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How Long Do the Effects of Catnip Last on Your Cat?

Oliver Jones

As a pet owner, you are probably familiar with the often-fascinating reaction most cats have to catnip. As strange as your kitty’s behavior can become, you can feel safe about letting your cat indulge in this vice.

The catnip herb contains nepetalactone, which allures and affects cats. The reaction cats have to these substances is a form of high, causing their pupils to expound, often making them drool or become highly playful. But for how long do these effects of catnip last on your cat?

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How Long Does Catnip Last?

The effects of catnip last for only about 10 minutes from the time your cat sniffs one or two of the fragrant herbs. During this period, your kitty temporarily becomes more excited and social.

Once your cat has taken catnip either through ingestion or sniffing, their short-term experience will gradually end, and they might look tired before their nature gets back to normal.

When your cat returns to their usual self, they get a temporary immunity before they can react to catnip again. The chemical compound that triggers your cat’s reaction can only be generated once every 2-3 hours.

Although there is no known side effect to catnip overdose, giving your cat too much is is not advisable. If your cat ingests a large amount of herb, it might experience an upset stomach. This means that giving your cat too much catnip will not increase the time of its effects and should be avoided to keep your cat healthy and happy.

The duration and effects of catnip are harmless to your pet, but if your cat experiences an adverse reaction such as diarrhea or vomiting, you may need to stop using catnip completely.

Gray Cat Enjoying Fresh Catnip
Image Credit: Anna Hoychuk, Shutterstock

What Is Catnip?

Catnip is a type of mint typically found in most Asian and European countries, though it has also made its way into North America.

The plant is regarded as an ordinary and invasive weed, but it is also regularly grown in gardens and used to treat different human health issues.

This includes:

  • Treating anxiety, headaches, cramps, and digestive problems
  • Treating colic in human infant babies
  • Treating physical issues arising from arthritic pain

Besides these uses, catnip is commonly known for being essential for cat bliss. The herb contains oils and acids that cause a stimulative reaction in your cat’s brain. A chemical known as nepetalactone is the primary cause of why your cat becomes crazy for catnip.

When your feline eats catnip, it can act as a light sleeping pill. However, when your dog sniffs catnip, your cat will react by excitedly rolling around, cheerfully meowing, and rubbing up against any nearby objects.

The Effects of Catnip

If your feline reacts to catnip, they can behave in various ways. Various behaviors can be triggered by nepetalactone. That means your cat might behave differently than other felines you have given catnip before.

The effects of catnip during the duration it lasts for may include:

  • Rolling around the floor
  • Rubbing against the floor, furniture, or other objects
  • Doing somersaults and flips
  • Frequent vocalization and meowing
  • Jumping around and quick running
  • Agitation and hyperactivity
tabby cat savoring catnip in the garden
Image Credit: Badon Hill Studio, Shutterstock

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How to Give Your Cat Catnip

Catnip is a versatile plant that comes in various forms. If catnip positively impacts your kitty, while you can use it as an occasional treat or a training aid. Here are a few different ways you can give your cat catnip.

1. Catnip Toys

Yeowww! Catnip Yellow Banana Toy

Toys are one of the best ways for your kitty to enjoy catnip since they can deliver it in various ways.

Catnip toys may include scratchers, refillable plushies, or balls. This enables you to add fresh catnip frequently to the toys and build a more robust experience for your furry friend. You can often stuff the toys with catnip flakes since these are the most accessible to deposit into a toy.

Or else, you can deliver the catnip to your cat using a roll-on toy that works the same as sprays. You can roll the catnip directly into any surface, such as usual toys, and observe your feline go crazy.

Examples of catnip toys you can use include Yeowww! Catnip Yellow Banana, Frisco Basic Plush Mice Cat Toy, and OurPets Catnip 24 Karat Cat Toy.


2. Catnip Bubbles

OurPets Catnip Bouncy Bubbles Cat Toy

Catnip bubbles such as OurPets Catnip Bouncy Bubbles and Pet Qwerks Incredibubbles are an enjoyable and interactive way to give catnip to your furry friend. You can observe them enjoy the effects while also providing the catnip easy and exciting way.

Cats are naturally curious about moving objects, so puffing a catnip bubble towards their direction will trigger their instincts. When the cat bursts the bubbles, it will experience the effects of catnip in a safe and stimulating manner.

Catnip bubbles enhance a healthy balance of exercise and fun and are also one of the most vital types of catnip available since the bubbles are made from catnip oil.


3. Catnip Treats

Friskies Party Mix Natural Yums Catnip Flavor Cat Treats

Catnip treats are a popular type of mint that makes it easy to reward your feline for good behavior with a mixture of flavor and fun.

Various treat brands offer catnip treats, which help you pick the amount of catnip you want your cat to receive. Depending on the kind of delicacy you offer, your cat may experience the excited or sleepy side of catnip, the mellow, or the social effects.

Most catnip treats will cause your cat to make more purrs and meows since they cannot resist the combination of deliciousness and the chemical reaction that leaves them in high spirits.

Catnip treats may come in rolled catnip tubes, chewable foods, catnip sticks, or even in the form of cat grass kits that you can plant right on your lawn.

Examples of catnip treats you can give your cat include Temptations Mixups Catnip and Friskies Party Mix Natural Yums.


4. Catnip Sprays

spraying Petlinks Bliss Mist Catnip Spray

Catnip spray, like Petlinks Bliss Mist Catnip Spray, is an intensive form the intoxicating herb that will drive your feline crazy when you use it on their bedding, toys, or furniture. When your cat discovers the scent, it will go wild for it.

Your kitty may try to inhale or lick at the catnip wherever you have used the spray. The time the sprays’ effect last on your cat depends on the brand and quality you are using.

Catnip spray will last for about half a year from the first time you open and use it. You can use the spray alongside catnip leaves or flakes, or other products to optimize the fun for your cat.

Or else, you can make your catnip spray by boiling catnip leaves and flakes in hot water and steeping it just like tea. When the tea cools, you can pour it into a spray bottle and use it just like commercially bought spray.


5. Live Plants

cat rolling around in catnip
Image Credit: Kassel95, Pixabay

If you want to give your feline catnip in its natural form, then the best way to do so is by adding a live catnip plant to your home.

The live plant, called catmint or nepeta, is harmless for your kitty to inhale, ingest, or rub up against it. Nepeta is a green herb that typically blossoms in white, blue, pink, or purple colors. Catnip is attractive and produces a soft aroma that will quickly allure your cat.

In addition, the live catnip plant is relatively easy to grow and keep alive. This means that even if you are not an experienced gardener, it is easy to care for catmint, and it can offer numerous benefits to your feline.

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Final Thoughts

Catnip oil is a natural ingredient that is a fun addition to your cat’s life. Catnip can enhance your cat’s energy, boost their mood, and even soothe their fragile kitty instincts.

However, remember to give your feline catnip in moderation to prevent habituation, and try mixing up the ways you expose your cat to the herb. You can even try out some of the unique effects the plant has to offer on humans or your dog.

But before allowing your kitty to eat catnip or any plant, it is advisable to consult your vet.


Featured Image Credit: Seattle Cat Photo, Shutterstock

Oliver Jones

Oliver (Ollie) Jones - A zoologist and freelance writer living in South Australia with his partner Alex, their dog Pepper, and their cat Steve (who declined to be pictured). Ollie, originally from the USA, holds his master's degree in wildlife biology and moved to Australia to pursue his career and passion but has found a new love for working online and writing about animals of all types.