Catnip, known scientifically as Nepeta cataria, is a member of the mint family and is famously adored by many cats for its stimulating effects. The plant contains nepetalactone, a compound that can trigger a range of behaviors from euphoria to playful hyperactivity in susceptible cats. Not all cats respond to catnip—sensitivity to it is a hereditary trait, affecting about 50% to 70% of the feline population. The effects are usually temporary, lasting about 10 minutes, and can be seen when cats sniff, chew, or rub against the catnip-infused items. Available in various forms like raw leaves, sprays, pellets, or incorporated into toys, catnip can serve multiple purposes from enhancing playtime to aiding in training and even stress relief.

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Catnip, or Nepeta cataria, is a plant from the mint family that affects about 50% to 70% of cats, eliciting responses like euphoria and hyperactivity due to a compound called nepetalactone. The reaction, which is hereditary, usually lasts around 10 minutes and is followed by a period of disinterest. Available in various forms such as raw leaves, sprays, pellets, and toys, catnip can be used to enhance play, assist in training, and provide stress relief. While generally safe, it should be used in moderation to avoid overstimulation, and not all cats will respond to it.