The Mystery of Cats with the Uses of Catnip

Written by Corrine Bray

Owner & Founder of Corks Critter Care

August 11, 2020

Catnip Use Effects Cats Differently

Catteries, kennels, pet stores, and devoted cat owners often have an abundance of catnip-filled toys. It’s quite entertaining for us humans to witness the peculiar reactions it triggers in some cats.


What is Catnip?

Catnip is a natural herb belonging to the mint family. It contains an essential oil called Nepetalactone, which is the active ingredient responsible for inducing a “high” and hallucinogenic effect in cats. Approximately 50% of cats are affected by nepetalactone, and they possess a dominant “catnip gene.” This gene becomes active in cats between 3-6 months of age, but geriatric cats typically no longer respond to catnip.


Cats can exhibit various reactions to catnip, and we use this natural herb for cats that are affected by it. Here are six classic reasons why we use catnip for cats:

Six Classic Uses of Catnip for Cats

1.  Encouraging Scratching in Appropriate AreasSprinkle dried leaves or liquid form spray catnip Liquid Catnip-min.pngto help entice and train cats to scratch on allowed areas like a rug or scratching post. catnip on scratching post-min.pngThe liquid spray is a tidier way to use catnip but cats seem to enjoy the natural herb in leaf form more so.

2.  Easing Stress and Timidity:  A stressed or timid cat will let its inhibitions down with catnip.  Allowing you cat endulge with some catnip is so much better than having to use pharmaceutical drugs from your vet for anxiety.



3.  Calming During Travel: Some cats become more relaxed when exposed to catnip, making it easier to transport them by car or plane. This effect is typically observed when the cat ingests catnip.

4. Facilitating Introduction of New Animals: Catnip can help ease the introduction of another cat or animal into the home, reducing unfamiliarity and promoting unity. 


5.  Enhancing Playtime:  The most obvious way to use catnip is to play with your cat using toys that have been soaked in, filled with, or touched by the playful herb.

6. Encouraging Hydration: 

  1. Placing some dried catnip under your cat’s water bowl can entice them to drink more water, promoting better hydration.

Incorporating catnip into your cat’s environment can enhance their well-being and provide various benefits, depending on their unique reactions and needs.

 You can get some great tips for choosing and using food and water bowls dishes that is the best for your cats.

There are several other ways to entice cats to drink and you can learn how with our blog called,  14 Ways to Encourage-a Cat to Drink Water