Cats’ hilarious reactions to catnip have been an Internet favorite for quite some time, but one Reddit user had to share something even bigger. Enter the almighty jaguar.
In the 40-second video posted by u/hmuberto on the thread r/BigCatGifts, you can see a woman spraying what appears to be liquid catnip onto a wooden structure on which a jaguar is lying. She gives about five quick sprays while the big cat looks on, then backs up to let the animal get a good sniff.
The jaguar, whose name and gender is unknown, sniffs around for a few seconds, then sits up briefly and opens its mouth. This reaction looks like something between “phew, that’s stinky” and “oh my gosh this stuff is great”, which is probably exactly what was going through this fur baby’s mind. (More on that below — keep reading!) You can hear its handler ask “stinky?” as the jaguar reacts, then goes right on back to sniffing.
After about ten seconds of very focused sniffing, the big cat simply flops onto its side in an attempt to catch the scent. The last few moments of this sweet clip—which was originally filmed and uploaded by big cat advocate Safari Sammie— show the big kitty happily rubbing its head all over the area covered with catnip — something you’ve likely seen your pet doing at home. It’s no wonder why these big felines seem so much like cats, only bigger.
Interacting with big cats
As adorable as this jaguar’s reaction may be, there are many other reactions to consider — the ones in the comments! On YouTube, where the clip was originally posted, every comment was an observation about how beautiful the feline is. On Reddit, though, folks found the jaguar a bit more cute, cuddly, and deadly.
“Jaguar fur look like it would be the absolute softest thing I’ve ever touched in my life”, noted u/LighTMan913. While we (and many upvoters) absolutely agree, u/marcred5 chimed in with an excellent point: “Absolute last softest thing you’ll ever touch in your life”.
This user brings up an excellent point. While scientists have found that jaguars react to catnip in the same way house cats do — AKA by being absolutely adorable — the way to safely interact with them couldn’t be more different. After all, jaguars are wild animals, even when used to a domestic setting. Other Reddit comments, like u/FXander, expressed similar concerns, stating, “It might be just me but getting a four-legged death machine high whilst inside its enclosure doesn’t seem wise.”
What is catnip?
Whether packaged in solid, liquid, or even edible forms, catnip comes from a plant of the same name. It’s part of the mint family and can have a fresh, minty smell to it, though cats react mostly to Nepetalactone, catnip’s essential oil. According to the Humane Society of the United States, catnip sensitivity is a genetic trait that cats inherit from their parents — only about 50 percent of cats respond to this plant.
Though catnip doesn’t get an animal “high” in the way u/FXander may have meant, it definitely does have an impact on the feline brain. The Humane Society explains that, when cats are exposed to catnip, they can often respond by “rolling, flipping, rubbing, and eventually zoning out” for about ten minutes. Sometimes, cats will vocalize too, emitting a sound somewhere between a meow and growl.
The Humane Society also notes that some cats react differently to the plant, so aggression and hyperactivity is also a possibility. On this note, concerned Redditors are definitely onto something. Though Safari Sammie’s videos show her frequent, positive interactions with big cats, it’s not impossible for something to go very wrong when in such close proximity to a wild animal.
If you want to work with big cats, there is a lot of education you can seek out in order to keep your interactions as safe as possible. According to her TikTok and Instagram profiles, Safari Sammie is a professional zookeeper who studied at the University of Florida—she’s done her research, too! Though some Internet searching is no replacement for a degree and professional experience, it’s a great place to start if you’re interested in interacting with these gorgeous creatures.
In the meantime, why not treat your pet to a happy high of their own? Whether sneaking a snack to your dog or letting your kitty get into some catnip, you don’t need to look as far as the Internet to see some adorable animals. Although let’s admit—animal videos will never get old.