Catnip and Cats

Catnip And Cats – Everything You Need To Know

What Is Catnip

Catnip is a perennial herb which is a member of the mint family, and it can often grow up to three feet high. Some have referred to it as “catmint”. The chemical that cats react to in the plant is called nepetalactone. It is found in the leaves and the stems. This plant also gives off a very distinctive odor.

Catnip And Cats According To The Experts

Catnip and Cats
Kali-Ma and Catnip

Cats react to catnip after an oil the plant interacts with the nasal tissue in the cat. Once the catnip has been consumed, it begins to replicate pheromones that create feline receptors or a “high”. The catnip high is said to only last for 10 minutes or less, and it takes another thirty minutes before your cat’s catnip sensors are reset. Not all cats react to catnip. Statistically, only about 50%. If your cat does have the sensitivity to the plant, it will not show up until it is at least six months or older, as kittens are not affected by it.

Catnip And Cats
Kali-Ma And Catnip

According to experts, depending on how your cat consumes the catnip will determine what reaction it provokes. If your cat eats the catnip, it acts as a sedative and will likely cause the cat to have a nice nap. On the other hand, if your cat prefers to sniff, smell, rub and roll around in it, then your cat will probably act “crazy” and become hyperactive. If cats are exposed too frequently to catnip, then they may lose their response to it. Once every two or three weeks is the recommended frequency to prevent this from happening.

Catnip And Cats According To Kali-Ma

I give Kali-Ma catnip every other weekend about an hour before we go to the nursing home for our cat therapy. You can read more about that here The Rewards of Cat Therapy  In my personal experience I have found that organic catnip buds are the best product for us. Because the buds are still on the stem, I can remove them and the catnip easily crushes in my hand. This catnip stays fresher, and is more pungent, than any other catnip I have tried. I give this to Kali-Ma about an hour before we leave and she rolls around and plays in it. She never eats it. Kali-Ma is totally relaxed by the time we get to the nursing home. 

These behavioral results completely contradict what the internet experts say, which is why I believe all cats react differently to catnip. Personally, I have found the effects to last longer and the reaction to be completely different from what the consensus of numerous other articles on the internet state. The only point I would agree with is that if you give catnip to your cat too often it will be like Christmas morning every day and the novelty will wear off. More than every other week or so is too much in my experience. This is what has worked for my cat. Then again, your cat may be different.

Catnip And Your Cat

Kali-Ma And Catnip
Kali-Ma And Catnip

I use catnip buds and sprays for a specific purpose. The spray I often use to bring life back to Kali-Ma’s old toys that I can no longer purchase anymore as they are out of date. The buds I use to relax her before cat therapy. I believe catnip is a choice for each individual pet parent.  Catnip and its effects clearly vary depending on the cat and catnip.

If you want to see how catnip affects your cat, try giving your cat a tiny amount and see what happens. You may be in the 50% that it has no effect on at all. What everyone can agree on is that catnip is safe for cats, so if you do try it in moderation your cat will be just fine.

Until next time….Happy Tails to you!

About Author

Gloria Tripp

Owner of Tails of Kali-Ma LLC where I blog about the tales of Kali-Ma the therapy cat. These tales include cat care tips, cat stories, and cat life lessons based on my life with Kali-Ma as part of a cat therapy team. I am a registered therapy animal owner, freelance copywriter, aspiring author, and lover of everything cats!


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