Cat Tips

Why Do Cats Love Catnip?

What is the Reason Cats Love Catnip?

Cats are well-known for being high-maintenance pets. As a result, cat owners go above and beyond to ensure that their cats are well cared for. One common addition cat owners make to their pets' lives, is to purchase catnip for their cat to enjoy.

Many plants have active medicinal properties and can be given to cats to help with anything from stress relief and digestion to immune system function and inflammation. One of those herbs is Catnip.

Catnip is a plant that is soothing to cats. It can cause cats, (jungle cats or housecats) to experience a feeling of euphoria. Research has found that not all cats react to the herb, but that certain cats are more prone to do so.

Your cat's reaction to catnip is as unique as she is, from dashing about the house to wallowing in the flowery aroma. Your fluffy companion may enjoy it or be uninterested in the plant. Knowing how catnip works will help you better understand your kitty partner and will provide you with a safe, entertaining way to brighten their day.

As a result, in this post, we'll go over all you need to know about catnip and how it influences cats.

What Exactly Is Catnip?

Catnip's scientific name is Nepeta Cataria. Catnip is a plant of the mint family, therefore it is related to peppermint and spearmint. Catnip was originally produced in Asia and Europe, but it is currently farmed all over the world. This plant is attractive to many felines, whether it is in a home garden or growing wild beside rural roads.

While you can grow catnip yourself and feed it to your pet fresh, most commercial catnip is dried and crushed. Because fresh catnip is more effective than dried catnip, you would need to use less of the fresh catnip to have the same effect.

What Is the Effect of Catnip?

Catnip creates nepetalactone, an organic molecule that enters the cat's system via their nasal passages. Nepetalactone is located in minute bulbs in the catnip plant's leaves, stems, and pods, and the substance is released when the plant is crushed or bitten. A cat stroking against fresh or dry plant parts might also emit nepetalactone.

When your cat inhales nepetalactone, the molecules bond to olfactory cells in her nose, sending a signal to her brain and causing a change in her behavior.

How Do Cats React to Catnip?

Catnip's effects on cats are poorly understood, but there is much discussion about them. While some say catnip creates bliss, others claim it causes cats to hallucinate. Still, others claim it has a calming effect on them. The release of nepetalactone causes a euphoric feeling in your cat as they interact with the herb. Scientists aren't sure why this happens, but many believe cats respond to nepetalactone as if it were a pheromone.

How Long Do Catnip's Effects Last?

Catnip's benefits endure for a short time, whether your cat gets unusually lively or rests in a patch of catnip. Most cats resume normal behavior within a half hour, and many only feel the effects for 5 to 10 minutes. After calming down, cats become temporarily immune to the effects. So giving your cat more catnip will not result in the same unusual cat behavior.

Is Catnip Effective on All Cats?

Catnip does not affect all cats. About 30% of domestic house cats exhibit no response at all. Adult cats respond more intensely than kittens and geriatric cats. Young kittens generally have no response at all. Kittens do not respond to catnip until they are 3 to 6 months old.

Whether or not a cat will react to catnip appears to be hereditary, implying that an apparent tolerance to the effects might be handed down through generations.

Catnip does affect other kinds of cats. This sumptuous feline-attracting plant has been reported to affect lions and tigers as well as domesticated cats.

Is Catnip Addictive to Cats?

It's safe to assume that catnip gets cats high. The effects, however, are mild. Most of the effects of catnip (such as exhilaration and mewing) are comparable to the effects of alcohol.

Should You Give Your Cat Catnip?

You can feed catnip to your cat. We recommend fresh catnip over dried catnip to help guarantee that your cat is not exposed to other chemicals or other substances that come from processing the catnip.

If you want your cat to appreciate catnip, offer it to them when they have nothing else to do. You should also make sure that you only give them catnip once in a while to avoid them becoming desensitized to it.

How Do You Give Catnip to Your Cat?

You may rub catnip on a cat toy to encourage your feline buddy to play more actively. There are also catnip toys with a pocket inside where you may insert fresh catnip before starting a play session. Making your pet more active with catnip is an excellent approach to help manage a cat's weight or to help your overweight pet shed weight.

Catnip on a scratching post draws your cat's attention and encourages her to scratch there rather than on your furnishings. Catnip-flavored cat treats are an excellent reward or training tool for your energetic feline buddy.

Is Catnip Harmful to Humans?

Humans do not react to catnip in the same manner as cats do, but the plant is frequently used as an alternative cure for headaches, sleeplessness, and arthritis. Catnip may also be used as a natural insect repellent, albeit it is not as long-lasting or as efficient as standard mosquito repellents.

Which other herbs are beneficial to cats?

  • Witch Hazel

  • Licorice Root

  • Dandelion Roots

  • Calendula help

  • Marshmallow Root

Which Herbs are toxic to Cats?

You can click here to learn more about herbs for cats.


Catnip makes cats high, but it's nothing to be concerned about. Giving your cat catnip is harmless as long as you use it sparingly. You should, however, ensure that the catnip you provide to your cat is fresh. To make things easier, consult a vet before giving your cat catnip.


The information presented in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute or substitute for the advice of your veterinarian.

Follow us on Instagram

Follow us everywhere else: