Why Do Cats Like Catnip?

Have you ever seen a cat getting funny around a small herb called catnip? It’s like a comedy show! But why are cats so thrilled about it? Let’s take a closer look at this plant and see why it’s so popular with our pets.

You know when you smell something delicious cooking and you just have to try it? Catnip works similarly for cats. When they get a whiff of it, they can’t help but become curious and playful. But why?

That is what we are here to figure out! Stick with us, and we’ll explain why cats like catnip so much.

What is Catnip

What is catnip

Nepeta cataria, also known as catnip, is a plant in the mint family. It grows like a wild plant and was originally discovered in Europe, Asia, and Africa. But, guess what? People introduced it to North America, and it can now reach heights of up to three feet!

The good part is that you can cultivate catnip yourself, even if you’re not a plant expert. Simply give it plenty of sunlight, and it will grow like crazy. When it’s fully developed, you can harvest the leaves and dry them somewhere dark. Then you will have your own supply of catnip! If you want to keep it fresh for longer, simply pop it in a bag and stick it in the fridge.

Why Do Cats Like Catnip?


Why Do Cats Like Catnip

Cats have a remarkable sense of smell. Their nostrils are like super sniffers, detecting scents that humans cannot. So catnip is like a scented fireworks show for their noses.

Catnip emits a distinct fragrance that most cats find enticing. This fragrance is derived from a unique chemical known as nepetalactone. It is released when cats crush the catnip plant’s leaves or stems. To us, it may not appear to be much, but to cats, it is the finest perfume in the world.

But why is this smell so attractive to cats? Scientists believe that evolution may play a role in it. When cats were back in the wild, they used their excellent sense of smell to find food and stay safe. So, they would be drawn to anything that smelled intriguing. The fragrance of catnip may activate a deep-seated brain mechanism in them, causing them to feel joyful and enthusiastic.

Can Cats Eat Catnip?

It’s critical to keep an eye on your cat’s intake of catnip because an excessive amount can upset their stomach and cause diarrhea. It’s not a good idea to let them consume a lot at once, even though a tiny nibble here and there is OK.

However, don’t stress too much because cats are pretty good at knowing when to stop. They usually won’t overeat catnip, so they’re kind of like their own built-in moderation system.

To be cautious and prevent them from going too far, though, is still a good idea. You may need to store the catnip for a while if you see that your cat is consuming a lot of it. The secret to keeping your pet happy and healthy is moderation, just like with any treat.

How to Give Catnip to Your Cat

How to give catnip to your cat

There are lots of ways to give your cat catnip. You can buy it dry, as a spray, or even grow it yourself! One great way to share catnip with your furry friend is through toy rotation. This means putting some catnip in a bag with your cat’s toys, then switching them around every week. It’s like giving your cat a new set of toys each time and keeps them interested. Dry catnip is usually better for this than spray because it has more of the active ingredient, nepetalactone.

You can also sprinkle a little catnip on a new scratching post or bed. This encourages your cat to use those spots for scratching instead of your furniture. It’s like giving them a little treat for doing the right thing!

Advantages of Catnip for Cats

Joyful Playtime:

  • Your cat will have more joy and excitement during playtime with catnip.
  • It gives their interactions with toys a unique spark.

Having Fun Inside:

  • Indoor cats are aroused and kept amused by catnip.
  • It helps keep kids from becoming bored and agitated.

Natural and secure:

  • Because catnip is natural and safe, you don’t need to be concerned about dangerous substances.
  • It’s a safe method to add interest to your cat’s surroundings.

Disadvantages of Catnip for Cats

Distinct Responses:

  • Some cat breeds may not care about catnip at all, and not all cats enjoy it.
  • It might not work for every furry companion because cats react differently from one another.

Be Aware About Stomach Issues:

  • Your cat may have diarrhea if they consume too much catnip.
  • Watch how much they’re eating to prevent any stomach issues.

Alterations in Behavior:

  • Certain cats may get overly agitated or excited after consuming catnip.
  • Catnip can lose its effectiveness over time if used too frequently.


Bringing catnip into your cat’s life can be a wonderful way to add some extra joy and excitement. Whether you choose to sprinkle it on toys, use it to refresh scratching posts, or simply watch your furry friend enjoy its effects, catnip offers plenty of benefits for both cats and their owners.

By understanding how catnip works and using it wisely, you can create a more enriching environment for your cat. Just remember to keep an eye on their reactions and use moderation to avoid any potential issues. With a little bit of catnip magic, you can enhance your cat’s playtime and overall well-being while strengthening the bond between you and your beloved pet.

Read Also:

How Long Are Cats Pregnant

How To Treat Dandruff In Cats

How Many Teeth Does a Cat Have


Hello there! I'm Madhav Mantri, the person behind this PetSavvy Solution blog. I'm a digital marketer and a pet enthusiast too! I spend my time making sure everything here is interesting and helpful for you and your pets. I love sharing cool stuff about pets, from the latest trends to heartwarming stories and useful tips to keep our furry friends happy and healthy.

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