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What Is Catnip?

Catnip, also called catmint, is an herb that is, as its name suggests, very attractive to cats. It is a member of the mint family. Catnip leaves and stems are fuzzy, like sage.

When cats sense the bruised leaves or stems of catnip, they may roll over it, paw at it, chew it, lick it, leap about and purr, or heavily salivate. Some will growl, meow, scratch, or bite the hand holding it.

Catnip affects approximately three quarters of all cats. What determines whether or not a cat will react to catnip is a genome that is inherited (or not inherited as the case may be) at birth. Kittens, regardless of whether or not they carry this genome, do not react to catnip until reaching about 3 or 4 months of age.

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