Catnip FAQs for Cat Parents

Have you ever tried catnip on your feline friend? This fascinating plant is our cats’ favorite indulgence, but how much do you really know about it? Below, your veterinarian Leesburg, VA fills you in on catnip. 

What is catnip, exactly? 

Catnip is actually an herb, closely related to herbs like mint and basil that you might have growing in your spice garden. In a pet store, you can buy “raw” catnip (which looks similar to dried oregano flakes) to sprinkle on the floor, or you can purchase toys that have catnip infused into them.

Why do cats react to it?

Catnip contains a chemical called nepetalactone, which affects your cat’s brain. It causes the reaction you see—some cats dart to and fro excitedly, while some simply stretch out in a state of bliss. 

Is catnip safe? 

Catnip is perfectly safe. The chemical reaction in the brain caused by nepetalactone isn’t harmful in the least, and the effect wears off after only a few moments. Your cat can’t overdose on catnip, or become addicted to the herb. Feel free to offer Fluffy catnip whenever you’d like!

Call your vet in Leesburg, VA to learn more about your cat’s health and behavior.

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