The Do’s And Don’ts Of Catnip

Everyone needs some time to unwind, whether it’s kicking back and relaxing or another way of destressing. A small treat after a long day is something that’s well deserved, and arguably, sometimes necessary. Plus, a reward is something to look forward to at the end of a full day of running a household. While you’re at work, your cat spends those eight hours establishing her dominance as the queen of the house, hunting down pests and marking her favourite areas of the home as her territory. Your feline friend deserves a treat too.

For the majority of cats, nothing is better than some time with fresh catnip or playing with a fun toy infused with catnip. Since catnip is a herb containing an essential oil, nepetalactone, this oil causes euphoric feelings in cats and makes them go crazy. There’s no need to worry about harming your kitty though, as catnip is considered safe and non-addictive, so you can sit back with a peace of mind and watch her enjoy it!

When giving your cat the good stuff, make sure you consider the do’s and don’ts below so she can get the most out of it.

Cat peering out from tree


The Do’s Of Catnip

Give it in small doses: domestic cats have a sense of smell about 20 times stronger than what we can sense as humans! Because their sense of smell is so strong, it’s estimated cats can smell catnip at a 1:1 billion ratio of catnip in the air. And, it doesn’t take a lot to stimulate the senses of felines. So, just keep in mind a little catnip goes a long way! If you’re feeding more than one cat, be sure to provide enough for your feline friends. The more, the merrier, but by ensuring there’s enough to go around, this will prevent any competition and ensure all the herb won’t go to just one kitty!

Products that contain catnip: there are many different cat products with catnip built in available on the market. Products like scratching posts, cat towers, and toys of all sorts (like this Dynos crinkle toy) are often pre-treated with catnip. Usually, the product states if catnip is built right into it. But, in times of doubt, simply give the product a sniff and determine whether or not the product contains catnip yourself! These cat products are a great way to provide instant interest from kitties. Some products, like nylon string balls filled with catnip, are great individual toys to make cats go wild with the ball’s bounces as they swat them across the floor.

Cats playing with toy

Use catnip as a treat: cats need a treat every now and then too, and catnip makes a fun and healthy one. Some caregivers even use catnip as a reward to praise good behaviour! Simply take some catnip out of the bag, then sprinkle the leaves in spots you want your kitty to be interested in. If you have catnip liquid, spray some on your feline’s favourite toy! They’ll not only love playing with it, but enjoy taking in the scents of the plant that’s spritzed right on the toy. Kitties who possess the genetic receptors to react to ‘nip are instantly drawn to the smell. They take pleasure in the feeling it gives them and become excited at the first whiff!


The Don’ts Of Catnip

Too much catnip: we all know that sometimes, too much of a good thing is bad for you. This saying applies perfectly to catnip. If you give your kitty too much catnip, this can be bad. Although ‘nip is stimulating and can be super fun to relax with, too much exposure to the herb can actually make your cat nauseous or turn her into a cranky kitty. However, please know cats can’t overdose on catnip from inhaling the plant. It’s non-toxic (even when it’s consumed), so even if your feline friend looks like she’s had too much, just take the catnip away or the toy containing the ‘nip in it. Your kitty will be back to herself in no time!

Avoid giving aggressive cats catnip: just like people, cats differ by personality too. Some are kind kitties, while others can be straight up bullies. These felines are the ones that attract trouble. They often find themselves in conflict with other furry friends around the house. If you give catnip to these cats, it’s likely that they won’t get any nicer. In fact, providing the plant to these aggressive cats can make them more aggressive and even grumpy. According to Jackson Galaxy, a cat behaviorist and host of the television show called My Cat From Hell, the inhibitions of these cats drop during this window of intoxication and so they feel like they can get away with anything. So, you’re better off not bringing out the ‘nip if your kitty is on the aggressive side.

Aggressive cat

Not every cat will be interested: since the determination of whether or not a cat will react to catnip is hereditary, this means not all felines are attracted to the plant. Approximately 20% of cats do not react to the herb. In addition, if you have a kitten under eight weeks old, or an older cat, she may not respond as strongly, or at all, to catnip. Before you go out of your way and spend on catnip-infused products, test to see if your feline friend is attracted to ‘nip. Pour some out and look for signs of joy and happiness from your cat!



Products infused with catnip can take playtime to another level of fun. We suggest keeping these do’s and don’ts in mind so your cat has the best experience possible with catnip!


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Thank you. You have answered all my questions about catnip with these articles.

Charlene Bartlett on Jul 24, 2020

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