Catnip is a plant with heart-shaped leaves on a thick stem. It has a chemical ingredient that drive cats crazy!

How does catnip work?

When cats breathe in the chemicals, it triggers a behavioral response. Not every cat has the same reaction, but it is usually a pleasurable one; they rub, purr and roll around to their hearts content. If you have an aggressive cat, be very careful regarding catnip, it may make him more aggressive.

Why doesn’t a cat respond to catnip?

About 25% of cats will not respond to catnip. Why not? Genetics; if neither of his parents react to catnip, their offspring won’t either. Meanwhile, if only one parent cat responds, you cat should still respond to it. If a cat is younger than 8 weeks old, he will not respond either. Very young kittens are unable to respond to the glorious chemical catnip emits.

Is catnip harmful?

So far there hasn’t been any research to suggest that it’s unsafe or that catnip is addictive. It’s been suggested that an overdose of catnip can lead to seizures, a decrease in mental abilities or personality change. However, nothing one way or the other has been proven 100%, so it’s probably best the use the “in moderation” method.

Some Catnip Facts:

  • Australian cats are not susceptible to catnip. Domestic Australian cats have been bred from a very small population that did not produce a reaction to catnip.
  • The actual effect of catnip (despite the response) only lasts a few seconds.
  • Afterwards to experience another high, a cat has to wait two hours before their body can reset to its normal state.


If your cat is in the 75% majority that reacts to catnip (the pleasurable reaction of course), any time you let him indulge, you are in for some crazy hijinks.


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