10 Catnip Facts

Catnip leaves

Catnip - 10 Facts about it and its affect on cats

1. Catnip (or Nepeta cataria) is part of the mint family. The plant contains an oil called nepetalctone and this oil binds to a cats nasal receptors when the plant is eaten, rolled in or crushed. The oil stimulates the areas of the brain that regulates the emotional and behavioural responses to stimuli.

2. A cat’s sensitivity to the effects of catnip is an inherited trait and it’s estimated that somewhere between 50-80 % of cats are sensitive to it.

3. Catnip has no effect on kittens and they only begin to show sensitivity once over 6 months or upon reaching sexual maturity.

4. When eaten catnip has a mild sedative effect on cats. Some herbalists recommend it as a relaxing tea for people for this reason too.

5. When sniffed it will make cats playful, kittenish and they tend to roll in it, lick it, sometimes drool, purr and endearingly stick out their tongues.

6. It is not just domestic cats that are sensitive to catnip. Tests have shown that all in the larger Cat family react to it as well. So Catnip can also be given to Lions, Tigers, Leopards, Cougars, Lynxes and Servals.

7. Catnip is non- addictive and has no side effects so is safe for cats to use. The effects will only last 10 to 20 minutes before odour fatigue sets and the cat returns to their normal behaviour.  The cats nose then needs a break from the smell to give it time to reset and pick up on it again in the future.

8. It is best to give you cat organic catnip that has not have any residual chemicals that may be consumed by your cat. Artificial catnip sprays are available but it is better to use the organic version which is readily available

9. Catnip is a herb easily grown at home as long as you don’t have a little catnip lover in the house. The plant is very quickly found , squashed, rolled on and chewed to death. It can be simpler to leave it to the experts.

10. Little Lions has a range of cat toys made using our homegrown organic catnip as well as loose leaf sachets. To shop now click here.


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Not all cats are affected by catnip. Some love it and some are uninterested.

Generally speaking it will only have an affect on cats that are fully mature not kittens. However kittens love to play and hunt so they will still get lots of enjoyment playing with Little Lions toys even if they are unaffected by the catnip till later. They are also a great distraction if you have a little lion that wants to use your arms or legs for biting practice with those needle sharp baby teeth, just give them one of our toys to kill instead