Leonidas and Rosie

Cat Tips

Mother cats teach their kittens to inhibit biting, so kittens removed from mom at a young age may nip more. Encourage acceptable behavior by offering toys to pounce on instead.

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Expert Q&A

Catnip does nothing for my cat. Could I be buying the wrong kind, or is there something wrong with my cat?

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Only about half of the cat population is sensitive to catnip, so your cat is in good company and is likely fine. The potent chemical in catnip -- a fragrant member of the mint family -- is nepetalactone. It triggers head rubbing, rolling, leaping and all sorts of playful behaviors in catnip-sensitive felines. If your cat does react to catnip, try growing the plant yourself. Organic catnip is the best option. When dried, it will store for months in an airtight container. The catnip "high" lasts only about 15 minutes, however. By that time, most cats eat the herb, become covered with the stuff or seem to just get bored. Cats that don't react to catnip often go bonkers over dried honeysuckle. Just be sure to never provide your cat with honeysuckle berries, as those are considered poisonous to felines. Some manufacturers, such as Kitty Kottage, are now offering cat-safe toys stuffed with honeysuckle for these catnip non-cravers. It sounds like yours is one of them, so honeysuckle-scented toys might be your best option.

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