are toxic to them and if so, remove them.

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