What does catnip do to cats
January 19, 2023

What does catnip do to cats

Have you seen all these catnip products in different stores for a while now? Did you know thatā€™s for a reason? Most cats absolutely adore catnip, even preferring it over raw meat. Still, sometimes, this product doesn't bring any benefit to their health. We are here to inform you about the true features of catnip and tell you if it is as beneficial as the manufacturers of pet products claim.

What is catnip

The most loved flavor of all cats in the world is produced from a plant from the Lamiaceae family that grows throughout Europe, the Far East, Central and Southern Europe, Asia, India, Nepal, and Pakistan.

What does catnip do to cats?

The flavor of catnip can both enliven and soothe. Generally, the felines start salivating, rubbing the muzzle against the catnip item, trying to eat or lick it, rolling on the floor, and purring.

When eating this plantā€™s leaves, the felines become calmer and more loving, sleep better, and do not show aggression towards strangers. When inhaling these specific essential oils, the felines become more active, interested, and have a good mood. This effect lasts from 10 to 15 minutes. After that, the condition of the felines stabilizes, and they become calmer.

Why would a cat have no reaction to such products?

Catnip is not effective if:

  1. The animal has no sense of smell. Around 30% of adult cats don't recognize the smell of catnip because of the lack of receptors that perceive nepetalactone. This feature is transmitted to the felines through the parental line and remains with them throughout their lives.

  2. The pet hasn't yet reached puberty. Catnip has no effect on kittens under 6 months of age. Toddlers can feel it but remain absolutely unchanged by it.

What is the difference between catnip and valerian

The reaction of cats to catnip is almost identical to the effect of medicinal valerian root and can be like drug intoxication. However, unlike valerian, catnip is completely harmless. It does not result in addictiveness, doesn't lead to a hangover, and doesn't affect the functioning of internal organs.

Why offer catnip to a cat

Such products are ardently promoted by pet lovers, because of their positive effect on pet behavior, reinforcing the desirable skills of a cat and normalizing the microflora of their digestive tract.

These are some of the situations when you might need catnip:

  • Scratching post training

  • Litter box training

  • Sleep training

  • Consolidation of sleep

  • Boosting physical activity

  • Improving appetite

  • Teeth cleaning

  • Prevention of helminthiasis

  • Stress management

  • Normalization of the digestive tract

  • Repelling blood-sucking parasites

Forms of catnip products

Such products can be found in the form of food additives, canned food, sprays, toys, chew sticks, dried crushed leaf sachets, and sprouting seeds.

The choice of product depends on the purpose of use. The important thing is to check the expiration date and strictly follow the dosage indications on the product packaging.


The administration of catnip is contraindicated in five cases:

  1. Pregnancy

  2. The active phase of sexual hunting

  3. Hyperexcitability

  4. Weak stomach

  5. Issues linked to the nervous system