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Helpful Facts About Catnip

Photo: Fotolia

Behavior Modification

  • Catnip can be used to help entice a sedentary or depressed cat to engage in playtime.
  • Rub catnip on the scratching post to encourage your cat to rediscover the benefits of scratching in appropriate places.
  • Catnip can be used in veterinary clinics, shelters and foster homes in addition to the cat’s own home to help lower stress levels.

quote from georgia spca


How to Offer Catnip to Your Cat

  • Catnip should only be offered a maximum of two or three times a week. If cats are constantly exposed to it they can lose their ability to respond.
  • The volatile oil, nepetalactone, needs to be released in the dried form of the herb before offering it to your cat. Rub the dried leaves between your fingers to release it.
  • You can find cat toys in your local pet supply store that have resealable pouches for filling with catnip. This is a better option than buying pre-filled toys that may be filled with poor quality catnip.
  • Catnip can be offered in toys, rubbed on toys, loose, rubbed on scratching posts or you can even just place some in a knotted sock.
    Bowl of catnip

    Photo: Fotolia

 Buying and Storage

  • Keep catnip in a container with a tight-fitting lid kept totally out of a cat’s reach to avoid unplanned self-serve catnip parties.
  • If you grow your own catnip you can offer the fresh leaves to your cat. You can also dry it by hanging the harvested plant upside down to dry and then store in an airtight container.
  • When purchasing loose catnip, look for organic brands that don’t include many stems. The more leaves and blossoms, the more potent the catnip.


For more information on cat behavior and training, refer to the articles on our website and the best-selling books by Pam Johnson-Bennett. If you have a question about your cat’s behavior or health, contact your veterinarian. This article is not intended as a medical diagnosis nor is it a replacement for your cat’s regular veterinary care. This article is for general information purposes only.