Catnip for Cats – We Know What it Does, But What is the Human Equivalent? - Cat Crack Catnip

Catnip for Cats – We Know What it Does, But What is the Human Equivalent?

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We all know what catnip does for cats, right? And how it works. We're cats. And these aren't the dark ages. We're living in the 21st Cat-Century. 

(Editor: to be precise, this article was written in the year 2024 AD, that is, 'After dogs were discovered to be stupid'). 

We have knowledge. We have experience. We have purr-chase power. And so, most of all, we have catnip. Lots of it. We all do. Well, most of us…

Does Catnip Make Cats High?

A recent survey conducted in Whisker City revealed that 95.8% of all cats had tried cat nip, of whom most would try it again - over 70%, to be exact. Many purry pollsters also believe that the rest may simply have misheard the question – if that was you, and you're reading this, then try a free hit and think again because catnip is the real deal.

But for real, those who don't get a kick from catnip may not have the genes to enjoy it. More on that another time. For now, let's focus on those humans that bring us treats, although not often enough.

What is Catnip Used For?

The point is, we all know that catnip is a good thing – 100% natural – and with clear, key benefits to cat health, happiness and well-being, including:

  1. Stress Relief - Triggering a euphoric response which can help reduce stress and anxiety, promoting overall well-being for us cats.
  2. Mental Stimulation – Acting as a natural stimulant, encouraging play and exercise to keep us mentally sharp and engaged, particularly when we're stuck indoors.
  3. Sensory Enrichment – Stimulating our sense of smell, an important part of our sensory experience.
  4. Bonding – All that rolling around and rubbing can create positive associations with our environment and companions - furry or otherwise.
  5. Relief for Senior Cats – With all of the above especially applying to seniors, who may be less active or experiencing 'age-related changes' (you know what we're talking about, ladies and gents)

And the Magic Ingredient That Manages All This? It's Nepetalactone Baby!

A 100% natural organic compound in catnip plants called nepetalactone. Nepetalactone stimulates the parts of the cat's brain, which brings about these feelings of happiness, excitement, and relaxation. The higher the nepetalactone potency – the best catnip hits 78% purity – the better the experience.

But it doesn't work on humans.  When cats come into contact with nepetalactone, it binds to receptors in our nasal tissue called the vomeronasal organ (VNO), triggering a similar neurological response to pheromones. But humans - the poor, weird, gangly, and occasionally dog-loving (grrrrrr) oddities that they are - do not have this receptor. 

Yet somehow - from time to time, when they're not 'at work' or 'opening bills' or 'cooking for their family' - humans do appear to experience feelings of happiness, excitement and relaxation. So we spoke to top professors at the Mew-nivesity of Human Studies, and asked them to explain how. 

So, put on your thinking cap, grab a free hit, relax, and learn a little about our strange, two-legged friends*. (*Remember, they're not our friends if they skimp on cat food, invite dogs around, or go on holiday).

A Cat's Guide: How Humans Relax

Television - Humans sit for hours…and hours…and hours…in front of a magical, glowing electric box. It is believed that they are part-hypnotized by its senseless pictures and sounds. It's a way of experiencing excitement without even having to leave the house – like cats do with catnip.

Mindfulness and Meditation – Cat professors have theorized that the human world has become increasingly stressful – or that humans have become increasingly gullible. Could be both. Anyway, they sometimes sit still, listen to whale music and close their eyes (beware, they are not sleeping), and try to mimic a cat having a nap. It's believed this makes them feel calm and peaceful - like cats do with catnip.

Reading – Although this is becoming less common, some older humans and ones with college degrees and glasses like looking at lumps of condensed trees filled with squiggly lines called 'books.' Apparently, they contain stories and information that transport them to different worlds and adventures. It's like VR without the headset – or like catnip if you are a cat.

Crafting - Humans love to play with different materials and can spend hours cutting, sticking, molding and folding as if mirroring our natural feline urge to bat things off tables with our paws or build cozy spaces – except they end up with weird objects they call 'art,' which they then gift to friends who don't want it.

Wine – It's well-documented that many humans have a peculiar love affair with fermented grape juice, pouring it into fancy glass saucers, swirling around and sniffing it as if that's the important bit, and then slinging it down their throats until it makes them feel warm and fuzzy inside – like catnip does for cats.

Staying Active – Some humans - the ones who are less squidgy, so less fun to sit on - engage in bizarre activities like jumping, stretching, and running around in circles. They call it 'exercise' and claim it keeps them healthy, like hunting and playing does for cats – or catnip.

Herbal Remedies – At a certain stage of life, humans start going all 'woo-woo' and gobbling down natural pills and brewing herbs into potions, complementing their use of conventional veterinarian 'medical' remedies, with natural, organic alternatives – like cats do with catnip.

Gardening – This one is particularly hard to understand. Humans can spend hours digging in the ground, burying things which are not poo, and then fussing over tiny green shoots that turn up months later - many of which aren't even edible - like it's some kind of miracle. It's believed this is relaxing – like catnip is for cats.

Cooking – Some humans have this odd ritual of combining ingredients and then applying heat in order to create edible concoctions – yes, we agree, it does seem like a lot of silly bother when you could simply just crack open a tin, or kill a mouse. They call this 'cooking' and claim it's a form of art and expression. In reality, they are simply mimicking the hunting instincts and energizing effects cats get from things they enjoy – like catnip. 

Travel and Days Out – Selfishly, many humans like to just stand up and bugger off, often leaving in shiny, loud metal boxes. It's hurtful to cats - and best dealt with by ignoring them on their return - but it's helpful to understand that they are simply responding to certain natural urges - a 'natural inquisitiveness' you might call it. A bit like cats do when enjoying catnip.

The Best Catnip Does the Best Above

So, my furry, purry friends, that is what those mysterious human hobbies do for humans – the same as catnip does for cats. Humans can spend years perfecting these 'hobbies' and 'interests,' learning slowly what makes them feel best, much like the pursuit of the best, 100% organic, highest-potency catnip around. Although, of course, in this day and age, we all know what that is (free hit here)! Meow! Want to show us what enjoying catnip looks like for you? Then, share your thoughts and videos HERE.

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