September 24, 2020

What You Do Not Know About Catnip But Wish You Did

by Sarah Ann Taylor


One of the most exciting things for cat owners to observe is having their felines under the influence of catnip – the famous hallucinogenic drug that gets your pet drooling, purring and rolling around. Because of the effect this plant has on cats it’s been often labeled as cat cocaine or cat ecstasy. According to science, it turns that the label is partially true: Nepetalactone, the main compound in catnip and many other mint family plants, has a similar effect on cats that LSD or marijuana has on humans. So how much do you actually know about catnip, and all the catnip infused toys and treats you buy for your feline?

Before you head out to stock up with all available catnip offerings, note that according to most recent studies about 33% of cats will not be affected by catnip whatsoever. This mostly depends on your cat’s genetics, but her age and health condition can also factor in slightly. For example, very old cats or young kittens who haven’t reached the age of 6 months will usually ignore the plant. Moreover, for a small number of felines, catnip and other mint family plants make them aggressive and agitated.

That said, catnip can be a very powerful tool for training your cat, mentally stimulating her and especially for making overweight cats move and exercise more. Unlike some of the drugs used by humans, catnip is completely safe and non-addictive. However, experts recommend to use it sparingly, since the more often your pet comes in contact with Nepetalactone compound, the less effective it becomes. For the curious cat owner, CatsPhD has made an infographic with 20 things you probably didn’t know about catnip:


Thanks to for this graphic.

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