Where is cat nip native to? Cats have long been associated with catnip, a highly attractive and irresistible herb to felines across the globe.
But where does this magical substance come from and how did it become so popular with cats?
Catnip (Nepeta cataria) is a flowering plant from the mint family that contains nepetalactone – an oil that affects cats’ behavior when encountered through smell or taste.
This oil acts as an attractant for cats and triggers an uncontrollable desire in them to rub their face on the dried leaves, play with the plant, chew on it, and even roll around on it.
Catnip is native to Europe, Africa, and parts of Asia but can now be found almost everywhere in the world due to its popularity among humans as well as cats.
In this article, we will explore where catnip is originally from, what makes it so attractive to cats, and how you can grow your own cat-approved catnip plants!
Where is Cat Nip Native to?
Catnip (Nepeta cataria), also known by other names such as catswort and catmint, is a perennial herb belonging to the mint family.
It is one of the most popular herbs among natural remedies for cats, but do you know where it comes from? Let’s take a closer look at this fascinating plant and discover where it originated.
Catnip Originates In Europe And Northern Africa
Native to Europe and northern Africa, catnip has been around in these regions for many centuries and was recorded as early as 1000 B. C. The exact origin of catnip remains unknown but its earliest use dates back to Ancient Egypt.
The herb spread throughout Europe during the Middle Ages and eventually made its way to North America with early settlers in the 1800s.
This is when the popularity of catnip really took off and it soon become a favorite amongst both cats and humans alike.
How Did Cat Nip Get Its Name?
Catnip might be more widely known today due to its effect on domesticated cats, but the Latin translation of its scientific moniker – Nepeta cataria – is actually thought to derive from nymphet or cat’s water – referring to its aphrodisiac properties and not necessarily its ode to felines themselves! Nonetheless, it was documented as far back as AD 600 by Islamic scientists whose literature mentioned a substance that tranquilized caracals and lions — leading many historians to conclude that early uses included medicinal and magical applications for humans as well!
Catnip Travels To North America
In addition to being found in Europe and North Africa, catnip can now be found growing wild throughout much of North America.
It can grow in many climates from cold mountainous hillsides all the way down to deserts if water is available.
The plant even produces blooms in an array of colors including white, pink, purple or blue depending on growing conditions.
Wild Cat Owners Use Catnip As Medicine
In recent years, pet owners have started using fresh or dried catnip as a form of medicinal treatment for their cats (and sometimes themselves!).
A range of benefits have been claimed but research into this area has been minimal so it’s difficult to draw conclusions about its real effects on health.
Nonetheless, there are some compelling anecdotal evidence that point toward certain mild medicinal qualities that might be worth investigating further in future studies.
Catnip is a fascinating herb with origins tracing back many centuries ago when ancient civilizations used it primarily for medicinal purposes rather than fun activities for their feline friends! Today, you can find catnip natively growing wild across many parts Europe, northern Africa and North America – providing plenty of opportunity for kitty entertainment!