We all love cats on catnip, but we’ve never seen them photographed in such a striking way before. Cat photographer Andrew Marttila has created a visually stunning picture book titled Cats on Catnip ($14.40, Amazon) — and both the beauty and hilarity of his photos are equally impressive.
If you own a kitty at home, you might be familiar with the wonderful source of entertainment that comes with catnip. Also known as Nepeta cataria, catnip is a plant that belongs to the mint family. Cats are attracted to the compounds in this perennial herb — and this attraction often drastically alters their behavior. While this is always enjoyable to watch, it's even funnier when a cat's facial expressions are captured on camera — ideally at the exact moment when the catnip effect takes hold.
(Photo Credit: Andrew Marttila)
Different cats have different responses to catnip. While some shake their heads and rub their cheeks, others widen their eyes into an adorably stunned expression. Other felines don’t respond to catnip at all — it’s all determined by the specific cat’s genetics.
Marttila, who has worked as a professional pet photographer for the past five years, has seen quite a variety of catnip reactions. Armed with the best camera equipment, loads of cat-friendly herbs, and a talent for capturing snapshots, Marttila has made quite a name for himself with his cat portraits on his Instagram page @iamthecatphotographer and on his website. But we think his new book might just be his best work yet — and the perfect addition to any coffee table in need of a funny picture book.
Considering that cats have a reputation for being aloof and graceful most of the time, catnip is certainly comedy gold subject material.
"Catnip releases something primordial in cats," Marttila explains in his book. "Carefree and unconstrained, they are free to be silly, exceptionally playful, and downright gnarly... In the blink of an eye, a cat’s expression transforms from bored to inquisitive to playful to curious to bizarre… to utterly unhinged."
See some of the most adorable cats reacting to catnip in Marttila's collection below: