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Southlake Animal Hospital
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Catnip 101

March 1 2021

Does your feline buddy go a bit bonkers at the scent of catnip? Or does Fluffy turn her cute little nose at the catnip toys you offer her? Kitties are full of adorable quirks, but one of the funniest ones is the way they react to this curious little plant. A local Crown Point, IN vet discusses catnip in this article.

Catnip Basics

Catnip was introduced in America by settlers around the 1800’s. Also called catswort, catwort, and catmint, it is actually part of the mint family, and has been used in many herbal remedies. It has a fairly unique (and often highly entertaining) affect on our feline pals. Fluffy may run around, roll around, meow, or just generally act silly when she is feeling the effects of some ‘nip.


Cats don’t all react to catnip the same way. In fact, some are immune to it. About a third are unaffected, a number that includes kittens and many senior cats. If your furball doesn’t seem to care for catnip, offer her some honeysuckle cat toys. Kitties that don’t care for catnip are often affected by honeysuckle instead. We’re not quite sure why yet: for now, we can just chalk this up to another one of Fluffy’s mysterious quirks.

Much Of A Good Thing?

In case you were wondering, your kitty can’t actually overdose on catnip. After about 10 minutes of play, it will start to wear off. Your furball will be immune to its effects into her brain resets. This usually takes a few hours, which coincidentally just happens to be the perfect amount of time for a cat nap. Of course, if you give your feline friend too much catnip, she may become desensitized to it. This should be a special treat for your pet, not an everyday thing.

Growing Catnip

If your cat joys catnip, then why not grow some? It’s a fairly low maintenance plant. You can also use it for teas if you like. Of course, you’ll want to limit the amount of catnip you put in your yard. Otherwise you may find the neighborhood kitties gathering at your house. This would probably be a really bad idea for anyone who knows or suspects there are lynxes, bobcats, or mountain lions in their neighborhoods!

Do you have questions about your kitty’s health or care? Call us, your Crown Point, IN vet clinic, today!