What you need to know about catnip

Catnip is a multifunctional herb found in the same family as mint. Some people grow catnip in their garden along with other kitchen herbs such as thyme and sage, while others will brew it to make tea. Catnip is also commonly known to make your cats go crazy and be full of joy!

Many cat owners enjoy seeing their cats feel the effects of catnip but don’t know what the herb actually does. The main ingredient in catnip is nepetalactone, which causes behavioural changes in cats. 70% of cats exposed to catnip will feel its effects. It is found that young kittens and senior cats will not show much response to being exposed to catnip. The herb can be found dried in varieties of cat toys. For the cats that do react to catnip, the responses can include rolling, rubbing, drooling, licking, jumping and sedation. Cats will usually feel the effects of catnip for around ten minutes, and then it will wear off. After the effects wear off cats will need to wait around two hours before being able to feel the effects of catnip again.

While it is entertaining to watch cats feel the effects of catnip, it is also very useful when it comes to training. It can be rubbed on scratching posts to encouraging the scratching of the post (and not your furniture) or rubbed on a cat bed to attract your cats to that specific sleeping spot. Catnip can also encourage playful aggression in cats. If your cat already experiences aggression, it is recommended not to give your cats catnip.

A common question many cat owners have is “is catnip safe for my cat”? Catnip is both safe and non-addictive to your cats. While excessive consumption of catnip can lead to diarrhea and vomiting, those symptoms will pass. Catnip is otherwise safe and lets you cats have a fun time full of euphoria!

Kelsie Keith, ACA