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Catnip and Cats: What Is Catnip and Why Do Cats Go Crazy for It?

Catnip, which goes by various nicknames, like field balm, catmint, and catwort, never fails to grab the attention of any cats. And not only the cats that we find in our neighborhood but also other carnivores like panthers, lions, and tigers are all great fans of this plant. Reasons for that could be the unique fragrance that this herb emanates into the atmosphere. Thus, consuming this plant is indefinitely in the genetics of our felines. That means we can say that felines might have not only developed fondness but are also immune to this plant. Many cat lovers and parents have a lot of questions regarding this herb. But ‘what does catnip do cat?’ will be among those other questions.

What is Catnip?

Catnip is a plant belonging to the mint family grown all over North America. Whether your cat smells or eats it, they go wild for a while( at most 10 minutes) as if they were someone else. This raises the question of what catnip is. Is it harmful to cats? If it is safe, should it be given to kittens? How often should I feed my cat with it? What do I do if my cat doesn’t like catnip? Is catnip bad for cats? Well, don’t worry. We got all your questions covered in the below sections.

What does Catnip do to Cats?

Catnip plant can make cats go crazy for a short burst of time. A wide variety of these animals become energetic and pounce around just from smelling it. The reason could be this herb acts like an addictive plant and produces increased adrenaline in felines. But all that happens only by smelling it. And when felines eat it, the effect is the exact opposite. They become melodramatic and zone out as if no one is around. In contrast, some of these fuzzy creatures don’t even wince, whether they smell it or eat it.

Can Kittens Have Catnips?

Yes, kittens can eat or smell catnips. This fragrant plant does not harm kittens in any form. However, kittens aren’t susceptible to the effect of catnip from the get-go. They have to be a year old for catnips to work on them. Also, a thing to keep in mind is that you should not overfeed your kitten with catnip. Give it to them in moderation.

All about Cats and Catnip

Why do cats like catnip? Well, to begin with, catnip has a nepetalactone compound present in it. When this compound enters a feline’s body, it makes them go into a state of euphoria. So, can cats eat catnip? Well, of course yes. It is completely harmless and just makes a cat go into a new world for a while. This is why they tend to fancy catnip after just having it once. However, they become immune to it for 2 or 3 hours after being exposed to it.

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However, there may be cases that might be different, where cats may not show interest in this plant. So, what if my cat hates catnips? It is not that your cat will hate catnips. It will not get the same level of arousal as other felines experience. Although it is not uncommon either, over half of the kitties show no reaction to catnips. So, if your cats don’t show any change in behavior after coming in contact for the first time, they will never do in the future. So, don’t bother.

When Should I Give Catnips?

Giving catnips at any point in their age has no negative effects on their body in any form whatsoever. But, the younger the cat is, the less likely it is to show any behavioral change when coming in contact with it. So, choose the age accordingly. Besides, a cat who is at least 6 months old will show any response to catnip, but not less than that age.

Tips for Feeding Catnip to Cats

Here are some great tips that will help any cat parent in feeding catnip to their feline friends:

  • It is better to let your cat smell catnip while feeding them. As discussed earlier, cats have a different effect when they eat or smell them.
  • There are many forms that catnips come in. You can give it to your cat in powdered form by adding it to their food or putting some of it on cat toys.
  • Or you can grow catnip at home and let your cat take it directly.
  • There are also catnip bubbles that are a good alternative for cats that get an upset stomach easily for chewing this plant.


At what age should I give catnip to my cat?

You should give catnips to your cat when it is at least 6 months of age. Cats develop physiologically to react to it, and it is not something their body reacts to from birth.

How often should I give catnip to my cat?

Vets recommend people give catnip twice or thrice a day to their cat. Additionally, they can do so when their pets are having meals or around this plant. Besides, catnips have no effect on cats for an hour once they have been consumed.

Is catnip safe for cats?

Catnip is completely safe for cats. They can have diarrhea or vomiting if they overdose on it. But it is not a serious concern, and kitties can easily recover from it.


Catnips add a quality of life to your cat and even let them have a little burst of ecstasy that is rather uncommon in cats that do not consume it. Regardless, what does catnip do to cats? The way this herb affects cats may make it look like they are drugged by it, and it will affect their health in the long run. But it is far from the truth, as catnips are a healthy additive to your cat’s life. So happily include catnip in your feline’s lifestyle but first, make sure that it likes it.