Can cats eat dried catnip?

If you’re looking for catnip and want to give it to your cat, please read this article before providing catnip to your cat. This article has covered everything you need to know about catnip, including whether or not it is safe for cats to consume. What effect does it have on your cat?

bloom catnip flower

What is catnip?

Catnip, also called Nepeta cataria, is a mint family member. It is a perennial herb with small white or pale lavender flowers that grow to about two or three feet in height. When touched or crushed, the plant’s leaves and stem are covered in tiny hairs that release a chemical called nepetalactone. This chemical is responsible for cats’ reactions to catnip.

Catnip leaves are green and have a strong minty scent when fresh. They turn brown and lose some of their fragrance when dried. Catnip is frequently sold in small bags or containers. Some people cultivate their own catnip plants and dry the leaves.

How does catnip works?

Catnip contains a chemical called nepetalactone. This chemical is similar to the chemicals found in Valerian root, which is sometimes used as a natural sedative for humans.

cat and catnip

When cats smell nepetalactone, it binds to receptors in their nose, and they experience a feeling of euphoria. Some cats may roll around in catnip, chew on it, or rub their face in it. Others may sniff it and then walk away. The effects of catnip usually last for about ten minutes before the cat becomes insensitive to it again.

Not every cat responds the same way to catnip. About two-thirds of cats will respond to it at some point in their lives. Kittens and older cats are less likely to be affected by it than middle-aged cats. Catnip also seems to be more potent for some cats than others. Some experts believe that genetics play a role in how a cat reacts to catnip since not all members of the same litter will have the same reaction to it.

Do all cats respond to catnip?

No, catnip does not work on all cats. In fact, only about two-thirds of cats are affected by it. The rest either don’t react at all or become aggressive when they smell it. Scientists believe that the reaction is caused by a gene that is present in some cats and not others.

Health benefits of catnip for cats

The main chemical in catnip that attracts cats is nepetalactone. This chemical attracts cats and can be found in both the plant’s leaves and stems. This chemical causes euphoria in cats when they smell it. They may roll around in it, smear it on their faces, or chew on it. When cats are introduced to catnip, some may become overly energetic.

There are some health benefits associated with catnip consumption. It has been shown, for example, to reduce stress and anxiety in cats. Additionally, it can help cats who are struggling with nausea or an upset stomach feel better.

If you have a cat, you may want to consider growing some catnip or keeping a small supply on hand. It’s a safe way to provide your feline friend with a little bit of extra fun and excitement!

When a cat chews catnip, what happens to its brain?

Nepetalactone, an ingredient in catnip, enters a cat’s nose when it chews on the plant and connects to receptors there.  This activates neurons in the brain that release dopamine, resulting in a feeling of euphoria for the cat. 

It’s believed that catnip might mimic cats’ elevated hormone levels and drive them to act like they’re in heat. Both male and female cats exhibit this effect. Although this is how most cats respond to catnip, some can become irritated or even hostile. Catnip usually only has an effect for a short while before disappearing. 

How long is catnip effective?

The effects of catnip are what make it most well-known. When they smell it, many cats will roll around in it, rub their face in it, and chew on the leaves. This behavior is thought to be caused by nepetalactone, a chemical compound in catnip that is similar to those found in valerian root (a plant that has sedative effects on humans).

cat chilling

Cats react to catnip by rolling around on the ground, rubbing their faces in it, meowing or purring, and occasionally leaping into the air. The effects typically last about 10 to 20 minutes before fading. Catnip does not affect all cats, though it is believed that the majority do. It is less likely to affect kittens and older cats.

Can cats get addicted to catnip or develop tolerance to catnip?

Catnip can definitely cause addiction in cats and, in some circumstances, tolerance. Nepetalactone, a substance found in catnip, has a similar impact on cats as marijuana does on people. Similar to how we feel when humans get high, cats get an incredible rush of pleasure when they sniff it.

The benefits only last a few minutes, and the pleasure is fleeting. Cats can get acclimated to the benefits of catnip over time and may require more of it each time to get the same amount of high they had in the past. Cats may also gradually lose their sensitivity to the fragrance, which could make them utterly unresponsive or uninterested in it.

Can cats overdose on catnip?

Yes, cats can become overdose on catnip. In cats, too much catnip can cause vomiting and diarrhea. It can cause an abnormal heart rate and seizures in severe cases. Contact your veterinarian immediately if your cat has consumed too much catnip.

What dosage of catnip is ideal for my cat?

What is the best catnip dosage for my cat? This question is difficult to answer because it is dependent on a number of factors, including your cat’s age, size, and overall health. If you are unsure, it is always best to consult with your veterinarian.

Although catnip will not harm your cat, it is better for their stomach if they only consume small amounts, like a quarter-sized patch. Begin with small amounts, such as a teaspoon to a tablespoon of dried catnip on a small plate, to see how your cat reacts.

How to feed or use catnip for your cat?

If you want to give your cat a special treat, offer her some catnip. You can grow your own catnip or purchase it at a pet store. When giving your cat catnip, start with a small amount to see how she reacts.

cute cat starring

Some cats become very active after eating catnip, while others become more relaxed. If your cat enjoys the catnip, she will likely roll around, rub her face, and chew on the leaves.

There are many different types of catnip products. You can purchase catnip powder to scatter on the ground or a toy. Some toys include catnip within or are pre-scented with it.

A bedding, toy, or any place where they usually spend more time can be scented with catnip oil or oil spray, which is also available. You don’t need to use a lot of catnip because cats will react to even very small amounts of it.

When can cats consume catnip?

Cats can have catnip from a young age, although they may not be interested in it until they are around three to six months old. If you give your cat catnip too early, they may not be able to appreciate its effects.

Though it is said that large amounts can cause catnip to lose its’ effects on a cat, some cats prefer catnip over others, and it is impossible to know when they will tire of it. You may discover that your cat only wants catnip on rare occasions or that they completely reject it.

Is dried catnip safe for cats?

Yes, cats can have dried catnip. Many brands sell dried catnip commercially. Dried catnip is less potent than fresh, but some cats still enjoy it. It may be a good option for those who want to store catnip for a long time or who live in an area where fresh catnip is not readily available.

Is it safe for cats to eat fresh catnip?

Yes, fresh catnip is safe for cats. Many cats enjoy chewing on fresh catnip leaves and stem. Some people believe that fresh catnip can help keep a cat’s teeth clean and healthy.

Are catnip leaves safe for cats to consume?

Since each cat is different, there is no conclusive response to this query. Likewise, after consuming too many catnip leaves, some cats might have gastric issues while others might not. It is advised to refrain from offering your cat catnip leaves if you are unsure.

Can kittens consume catnip?

Yes, kittens can consume catnip. However, they might not respond to it the same way an adult cat would. While kittens can safely consume catnip, most cats won’t begin to respond to it until they are 6 to 12 months old. Some cats may defy this rule as they age and eventually become more sensitive.

So, Can cats eat catnip?

Cats can indeed consume catnip. In fact, a lot of cats adore the flavor of catnip and will go looking for it on their own. Although some individuals believe that catnip naturally calms cats, there is no scientific basis for this idea. There are no health dangers associated with catnip for cats.

Catnip product recommendation

If you’re looking for a catnip product that your feline friend is sure to love, we recommend:

  • Fat Cat Zoom Around the Room 100% Organic Catnip
  • From the field Ultimate Blend Catnip and Silver Vine
  • SmartyKat Organic Catnip
  • Feline Greenies Dental Treats Catnip
  • Meowijuana Catnip Spray
  • SmartyKat Skitter Critters Catnip Cat Toys
  • West Coast Pet Products refillable Catnip Kicker Toy

You can find all these products on amazon.

Other plants that act like catnip

Silvervine, Tatarian honeysuckle, and valerian root plants have similar properties to catnip.

The woody, deciduous silver vine is a mountainous plant that is indigenous to China and Japan. Cats are drawn to and stimulated by the scent it generates, which is comparable to catnip.

Another plant that functions similarly to catnip is Tatarian honeysuckle, which has a sweeter aroma and may be found in most gardens.

Cats are lured to the flowering plant known as valerian root because of its potent, musky aroma. Although cats also adore it, it is frequently used as a herbal cure for anxiety and insomnia in humans.

100 cats were used to study the effects of these three herbs. Plant material was applied on a piece of carpet or a sock and given to the cats. To silver vine, 79% gave favorable feedback. Tatarian honeysuckle and valerian root elicited favorable reactions in almost 50% of the cats. Silvervine elicited a response from approximately 75% of the cats that did not respond to catnip. For cats who aren’t influenced by catnip, this research has made it possible to find alternatives.

Cats may become more energetic and playful when exposed to any of these three herbs, which have similar effects to catnip. So instead of (or in addition to!) catnip, try one of these other plants to offer your cat something new to play with and investigate!


Can cats get addicted to catnip?

For cats, catnip is not addictive in the manner that we typically think of addiction. However, cats can become tolerant of catnip, and its use can have other unexpected effects.

Can cats consume too much catnip?

When cats ingest too much catnip, they may develop health problems like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, or trouble moving around. Use only a small amount at a time.

What age can cats have catnip?

 Most cats don’t respond to catnip until they are at least three to six months old.


Catnip is a perennial herb that can reach a height of two to three feet and bears tiny white or pale lavender blooms. Even while catnip is supposedly harmless for cats, it is still best to give it rarely.

The first 10 to 20 minutes following exposure are when catnip’s effects are most apparent. Any behavioral effects usually disappear after ten or twenty minutes. Likewise, Cats who consume a lot of catnip may vomit and have diarrhea. Although this is minor, you might wish to see your veterinarian for symptomatic treatment if it persists.

If you are interested in buying catnip products, we recommend you buy from the list provided above.

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Esme Watson
Esme Watson

Esme Watson, the founder of Cat Queries, is a passionate cat lover driven by a deep love for felines. Inspired by her own furry companions, Minnie and Mickey, Esme created a platform dedicated to empowering cat owners with comprehensive and reliable information on feline health and behavior.

Cat Queries combines Esme's personal experiences with expert insights, offering a valuable resource that caters to all aspects of cat care. This inclusive approach fosters a welcoming community for cat lovers, making Cat Queries a trusted source for information, support, and guidance. Ultimately, Esme's mission is to enrich the lives of both cats and their human companions through knowledge and understanding.

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