cat wanting to play

How to Use Catnip

by Sam Salvati - 7/23/19

We know our cats adore it, but are we optimizing the use of catnip for cats? Here are a few tips on how to use catnip best.

What is Catnip?

A chemical inside this herb called nepetalactone stimulates the region of the brain that releases pleasurable and playful feelings. As cats play with catnip, these happy feelings are triggered, causing a series of chemical reactions that contribute to cats' love for catnip.

Types of Catnip

A variety of catnip types are available everywhere. Cats are generally most attracted to dry catnip for its stronger smell, but some only react to fresh catnip. Live catnip house plants and catnip spray are also available for purchase as a more long-lasting toy for your furry friend.

If your cat doesn't enjoy playing with catnip, other plant alternatives can be found here.

Utilizing Catnip Toys

A commonly enjoyed catnip trinket is a regular toy stuffed with the magical plant. These toys are easily crafted with just a few house supplies.

You should preserve your catnip toys by rotating them or putting them away occasionally in order to keep the catnip fresh and long-lasting. If your feline's favorite catnip toy loses its flavor, you can refresh it with catnip spray.

Catnip Training

On top of its entertainment purposes, catnip can prove to be useful for training.

Although on its own it can't train a kitten entirely, catnip can act as an incentive for trying to get your cat to comply with your rules and techniques. Your cat won't sleep in its new bed, scratch its new post, or enter its new carrier? Try spraying catnip on these items to attract your cat.

Catnip Safety

Despite its lack of toxicity to cats, on rare occasions, overuse or over-exposure to catnip can require veterinary assistance. Some symptoms include diarrhea or vomiting.

Prior to providing your cat with this playful plant, you should consult your veterinarian to make sure it's safe for your friend.

Pasadena native Sam Salvati is the adoring dog dad to Pablo, Ester and Farris. He enjoys keeping abreast of and writing about the latest developments in pet care.