Many folks probably wonder why cats (well, some cats) love catnip so much. But while whatever chemical reactions occur within the feline body to account for the "catnip high" are of interest, I'm much more drawn to pondering why it is that we humans so enjoy giving catnip to cats and watching the resulting antics.
I think it's because cats are more reserved by nature than that other favorite family pet, the dog. It's an endearing trait in canines that they are so eager to engage in play with us; catnip gives us a way to "cheat" and render cats temporarily less reserved, more playful.
Not that cats can't be trained to play. If you put the time and effort into it, you can habituate a cat to become somewhat more dog-like (at least as regards a willingness to play games). But this is very much a case of getting out of something what you put into it. Don't think that you can ignore a cat for weeks and that -- just because you decide all of a sudden one day that you'd like to play with the cat -- your feline will be responsive. It doesn't work that way.
The answer to the question, Are "catmint plants" and "catnip" different? is one of those dreaded yes-and-no answers. They're not exactly the same, but there's overlap between the two terms, as I explain in this article.
Read article: The Difference Between Catmint and Catnip
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