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Why don't they like catnip?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I've been trying to prepare my kitties become indoor cats because we are moving to an apartment in the near future.
Among the several things I've been doing I decided to try catnip because I thought it would be helpful for them to have it once we are in our new place since it'll relax them and make them happier.

Max was in heaven with the catnip.
The rest of my cats didn't care.
They smelled it and left.. one of my cats (the siamese one) has always been a nervous cat, I thought catnip would help her but she got really nervous and tried to avoid getting near it.

I thought this product was more effective
Don't most cat like catnip?
did your cat/cats like it straight away? or did they react like my cats?
could they, eventually, like it?

I'm not sure if this matters or not.. the only cat that liked it was male, the rest are female.
post #2 of 15
Catnip only appeals to about half of all cats, I believe, and kittens normally don't react at all. Also, the quality of the catnip plays a role. We have catnip plants in our yard, and the place is kitty city. Jamie ignores the plants in the yard, but freaks out when I give him organic Canadian catnip. You could also try Valerian root or honeysuckle, which appeal to many cats.
post #3 of 15
ive never seen a cat "chill" to catnip" catnip is a stimulant to cats isnt it? just look at wiki,
"When cats sense the bruised leaves or stems of catnip, they will rub in it, roll over it, paw at it, chew it, lick it, leap about and purr. Some cats will also growl and meow"
thats always been my experience of catnip with my cats
i dont think anyone has the definitive answer to why cats act like that with cat nip. but it obviously is a drug like state so dont worry its not an essential part of your cats life
post #4 of 15
"I'm not sure if this matters or not.. the only cat that liked it was male, the rest are female."

case solved!

catnip smells like..."censored"

post #5 of 15
I think it's different for all cats like jcat said.

Not one of my cats likes catnip... however Codiene and Reba just LOVE mint leaves. (Mouse, we don't know yet, she's still just a baby) *shrugs* they all like different things.
post #6 of 15
I only have a couple cats that will even NOTICE the catnip-LOL! And the ones that do only roll around in it.

I think it's just like us humans, there are some things we like, some things we don't. Maybe try one of those calming plug ins instead?
post #7 of 15
I have very varied reactions to catnip at my house too- Pandora gets all weird, rolling around and stuff, Sapphire runs around like her tail's on fire :lol3 that is extremely entertaining, Antigone doesn't have any reaction and Simon gets, for lack of a better word, stoned
post #8 of 15
Some say cats have a "catnip" gene in them...I have no clue but I've had some that were crazy about it and others that would take/leave it. Kittens under a year most times don't like it or don't react to it.

You could try fresh catnip leaves and crush them (we have it outside growing wild) or buy some very strong catnip. Usually the better catnip I got from cat shows. The store kind has been sitting around longer and seems to lose its "flavor".
post #9 of 15
Hi, it is true, cats have to inherit the proper genes to be catnip responders (and if you are wondering where I get my information from, it is from a catnip grower who did his masters thesis on the chemistry of catnip. I trust his information!), and they have to be the appropriate age. Giving catnip to a kitten of say 8 to 12 weeks is pointless, they need to be the age of sexual maturity (can be the age for a first heat, not regular cycling, and this age varies greatly depending on breed or the mix of breeds behind a moggie).

Sex of the cat has nothing to do with whether or not it is a catnip responder!

As Jcat said, cats that don't respond to catnip may well respond to either or both, honeysuckle and valerian.
post #10 of 15
Two other plants you could try are oregano and lavender. We have both in our garden, and they seem to excite some cats.
post #11 of 15
I have definitely noticed a difference in the quality of catnip. One of my cats Roxie -loves- catnip, so much that she will beg me for it at night sometimes heh. But one time we had two different kinds at the same time and she would go crazy for one of them but wouldn't even bat an eye at the other. At first I thought she just wasn't in the mood when I offered her the "shwag" catnip but after repeated attempts with it, I noticed that only the really potent smelling catnip would excite her. Also when my other cat Ruxpin was little he never cared for catnip at all, giving credence to the whole "it doesn't work unless they are a certain age" deal, but now that he is a year or so older he goes crazy for it. I hope this helps

Also I have noticed that Roxie really responds to Burts Bees lip balm. Almost exactly as if it was catnip. I think it might be because it has mint in it, and apparently catnip is a member of the mint family. She will try to lick my girlfriends lips and rub all over her face to try and get at it, so some other types of mints might work as suggested above.
-Houston
post #12 of 15
It must be an acquired taste
post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by hth515
I have definitely noticed a difference in the quality of catnip. One of my cats Roxie -loves- catnip, so much that she will beg me for it at night sometimes heh. But one time we had two different kinds at the same time and she would go crazy for one of them but wouldn't even bat an eye at the other. -Houston
I would bet money the difference between the two catnips was that of between catnip with stalks/stem pieces, and a catnip that contained some of the flowers or buds - and thus more of the essential oil containing the active ingredient in catnip - nepetalactone
post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 
All of your replies have been very interesting! Thanks for all the info!
The use of Catnip is rather new over here (I live in Chile) so I didn't know much about the product.

Its unfortunate that only one of my cats inherited the catnip gene.. oh well, I'm going to try valerian root and oregano to see how my kitties react to it.

I also want to try feliway but its expensive over here since its an imported product, I'll have to wait until I've saved enough money.
post #15 of 15
with Wonton the quality seems to be important. the catnip toys you can buy at Safeway and the like do nothing for him, but when i go to the pet store and buy him some Cosmic catnip, he goes nuts for it. i should video him next time i give him some and post it up - it's hilarious
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