Catnip FAQs

What is Catnip?

A member of the mint family, Catnip, Nepeta cataria is a perennial herb that is sometimes referred to as ‘Catmint.’ The plant blooms from late Spring through Autumn with pink or lavender flowers.

Why do cats love catnip?

Catnip contains a natural substance, called Nepetalactone, which triggers a euphoric, mood enhancing response in the brain that is temporary, usually lasting about 10 to 15 minutes. For most cats, catnip also stimulates exercise and appetite, and can soothe or relax an anxious cat.

Is Catnip safe?

Yes. Experts say that catnip is not toxic or addictive in any amount. Cats who respond to catnip will often chew on or eat the leaves, which is why the fresh plant is safer and more appealing than the dried option, which can be prickly.

Do all cats respond to catnip?

Studies have shown that a small percentage of cats may not react to catnip because they do not carry an inherited “catnip gene,” which becomes active when a kitten is about 8 weeks old; however, most cats experience the greatest benefits from catnip when they have matured to the age of 9 months.