What is catnip?

  • Nepeta cataria also know as catnip-it is a plant that contains a strong mint scent oil.
  • When crushed the scent is easily released into the air.

Is it safe?

  • It is a safe non-addictive herb.
  • People used to use the leaves in their tea to help with upset stomachs.
  • It does not affect people.
  • Honeysuckle plants may cause the same reaction in sensitive cats.

Effects in Cats

  • It is a mild feline hallucinogen that can last anywhere from 5-15 minutes.
  • It is non-toxic to cats.
  • Some say it resembles male feline urine, which may explain how some cats react to catnip – they might roll around in it, some cats may react as if they are in heat and with some meowing. Others might slobber.

Which cats does it affect?

  • Most cats will need to be at least 6 months of age, before they will react to catnip.
  • 1/3 of the cats might not react at all.
  • 1/3 of cats might react moderately.
  • 1/3 might react strongly.

How often should we give catnip?

  • It is suggested that you give one weekly.
  • If given too often the effect is not the same.

Written by Anne Huard, Clinic Manager