Catnip and Your Cat

  • January 30, 2014
  • By Dr Mark Perissinotto
  • 0 Comments

Without a doubt, cat and catnip is a match made in heaven. Catnip has a tendency to transform your cat into happy, kneading, drooling kittens content to roll around their toys stuffed with catnip or on the crushed sprinkled herbs on the rug. It can turn cats that are active into relaxed, snoozing felines in a few minutes while others become banshees that are careening. If you are a cat owner, you might wonder how safe catnip is for your feline.

Catnip the Perennial Herb

Reportedly, catnip happens to be in the same family as spearmint and peppermint. It blooms with small lavender sprigs or flowers that are light blue. The stalks are dried and harvested and the dried parts are crushed after getting removed from the stalks to create the catnip with the strong scent enjoyed so much by your cat.

Brain Chemicals

Science has not come up with the conclusion on why catnip is something that cats love so much. However, the nepetalactone ingredient that gives a strong scent to the herb may trigger sensitive chemicals in the brain that relate to a cat’s happiness and mood. The relationship between cats and catnip is not limited to the world of domesticated felines either. Tigers and other wild cats also love catnip.

Home Garden

Although you can grow this plant in your home garden, it may quickly take over your plot and be invasive. In addition, remember that catnip which is fresh does not seem to have the same effect on cats the way the dry version does. Until you dry the leaves after harvesting, to them this is just another garden plant.

Your Cat’s Toys

You can use catnip to add scents to the toys of your cat/ Place a small plush or stuffed mouse in a plastic bag with catnip that has just been cut. Zipper-seal the bag and for several days leave it in room temperature. After a while, open the bag and let your feline enjoy her toy that smells great.

Dry Your Own


You can either dry the catnip you grow in your home or get the store-bought variety. The only thing you truly have to do is to sprinkle dry catnip about one teaspoon worth on your floor to be enjoyed by your feline. For a more interesting toy, sew your catnip in between 2 squares of terry or cotton cloth with the sides left open. Turn this over and stuff it with the herb before you sew the ends you have tied together, making a pillow out of catnip. 

Mark Perissinotto has been a practicing veterinarian for over 20 years, 14 years of which he was the owner and principal of a busy multi-vet mixed animal hospital. One of the two co-founders of Vet Shop Australia, graduated from the University of Queensland with Bachelor of Veterinary Science and one of the best retailer of pet supplies Australia.

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