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At What Age Can Cats Have Catnip?

Catnip is a popular treat for cats, and it’s easy to find in pet stores and even grocery stores. However, many pet owners are not sure what it is or if it’s safe to give to their cat, and with so many different brands to choose from, it can be challenging to know which one you should use.

Catnip is safe for cats of all ages. However, most kittens will not react to it before they are 6–9 months old. If you would like to find out more about catnip, continue reading, and we will try to answer all of your questions to help you know what it is and what it does, so you can feel safe about providing it to your pet.

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Is Catnip A Drug?

No, catnip is not a drug. It’s a member of the mint family, and it contains the chemical trans-nepetalactone that causes the reactions you see in some cats. It’s natural and safe for cats to consume. The only downside is that it could cost diarrhea or an upset stomach if your cat eats too much. Your cat will only need to smell the catnip to feel its effects. It will not need to ingest it, it will not get addicted to it, and there is no bad feeling afterward.

Image Credit By: Kassel95, pixabay

Does Catnip Get Cats High?

Catnip does not exactly get your pet high, but many owners will tell you that the cat may act as if it does. Some experts believe it triggers receptors in the brain that make the cat feel euphoric like a human might after consuming marijuana or LSD, while others note that the chemical trans-nepetalactone smells like a chemical in the female’s urine which causes the male cats to act out of character in an attempt to impress the females. However, no isolated compounds produce the same effect, and it affects female cats equally, so some experts believe it activates receptors for sex pheromones.

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Hepper Catnip Stick Toy

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At What Age Is Catnip Safe For Cats?

It seems to take time for the gene responsible for the detection of catnip to develop, as cats won’t usually react to catnip until they are at least 6 months old. In addition, only about 70% of cats can detect the euphoria-inducing chemical. Experts believe you can trace cats’ sensitivity to catnip to a dominant gene not present in all cats. However, house cats aren’t the only ones affected. Lions, tigers, and other larger felines are also affected, even though many live in an area where catnip does not grow. Like the house cat, these large animals will become quite friendly and playful when exposed to catnip, and they will attempt to roll around in it to transfer the scent onto their fur.

Gray Cat Enjoying Fresh Catnip_Anna Hoychuk_shutterstock
Image Credit: Anna Hoychuk, Shutterstock

How Long Do the Effects of Catnip Last?

The catnip euphoria will usually last 10–15 minutes, depending on how sensitive your cat is to the chemical. After this short period, your cat will move on to other activities, and trying to give them more will not produce a response. It usually takes about 2 hours for their senses to reset to detect the catnip again and feel its effects.

Does Catnip Help With Anxiety?

While catnip does appear to relax and calm, many cat experts don’t recommend treating anxiety because its effects are short-lived. It also produces hyperactivity in most cats which can be counterproductive. While it might provide your stressed-out cat with some temporary relief, most owners use it only as a treat, but It can be helpful to get your cat motivated to get some exercise, as it often makes them more playful and will cause some to run around frantically.

Can I Give My Cat Catnip Every Day?

You can give your cat catnip every day without worry because it is not addictive and doesn’t produce any harmful side effects or “low” that many drugs can cause. However, most experts recommend limiting exposure to once a day to prevent overstimulation and to reduce the risk that they might eat too much, resulting in stomachache, vomiting, and diarrhea.

What Kind Of Catnip Should I Use?

You can find catnip everywhere and in many forms. Companies sew it into many toys and also offer sprays and powders. You can also buy it in small bags, and it will look similar to finely chopped grass or herbs. You can also grow catnip in your garden. It’s a hardy plant that grows in many environments. The only downside to growing it is that it can cause many stray cats to frequent your yard. We recommend purchasing a high-quality organic brand from your favorite place to get pet supplies. Organic catnip is less likely to have fillers, like hay, diluting the catnip’s potency, and it usually provides you with a resealable bag you can use to keep it fresh.3 cat face divider


Catnip can be a fantastic treat for your cat, and it’s often as much fun for the owners to watch the behavior as it is for the cat. All cats will act differently, and some will begin running while others roll around on it looking for pets. It can be a great way to help your cat become more active, and it can also help prevent boredom from setting in. It’s completely safe and won’t produce any negative side effects, though some cats will not respond to it, and you will need to wait for your kitten to reach at least 6 months old before its senses will develop enough to detect it.

We hope you have enjoyed reading over this guide and learned a few new facts you hadn’t heard before. If we have helped you and your cat have a little more fun together, please share this guide to what age cats can have catnip on Facebook and Twitter.

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Featured image credit: Georgia Evans, Shutterstock