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Home > Cats > How Long Will Catnip Take to Kick In? Vet-Approved Facts & FAQ

How Long Will Catnip Take to Kick In? Vet-Approved Facts & FAQ

gray cat enjoying fresh catnip

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Dr. Tabitha Henson

Veterinarian, DVM

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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You have just given your feline some catnip. It may be their first time, and you are excited to enjoy this experience with them. Not knowing what to expect, you may be wondering how long it takes for the herb to kick in. A quick whiff or a little nibble of catnip will immediately trigger your cat’s senses, so you will see the effects instantly. Are you curious to learn more? Read on!


What Is Catnip?

Catnip is an herb related to the mint plant. The light-green foliage resembles a feather and has lavender leaves. The plant contains the chemical nepetalactone, which creates excitement in cats.

Only about 68% of cats will have a reaction to catnip. It doesn’t affect every cat, and some are just not interested. In about 10–15 minutes, the effects of the catnip will wear off. Your cat will need to wait anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours to have the experience again. If you have a cat that is not interested in catnip, try giving them silver vine.

Photo Credit: R. E. Beck, Pixabay

The Effects of Catnip on Cats

It is recommended that you give your cat dried catnip over concentrated oils. The dried plant can be smelled or eaten by your feline. The effects can be different, however. The reaction or experience can also vary depending on the individual cat.

The aroma of catnip can be intense for a cat. Their behavior will start to change immediately. They will start rubbing, flipping, rolling, being playful, or just running around. Eventually, your cat may growl or meow as they zone out. Some have been known to become aggressive or hyperactive if you approach them.

When a cat ingests the catnip, the opposite happens. They just mellow out. In moderation, catnip may be good for your cat’s digestive tract. They should not be allowed to eat large amounts, however. Ingesting too much catnip can cause them to get an upset stomach.

Cats are smart creatures and usually know when to stop. They can, however, get sick if they overindulge. If your cat has had too much catnip, they may experience trouble walking, dizziness, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Interestingly, cats are not the only animals that respond to catnip; mosquitoes and cockroaches can be affected too.

How to Use Catnip

Depending on your cat, there may be a particular way that they like their catnip.

Here are a few suggestions:
  • Grow a plant so they can enjoy fresh catnip.
  • Buy or stuff catnip in a toy.
  • Give them dried catnip.
  • Try using bubbles or sprays.
  • Roll their toys in catnip.
  • Sprinkle or spray their cat tree with catnip.

Catnip can really enrich your cat's life, especially if you choose a fun, well-built catnip toy. Our favorite option is Hepper's Catnip Stick Toy, which offers sturdy construction, 100% organic catnip fill, and a great range of colors. These toys are handmade in the USA and feature bite-proof double bagging.

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Silver Vine

Silver vine is part of the Kiwi family and is native to Japan, China, and Russia. Like catnip, silver vine creates a happy response in cats. Your cat may start licking and rolling. They may also become hyperactive or sedated.

It’s commonly used in Asian countries, and the reaction exhibited by the cat is sometimes called the “matatabi dance,” meaning “travel again” in Japanese. You can give your cat silver vine in sticks, powders, and sprays.

tabby cat savoring catnip in the garden
Photo Credit: Badon Hill Studio, Shutterstock


In Summary

It’s so much fun to watch your cat enjoying their little “high” after ingesting or sniffing catnip. They are being stimulated while you are being entertained by their behaviors. It’s 10 minutes of fun for both of you! While catnip is a safe and harmless treat, you should always seek the advice of your vet before giving catnip to your pet.

Featured Image Credit: Anna Hoychuk, Shutterstock

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