Raining Cats & Dogs
cat AP
Catnip sometimes puts cats in a dreamy pose, looking up to the ceiling. (AP Photo/file)

Pet tips: If you won't talk to your cat about catnip, who will?

Here are four things every cat lover should know about this mysterious plant that preoccupies our furry friends!

1. Catnip is an actual plant.

A member of the mint family, Nepeta cataria L. (aka catnip) grows throughout the United States. The plant features small, lavender flowers and jagged, heart-shaped leaves that smell faintly of mint.

2. It's easy to grow.

Cat lovers who possess a green thumb can grow catnip from seed. This herbaceous flowering plant will return each year with proper care.

3. Your cat may have any or all of the following catnip effects:

-- Meow and roll in the catnip
-- Rub their cheeks against the spot where catnip has been sprinkled -- Roll on their back, or gaze up at the ceiling
-- Run around the room like a kitten playing with a friend
-- Settle into a dreamy pose

4. Most cats love it.

Kittens are only responsive to cat-nip after 6 months, once their brain has fully developed.

Catnip leaves and flowers can trigger chemicals in a cat's brain that lead to bouts of energetic euphoria or laid-back laziness. In some cats it can trigger paranoia or hallucinogenic effects. If your cat seems fearful, do not continue to give it to them.

You also can refresh old toys by placing them in a sealed jar along with a sachet of catnip. The scent of the catnip will interest your cat again. It's a great way to jump-start a chubby cat's exercise regimen.

Listen to It's Raining Cats and Dogs on KIRO Radio every Sunday at 1 p.m for more tips from the Seattle Humane Society. Also listen anytime ON DEMAND at KIRORadio.com.

Also don't miss this week's pet of the week: Klondike. Klondike is available for adoption right now at the Seattle Humane Society.

Seattle Humane Society,
Staff members from the Humane Society offer helpful pet tips each week on KIRO Radio's "It's Raining Cats and Dogs."
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