It is actually part of a larger group referred to as catmint (genus name).
It is a plant that is native to many parts of Asia but has now become naturalized to Europe, New Zealand and here in North America. What makes is “special” is that approximately two-thirds of cats have an intense attraction to it.
It is an herb that if left unchecked can grow to be about 50-100 cm wide and tall! It looks like plants in the mint family with is oval course leaves, and it’s little pretty pink or whitish purple flowers. Originally it was grown as an ornamental garden flower then it was noted that cats loved it (butterflies too).
In cats, it is a recreational substance that cats want to rub on, roll on and chew it. The cats that like it are likely to drool, become sleepy, anxious, leap around or purr. This behaviour lasts about 15 minutes. Cats get the “rush” from smelling the product. There is talk that this behaviour is hereditary.
If you are growing it, there are some bonus’ for us as humans. It has a natural insect repellent against mosquitos, cockroaches and termites. It is as an air-borne repellent, now effect used on humans.
Written by: Lisa Clifford RVT, Practice Manager