Thursday, June 20, 2024

Is Catnip Bad for Cats? Everything You Need to Know

Not at all. Cats are obsessed with catnip, catmint, field balm, catwort – call it whatever you like.

It is a weakness for cat families like lions, panthers, tigers, and even your little domesticated tabby.

They all adore the fragrance of this little charming herb. They seem not to get enough of catnip, you will find them rolling over the herb for sensation.

All cats are susceptible to a volatile oil found in the leaves and stems of catnip.

From our domesticated felines to wild tigers and lions all of them exhibit a common behavior of feeling high in the presence of catnip.

Cats respond to the catnip by rubbing their heads on the herb, jumping around or up and down and they vocalize or salivate in the presence of this herb.

Some may be mellow and calm, it depends on how your cat reacts to the herb. But sadly it only takes them around ten minutes before they become immune to the effects of the volatile oil found in catnip.

Nothing to lose if your feline friend is not responsive to catnip effects.

Response to catnip in cats is believed to be hereditary and 70 to 80 percent of cats exhibit the same behavior in the presence of catnip, the remaining percentage is irresponsive to catnip treatment.

Kittens do not feel the same effects as adults feel until they reach sexual maturity.

Catnip plants are members of the mint family that contain volatile oils, tannins, acids, and sterols and one of the volatile oils is causing cats to feel high or behave like the queens in the season.

The herb is native to Europe, Africa, and Asia but settlers brought the plant to North America, and are now all over in the gardens as weeds.

Catnips are not addictive to cats and are completely harmless so you have no course to worry when they feel high shortly.

How catnip works for cats

Nepetalactone, catnip’s volatile oil enters into the nasal tissue and binds to protein receptors known for stimulating sensory neurons.

These cells then provoke the response of neurons in the olfactory bulb. The olfactory bulb projects to the brain’s several regions which include the amygdala where the response to stimuli is mediated and the hypothalamus a master gland that regulates everything from emotions to hunger.

The amygdala integrates the information and projects to areas governing behavior response.

The hypothalamus regulates neuroendocrine responses creating a sexual response in cats. Thus the cat reacts to artificial pheromone.

Human brains are different psychologically from the cat’s brain, humans do not get high when they use catnips but can be used for uncontrollable cries by infants.

It is also used for sedatives in herbal tea.

Alternatively, catnip is used to reduce migraine headaches and relieve cramps, indigestion, anorexia, insomnia, and nervousness.

Also, its herbal paste reduces swellings associated with arthritis or soft tissue injuries.

Is it fine to treat your cat with catnip?

That is the question many cat parents have been pondering about for a long time.

Is it addictive in the first place because if we are nurturing a habit we shouldn’t even give it a shot? The goodness is catnip is not addictive and no one is nurturing a habit by occasionally treating their feline babies with catnip.

Cats only get high for at least ten minutes and it is over, so it isn’t any equivalent to cannabis if it ever crossed your mind.

As humans we are not equal to cats, they get high with a catnip treat but we don’t. Apart from the health benefits humans get, nothing much really!

If you are still quizzy about treating your cat with a little catnip, trust your conscience and give a fishy treat instead if you would like to try catnip, make sure you pay attention to your feline during the catnip session to take charge of Highness takes the full of her.

For some calmness may endue while others may become aggressively playful.

In either case, take charge of the dose of catnip, they aren’t likely to overdose but remember overindulgence is no good for your cat.

After all, it takes about 2 hours before they respond to catnip allure again.

Catnip is useful for training

Because cats can’t get enough of catnip, and they do respond to it, again and again, it provides a way to train them.

If clawing furniture is a menace, rub it with catnip to make it appealing to your cat.

If you gift her with a new bed, sprinkle the herbs to make them feel good while sleeping there and many other training possibilities for felines.

Do’s and don’ts of catnip

After a great fussy day, everyone wants to unwind.

Cats do get busy all day at home hunting up and down marking their territories and they deserve a treat too.

Luckily for cats, with catnip, it takes no more than 15 minutes to rock and roll.

Catnip doesn’t affect cats the same way, some become completely hyper while others drool and are eye-glazed.

Important to know that all cats react to catnip the same way. So when introducing your cat to a catnip treat, consider the following do’s and don’ts.


Only use catnip as an occasional treat for your cat, or as praise when your cat does something awesome.

Sprinkle catnip-dried leaves in places of interest where you would like your pawed friend to spend most of their time.

Give catnip treatment in small doses. It takes a little catnip smell in the air to stimulate your feline friend to the top.

And it takes about 15 minutes and they won’t feel the buzz about the catnip again until after some other 2 hours passes again.

Give them products laced with catnip because they will never disappoint. The instant attraction to the food or toys with catnip. If you want them to like anything, catnip is the secret.


If you know your cat is too aggressive, don’t treat them with catnip, they might cause trouble or damage. Avoid overdosing your cat with catnip treats.

Too much of catnip can make your cat cranky or nauseous. Not all cats have a buzz about catnip. If they are disinterested in catnip treats, don’t force them.

Serina Russow
Serina Russow
Hey there, I'm Serina, your friendly feline fanatic! As the proud founder of "Smart cat lovers," I'm on a mission to share my passion for all things cat-related. With years of experience in cat behavior and health, I'm here to provide expert advice on nurturing happy, healthy kitties. When I'm not tapping away on my keyboard, you'll find me curled up with my four adorable furballs: Whiskers, Luna, Billy, and Charlie.

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