Catnip & Mosquitoes

catnip and cats

Any cat owner knows the basics behind catnip – it helps relieve your cat’s stress and relax more, and puts them in a state of euphoria similar to the effects of drugs like marijuana does to humans. Both house cats and big cats in nature have been known to enjoy ingesting and rubbing themselves on this plant, which is closely related to the dangerous and even fatal (to cats) herb mint leaf. Catnip, while it does not put the cat in any danger, has other good side effects to its use: warding off mosquitoes. 

Catnip, or scientifically known as Nepeta Cataria, is related to mint and lemon balm, and according to InterestingFacts is also known for warding off mosquitos. The chemical nepetalactone, when crushed up, works incredibly well at keeping away blood-sucking and disease-carrying mosquitoes. This also can be helpful when cats rub themselves on the plants, inadvertently attaching it to their coat and guarding themselves from possibly getting infected with whatever these bugs are carrying. This plant doesn’t only repel mosquitoes by the scent, as some had believed, either. 

What Does Catnip Do To Mosquitoes?

According to studies done with nepetalactone, the scent is not what repels mosquitoes from the animal. This chemical apparently causes itchiness or burning like spicy food does to humans, making it effective in keeping the flying pests off of your cat’s body. While for humans, many of us enjoy the sensation brought on by spicy foods, most animals do not and will actively avoid it. This means that while your cat is getting euphoric, mosquitoes will be getting away as quickly as they can. This is a great tool for people too when there is no mosquito repellent nearby since just rubbing it on your skin will make you safer from mosquitoes while also being one of the best things for a cat. 

While just like any substance, giving your cat catnip frequently can reduce how effective the plant’s chemical is to them, large amounts are also not the best idea. That said, the effects of catnip on mosquitoes does not change over time and will continue to hurt them enough to keep them from trying to get their lunch out of you and your furry friends. While there is no way to be sure it will affect your cat, as about half of them lack any response to the chemical and most kittens don’t develop a response until they are already half a year old, it is still a fun tool to use for your cat and also a 100% natural mosquito repellant for those who have allergies to manmade repellents.

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