Do Big Cats React to Catnip in the Same Way as Domesticated Cats? The Truth Revealed.


SIOUX FALLS, SOUTH DAKOTA – While most kids spent the day enjoying their Sunday away from school, two Harrisburg students spent entire days experimenting at the Great Plains Zoo.

Nick and Braxton are currently both 7th graders at Harrisburg South Middle School. They wanted to find out if tigers respond to catnip the same way our house cats do.

For the last few weeks the young zoologists took to monitoring Dhenuka’s behavior. Sunday, with the help of the Great Plains Zoo staff, they put catnip in four different places in the exhibit. Dhenuka was released and they closely watched her movement. Nick took notes while Braxton took note of the time.

Their conclusion?

“This tiger experiment was not exactly correct,” said Nick, “we knew they would try to find the scents, but we thought they would react like a normal cat and keep playing with it and notice it a lot more than they did.”

In other words, the big cats weren’t so impressed with the “wacky weed!”

Now that the data has been collected, they will have to put on a presentation to display their findings. If they manage to do well, Principal Darren Ellwein says they could present their projects to a large crowd in April.