Is ‘catnipping’ as bad as drugging humans? Fangs and claws are out as pet-lovers debate the ethics of catnip. The fur is flying once again on social media over the catnip row this Magical week – that time of the year when people fish out their gift lists. And feline members of the family figure high on them. In fact, catnip toys attract much attention because people know how much their fur-balls swoon over the magic chemical. Catnip plant, known to botanists as Nepeta cataria, is a herb. It has an essential oil that contains nepetalactone.
Scientifically speaking, this compound only briefly drives the cats on a high like what marijuana has does to the human brain. Fact is, the compound has a strong effect on only about 70 percent of cats. They begin to act silly after ingesting catnip. They twist and turn, and roll on the ground. Some move around with a funny gait. However, this chemical is not addictive or damaging to the cat. That is why some think it is OK to let cats trip once in a while. But, others equate it to deliberately getting somebody drunk to watch the fun. In fact, the debate echoes different human perceptions and will continue forever. And, the spot and the fluffy may or may not do that wonky donkey act, fuelling the catnip row depending on their masters’ views.
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