Let’s discuss one of our feline friends’ secret pleasures: catnip! You know, that green stuff that turns your cat into a playful maniac or a zen master in a matter of minutes. It’s like magic but for cats! In this blog post, we’ll dive into the wild world of catnip – what it is, what it does to our kitties wether they are indoor cats, outdoor cats, young kittens, or old-timers, how to use it without going overboard, and even how to grow your own catnip patch for endless kitty entertainment.

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What is Catnip and how to use Catnip?

So, catnip is basically like the cat version of ecstasy. It’s a member of the mint family with a fancy scientific name – Nepeta cataria. In its natural form, catnip appears as a green, leafy plant with small, white flowers. However, it’s more commonly found in the market in dried, ground, or spray forms.  But forget the science mumbo-jumbo! All you need to know is that it has this groovy essential oil called nepetalactone which causes the effects of Catnip that makes your feline friend go bonkers.

Catnip is used primarily as a stimulant and sedative for cats. When inhaled or ingested, catnip can produce a range of responses, from euphoria to relaxation. It can serve as an excellent training tool, encourage exercise, or simply provide entertainment for your feline companions. Catnip is sold in most pet shops or you can grow it yourself.

Cat relaxing in a garden by a rock

What does catnip do to cats? Is Catnip a Drug?

Now, as cat owners, I’m sure you’ve seen it in action as I have. You whip out the catnip, and your cat’s eyes light up like they’ve found the kitty version of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. Even though Catnip is not a drug in the conventional sense, it seems to get cats high and definitely has an effect on the cat’s brain.

However, the reaction to catnip varies between individual cats, as not all cats are equally affected. The most typical response involves sniffing, licking, or chewing the catnip, followed by behaviors like rolling, rubbing, and playing. Some cats become highly active and playful, while others may appear more mellow and relaxed.

The effects usually last for about 10-15 minutes, after which the cat becomes temporarily immune to the herb’s allure for around 30 minutes to a few hours. Additionally, young kittens less than 6 months of age and older cats are less likely to respond to catnip compared to adult cats.

Is catnip safe for cats? Can cats overdose on Catnip?

Okay, you might be wondering if you’re turning your cat into a catnip junkie and how much Catnip is too much? Don’t worry, it’s all good! Catnip is generally safe and non-addictive for our feline buddies. Good thing because I realized that I have become a drug dealer for the neighborhood cats! I have Catnip in my garden and I see cats come in the yard all the time and help themselves. LOL

But here’s the scoop: too much of a good thing can give your cat a tummy ache and can make your cat immune to its charm. Just give them a small amount, like a pinch, of the fresh catnip leaves or dried stuff, or give them a Catnip treat or Catnip toys to play with.  It is unlikely that your cat will overdose on Catnip because they have a keen sense as to when they have had enough. So, keep it as an occasional treat, and you’ll have a lifelong source of kitty entertainment.

cat on a shelf behind a plant

Are there any side effects of Catnip on Cats?

There are a few negative side effects of Catnip.  Some cats may exhibit excessive excitement or hyperactivity after exposure to catnip, which might lead to temporary behavior changes. On the other hand, a small percentage of cats may experience a sedative effect and become more mellow and relaxed. It depends on the individual cat. In rare cases, cats who consume excessive amounts of catnip can lead to mild stomach upset, vomiting, or diarrhea. But, just like I mentioned above, giving them Catnip as a treat should keep these side effects at bay.

How to Give Cats Catnip!

Alright, enough talk, Let’s get to the fun part! There are a variety of ways to unleash the power of catnip on your furry friend.

A. Dried Catnip: This is a great way to give your cat catnip.  Just get some dried catnip from the pet store and sprinkle it on your cat’s favorite toys, scratching posts, or just on the floor. Sit back and watch the show because they love the smell of catnip!

B. Cat Toys: Treat your furry buddy to some ready-made catnip-filled toys available in most pet stores. It’s like giving them a surprise party every day!

C. Catnip Spray: Give a little spritz of catnip spray on anything you want your cat to go nuts over. You can turn regular old toys into catnip-laced toys. It’s like a magnet for kitties.

D. DIY Catnip Magic: Feeling crafty? Make your own catnip sachets by sewing dried catnip into soft fabrics. Your cat will thank you with endless purrs.

Get Your Green Thumb On – How to Grow Catnip.

How cool would it be to have a catnip garden in your backyard or windowsill? Growing catnip is a piece of cake, even if you’re not exactly a green-thumb guru:

a. Sunny Spot: Catnip loves soaking up the sun, so plant a few fresh catnip plants in a sunny spot in your garden or on a bright windowsill in the early spring.

b. Planting 101: Grab some catnip seeds or small plants and follow the simple instructions on the packet or tag. Easy peasy! It is a perennial herb that will come back for years and grow and spread rapidly.

c. Water Time: Keep the soil moist, but don’t drown it. Cats hate soggy paws, and so does catnip.

d. Dry and Store: Once your catnip grows into a lush wonderland, harvest some leaves and flowers, let them dry, and place them in an airtight container. Store it in a cool, dry place, and you’re all set for kitty adventures!


You might like this…

Learn all about growing, drying, and storing Catnip with my post. Click to read more…https://www.ourrepurposedhome.com/diy-catnip-how-to-grow-dry-and-store/


So, there you have it, everything you need to know about catnip – the cat’s meow of herbs! With this magical green stuff, you can unleash your cat’s playful side or help it find its inner Zen master. Just remember, keep it in moderation, and your furry buddy will have a blast every time you whip out the catnip stash. And hey, if you’re feeling extra fancy, grow some catnip of your own for an endless supply of kitty fun!

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