Effects Of Catnip On Cats

picture of fluffy white cat rolling on his back

The effects of catnip on cats can vary quite a lot from cat to cat. This page goes through questions you may have about the effects of catnip with answers.

1) Do all cats react to catnip?

No. It's estimated about 70% of cats respond to catnip. Also, kittens under 6 months of age are unlikely to respond to it, and it has less of an effect on old cats.

2) I've not given my cat catnip before. How will he react?

Assuming your cat is in the 70% that respond to catnip, you may see him do some or all of the following:

  • Roll around in the catnip
  • Rub his cheeks against the catnip
  • Eat the catnip, drool, lick himself, run around, growl
  • Become very sedate and dreamy-looking

Some cats can get aggressive after having catnip - usually towards other cats and animals. If your kitty does this, make sure you give him catnip in a room on his own.

photo of big ginger cat face close up

If you'd like to see examples of cats on catnip, click here to watch some catnip video clips.

3) How long do the effects last?

Usually between 5 and 15 minutes. Again, this varies from cat to cat.

4) Is it safe?

Yes, it's completely harmless to cats.

5) Can my cat get addicted?

No. It's an ideal "drug" in that it's totally safe, non-addictive and has no long-lasting effects. If only there was a human equivalent...

6) What's in catnip that's responsible for Kitty's reaction?

The chemical in catnip that causes Kitty's reaction is called Nepetalactone. It causes Kitty to release "feel-good" substances into his body which then produce the behavioral effect.

Cats are so sensitive to Nepetalactone that they can detect it at one part per billion in the air. So a pinch of catnip is all you need to get a reaction from Kitty - providing a very cheap and safe way to entertain him!

Go from effects of catnip on cats page to what is catnip page

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