Catnip For Cats – How to Use Catnip

What is Catnip?

What is Catnip?

Catnip is a natural herb in the mint family which can grow as high as 3 feet. Safe for cats, it can be used in its natural state, dried and crumbled or as a liquid extract. 

The chemical compound in the plant that attracts and affects cats is called nepetalactone. It is found in the leaves and stems.  Nepetalactone is a stimulant when sniffed by a cat, producing a "high" that is described as being similar to either marijuana or LSD.  We probably don't want to know how scientists discovered this.

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  • Kong Naturals Premium
  • Kong Naturals Spray
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Kong Naturals Premium Catnip

KONG Naturals Premium Catnip is North American grown catnip of the highest quality.

This is harvested at the peak of its flavor, color and fragrance and field-dried.

KONG’s premium leaf and flower cut gives you minimal stems and seeds and more of the essential oils that cause a reaction in most cats.

Use as a stand-alone treat or in KONG refillable catnip toys.

KONG Naturals are ecologically responsible cat products.

All ingredients and oils come from natural, renewable resources.

How Does Catnip Work?

It seeks out that part of the cat’s brain that gives them pleasure.  This causes a myriad of reactions ranging from purring, frolicking, rolling around and sometimes aggressiveness. This portion of the catnip’s effects lasts about 10-15 minutes.

There is then a “come down” period where you cat will be sleepy, lethargic, or even appear to zone out staring at a wall or inanimate object for quite some time. Needless to say a cat's behavior while “high” on catnip can be quite amusing for her owner.

Catnip Oil

The primary driver of the catnip response is the vapor from the oil. When a cat plays with a catnip toy by chewing and clawing at it, the catnip is crushed and abraded causing oil to be released. The scent of the oil generates a catnip response in cats.

Avoid catnip toys that are old or have been sitting on shelves for months. Ancient, stale catnip does not generate any response from the cat. The herb is so dry there is no natural oil to cause a response from your cat. Focus on toys that can be refilled with fresh catnip.

Finding The Best Catnip

Like all fruits, vegetables and herbs, the strain of catnip and how it is grown determines its quality. Pesticides, chemical fertilizers and adverse growing conditions can also affect a catnip plant. Unfortunately catnip is not regulated so it is up to the cat owner to pay attention to where the plant is grown and how it is grown. Sometimes it is simply trial and error to determine the right catnip for your cat.

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How To Store

Once you find catnip that works for your cat you may find it is cheaper to purchase it in bulk. To prevent the catnip from becoming stale it is fine to freeze the unused portion. When you are ready to use the frozen catnip let it sit out for a few hours to thaw. Before giving it to your cat crush and crumble it to release the natural oils. If you are putting the catnip in a toy, roll the toy around in some of the crushed catnip to pick up the scent. You will get better results this way.

Does Catnip Work On All Cats?

Rolling In The Nip

Catnip is not for every cat so does not be disappointed if your cat does not respond. Approximately 75% of cats do respond very well. In addition kittens under the age of 6 months do not respond to catnip. It seems this herb is only for the responsible cat adult.

If you find your cat has stopped playing with the catnip toy one of two things may have happened. The catnip could be old and stale. Simply switch out for fresh catnip and you should be all set. Or, your cat may have become desensitized to the catnip. Like humans, constant exposure to an odor can result in desensitization to that odor. The best solution is to remove the catnip for a few days or a week and then try again.

Can Cats Eat Catnip?

Cats can eat the catnip. It will simply make them sleepy. However, too much of a good thing can cause issues. Cats that eat too much catnip can have upset tummies or more serious digestive issues. In addition your cat can literally pass out for hours or days. So it is advisable not to leave a large helping of catnip in your cats bowl for them to consume. Moderation in all things, including catnip.

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How To Grow Catnip

For those with a green thumb, it is quite easy to grow your own catnip plant. Keep in mind the hard part can be keeping your cat away from the plant. To prevent overexposure you might want to keep the plant in an area your cat cannot reach.  If you'd like more information on how to grow this plant, check out this article.

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