The Truth About Catnip For Cats

Internet is filled with memes of cats and catnip. In fact, memes and certain warnings. There’s also plenty of videos of cats being “under the influence” of the mighty catnip. Those tend to be funny, as well. But the qeustion that many people who are unfamiliar with this plant might ask is why is it being given to cats, what are it’s potential benefits and potential dangers. And, if you’re a cat owner, you might want to know if you should give your cat catnip. Well, hopefully this article called, The truth about catnip for cats, is going to help you to understand all of that and make the right decision.

What is Catnip?

First things first, what is catnip?

Catnip is a perennial herb from the mint family labiatae. It’s very similar to mint. The term catnip was coined because of how much cats tend to like this plant and it’s effects on them.

The active ingredient in catnip is nepetalactone. Nepetalactone is an essential oil which is psychoactive in cats. Most cats, to be exact, about two thirds of cats responds to catnip, whereas the other third doesn’t. Many kittens don’t when they’re young, but they do start to feel the psychoactive effects as they become older.

Brief History

Let’s discuss the history between humans, cats and cat nip. By the way, if you’d like to know about the history between humans and domesticated cats, here’s an article: Brief Cat And Human History.

There are mentions of catnip in the Ancient Egyptian empire, which is not surprising considering their lover of cats. There’s also evidence of ancient romans regarding catnip as a very beneficial plant and using it as a medicinal herb in various recipes. Catnip was also widely used during medieval times and was referred to as catmint or nep. It was used in various herbal medicinal mixtures, as well as an ingredient in food recipes. Catnip was introduced to America in the 18th century. There’s a recipe found in massachusetts dating back to 1712 that had catnip in it. After coming across, after it has been brought to America by Europeans, Native Americans also started using catnip in their recipes.

Also, throughout these human and catnip interraction periods, humans also often used to give catnip to cats, if they owned them.

Medicinal Benefits

Alright, now let’s talk about why people would want to give their cats catnip, in the first place.

  1. Helps to reduce anxiety of the cat.
  2. Elevates mood of the cat.
  3. Helps the cat to fall asleep.
  4. Helps to make sure that the cat is less violent and destructive.
  5. Also helps with cat’s indigestion.
  6. Helps to train the cat “potty” training and to play with certain toys by “strategically” placing the catnip.
A happy cat. Possibly on catnip.

Does Catnip Always Work?

It’s potential effects can be pretty interesting, but does it always work?

The answer is no. Apparently, whether it works or not and also how it works depends on the individual cat.

All cats have different genes and catnip has different effects on them. Some don’t respond at all (about 25%), especially kittens, most have the the standard effects described above, and some actually become more aggressive and restless.

Also, sometimes ingesting too much catnip can cause your cat to throw up. It rarely happens, because most cats “know when to stop”, but it does happen.

Where Can You Get It?

Alright, you have a cat and you’re interested if catnip could help him or her. What do you do?

Well, luckily, nowadays there’s a lot of different catnip sellers that are selling on both physical locations and on the internet. You can actually get catnip on If you’re interested here’s a link to various catnips that Amazon has to offer, as well as catnip toys: Amazon Catnip


Catnip is a very interesting herb which clearly has quite a few potential medicinal benefits for cats. It is true that not all cat respond to it or feel adverse effects as a result of it. That being said, most cat do receive positive benefits from catnip and, if you have a cat, you might concider trying to give it to your cat. Especially if you cat is experiencing certain issues that might be helped by catnip.

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