Catnip: Why Cats Love It

Oct 13, 2021


Welcome to Mobile Animal Surgical Hospital's article on catnip, its effects on cats, and why cats are so irresistibly drawn to it. As pet lovers, we believe in providing the best care for our furry friends, and understanding their love for catnip is crucial in enriching their lives. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the world of catnip and explore its many benefits for our feline companions.

What is Catnip?

Catnip, scientifically known as Nepeta cataria, is a member of the mint family. It is a perennial herb that contains a chemical compound called nepetalactone, which is responsible for its unique effects on cats. Native to Europe, catnip is now cultivated worldwide and is a popular addition to many households with cats.

Why Do Cats Love Catnip?

It's no secret that many cats go crazy for catnip, but have you ever wondered why? When cats come into contact with catnip, either by smelling or ingesting it, the nepetalactone binds to receptors in their nasal tissue, stimulating an intense response. This response can vary between cats, but common behaviors include rolling, rubbing, purring, and even playful antics.

Effects of Catnip on Cats

The effects of catnip can be quite remarkable. Here are some behaviors commonly associated with the use of catnip:

  • Playfulness: Catnip has a stimulating effect, encouraging cats to engage in playful behavior, which is both entertaining for them and for us!
  • Relaxation: Contrary to its stimulating effects, catnip can also have a calming effect on cats. After the initial burst of energy, many cats experience a sense of tranquility.
  • Exercise: Catnip can be used as a tool to encourage physical activity in sedentary cats. By providing catnip toys or using it to create interactive play sessions, you can help promote exercise and keep your cat active.
  • Stress Relief: Catnip has been found to have mild tranquilizing properties, making it an excellent aid for cats experiencing anxiety or stress. It can help alleviate their discomfort and promote relaxation.
  • Scent Attraction: Catnip's captivating smell makes it a fantastic tool for training or redirecting a cat's attention. Strategic use of catnip can attract cats to desired areas or objects, such as scratching posts or litter boxes.

How to Use Catnip

Now that we understand the positive effects of catnip, let's explore the various ways you can use it to enrich your cat's life:

1. Catnip Toys

Invest in high-quality catnip toys to provide your feline friend with hours of entertainment. Look for sturdy toys that are designed to withstand vigorous play and ensure they are filled with fresh, potent catnip. Rotate the toys regularly to maintain your cat's interest.

2. Catnip Spray

If your cat has a particular piece of furniture or a scratching post they prefer, consider using catnip spray to attract them to the desired location. Spray a small amount of catnip-infused liquid onto the object, allowing the scent to entice your cat.

3. Homemade Catnip Treats

Create homemade catnip treats to provide a special and enjoyable experience for your cat. There are many simple recipes available online that allow you to incorporate fresh or dried catnip into tasty treats your cat will love.

4. DIY Catnip Play Pillow

Put your craft skills to use by creating a DIY catnip play pillow. Sew a small pillow filled with fresh catnip and watch as your cat cuddles, pounces, and rolls around with delight.


Catnip is undoubtedly a fascinating and beneficial herb that provides endless enjoyment and enrichment for our furry companions. The stimulating, yet relaxing effects of catnip can enhance your cat's well-being and contribute to a happier, more active lifestyle. Remember to use catnip in moderation and always observe your cat's reaction. If you have any concerns or questions about catnip usage, consult with your trusted veterinarian. At Mobile Animal Surgical Hospital, we are committed to providing the best care and information to help you enhance your pet's quality of life.

Walter Hainsfurther
This article has given me a newfound appreciation for the natural instincts and behaviors of cats.
Nov 13, 2023
Lisa McKelvie
I love seeing how happy and playful my cat gets when she's exposed to catnip. This article explained why that happens so well!
Nov 13, 2023
Kevin Brogan
Seeing my cat's reaction to catnip has always been a source of amusement, and now I understand the science behind it.
Nov 8, 2023
Succi Peng
I've always been curious about catnip and its effects on different cat breeds. This article provided some interesting insights.
Oct 26, 2023
Ellen Barnes
This article was a great reminder of how important it is to understand and cater to our pets' instinctual needs.
Oct 15, 2023
Magdalena Gonzalez
I never realized that catnip could have different effects on different cats. This explains a lot about my own cat's behavior.
Oct 11, 2023
Krystle Hall
😺 So interesting!
Oct 6, 2023
Rohan Joseph
I've always been curious about catnip, and this article has satisfied my curiosity. Thanks for the great read!
Aug 31, 2023
Dean Schlader
Catnip is truly a unique plant. I never knew it could have such a profound impact on cats' behaviors.
Jul 24, 2023
Debbie Connell
I'll be more mindful of introducing catnip to my cat after reading this article. It's important to ensure their well-being and happiness.
Jul 8, 2023
Arnold Flowers
I never realized the significance of catnip for feline enrichment until I read this article. Thank you for the valuable information!
Jul 2, 2023
Donna Tipton
My cat goes crazy for catnip, so it's great to learn more about why it's so appealing to her.
Jun 18, 2023
Shopper Quick
Catnip is truly a fascinating aspect of feline behavior. Thank you for sharing this informative article.
May 25, 2023
Catnip clearly plays a significant role in providing sensory stimulation for our cats. It's wonderful to see how we can enhance their lives.
May 9, 2023
Joe Finn
This article has cleared up so many questions I had about catnip. Now I understand why my cat behaves the way he does around it.
Apr 29, 2023
Jeff Idels
I never imagined that catnip could have such a complex influence on cats. The more you learn, the more there is to appreciate.
Apr 11, 2023
Mendez Edwin
I appreciate the thoughtful discussion on catnip and its effects on cats. It's clear that a lot of research went into this article.
Apr 3, 2023
Erin Kapczynski
Understanding cat behavior is key to being a responsible pet owner. This article provides valuable insights into cats' love for catnip.
Mar 29, 2023
Hyunjae Shin
It's fascinating to learn about the natural behaviors of cats, and the role that catnip plays in enhancing their experiences.
Mar 15, 2023
Chris Walshe
I'm grateful for the detailed insights into why cats are so drawn to catnip. It's such an interesting phenomenon!
Mar 3, 2023
Jonathan Godfrey
I had no idea that catnip was so widely used in various pet products. The pet industry is truly innovative.
Jan 26, 2023
Saurabh Soni
It's great to know that cats can enjoy the effects of catnip without any harmful consequences. Thanks for the informative article!
Jan 20, 2023
Keith Tackel
Thanks for explaining the science behind catnip! It's always fascinating to learn more about our feline friends' behaviors.
Dec 17, 2022
James Debbie
I had no idea that catnip was related to the mint family. Nature is truly full of surprises!
Dec 9, 2022
Gina Vinluan
Catnip seems to have a mysterious allure for our feline friends. It's intriguing how they respond to it in different ways.
Nov 27, 2022
Terry Jones
Understanding catnip is crucial for providing enriched environments for our pets. Thanks for shedding light on this topic.
Oct 1, 2022
Lauren Ujazdowski
It's amazing how something as simple as catnip can bring so much joy to our furry companions. Nature is truly beautiful.
Sep 25, 2022
Shawn Howard
I'm definitely going to try the catnip toys mentioned in the article. My cat will be delighted!
Sep 17, 2022
Scott McClellan
Thank you for providing such detailed information on catnip. It's refreshing to gain deeper insights into our pets' preferences.
Jun 9, 2022
Don Ramey
I found it fascinating to learn about the chemical compound in catnip that triggers such a strong reaction in cats.
May 16, 2022
Lander Lam
Thank you for shedding light on the fascinating topic of catnip and its effects on our feline friends.
May 12, 2022
Thorsten Fastenau
As a cat owner, I'm grateful for articles like this that help me understand and care for my pet better.
Apr 15, 2022
Sandy Gould
My cats absolutely adore catnip, and I'm glad to have a better understanding of why it holds such appeal for them.
Apr 5, 2022
Jamie Cramer
This article deepened my appreciation for the unique ways in which cats interact with their environment, especially when it comes to catnip.
Mar 1, 2022
Barbara Estes
I'm glad to learn about the ethical considerations of using catnip. It's important to be mindful of our pets' well-being.
Jan 30, 2022
Kenneth Wilbur
I appreciate the scientific approach taken in this article to explain the allure of catnip for cats.
Jan 1, 2022
Cole Heinemann
My cat's reaction to catnip has always puzzled me, but now I have a better understanding thanks to this article.
Dec 25, 2021
Damian Duliban
I always thought catnip was just a random plant. Who knew it had such a fascinating effect on our feline friends?
Dec 18, 2021
Rolando Galano
This article has given me a new perspective on catnip and its effects. It's amazing how nature has so many wonders to offer.
Dec 16, 2021
Carrie Carrie
My cat goes crazy for catnip, but I didn't know it's genetic. That's really interesting.
Dec 15, 2021
Bill Nye
It's amazing how something as simple as catnip can bring so much joy to our feline companions!
Dec 9, 2021
Saurabh Singh
The way cats respond to catnip is truly remarkable. It's a beautiful example of the bond between animals and nature.
Dec 4, 2021
Sam Kota
I've always been intrigued by the effects of catnip on cats, and this article provided a comprehensive explanation.
Nov 30, 2021
Olivia Graham
I never knew that catnip could have such a profound impact on cats. This was an eye-opening read!
Nov 6, 2021