Catnip is a great way to give your cats extra motivation to play or give them a special treat. It can come packaged in a variety of ways, and each one offers different advantages and disadvantages and offers a unique experience that will suit different types of cats.
The best catnip is catnip that gives your cat an overwhelming sense of happiness. It should be potent and smell faintly like mint to human nostrils. Since it’s an actual plant, it can also die like a natural plant. If your catnip is limp or doesn't smell good, then it won’t do anything for your cat.
Aside from the actual catnip plant, there are multiple ways to give catnip to your cat with a variety of products. Five of the best products for giving catnip are listed below.
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6 Best Catnip Products
The following list includes five diverse catnip products that can each provide different experiences for your cat.
Best Catnip Spray: KONG Naturals Catnip Spray for Cats
KONG Naturals Catnip Spray is made with concentrated catnip oil for maximum fun. Our oil is steam-distilled from the finest North American catnip, creating the most potent catnip oil available.
For irresistible cat fun, shake well and spray on toys, teasers, scratchers or cat condos. KONG Naturals are ecologically responsible cat products. All ingredients and oils come from natural, renewable resources.
These products are designed to appeal to the natural instincts of your cat, so they are fun with a purpose. Your cat will love you for it.
One of the unconventional methods of giving cats a catnip fix is by spraying it all over their belongings, including:
- Cat Trees
- Cat Scratches
- Cat Condos
The KONG Naturals Catnip Spray for Cats comes packaged in a convenient spray bottle that makes it easy to give your cat a small catnip fix on almost anything you chose. There aren’t any questionable or unnatural ingredients included in the spray, but it still lasts for a very long time. It can last up to two months and still give cats the sensation of happiness.
One of the most popular uses of this product is to curb your cat's habit of scratching and biting at your furniture. Simply spray it on something that you don’t mind your cat scratching and biting at, such as the items on the list above. Over time, your cat will start preferring to bite and scratch at the item you sprayed, leaving your furniture neat and scratch and bite free.
It’s also a much cleaner and time saving alternative to the traditional shredded catnip. With traditional catnip, you have to sprinkle a measured amount on the item you want, and it can spread to other areas of the house you didn’t want it to go.
The spray offers an easy way to pump out a small amount of catnip on the item you want. The shredded catnip can also be too harsh on a cat's stomach, especially if it's ingested directly. The spray makes sure that your cat still gets the effects of catnip without the chance of it negatively affecting their stomach.
What We Like
- Easy way to give your cat their catnip fix
- Not having to clean up leftover catnip
- Safer for your cat’s stomach
What We Don’t Like
- Constantly having to spray it on multiple items and surfaces
- Possible ruining of cat toys and other products
This spray is the best option if you want to give your cat their catnip fix without having to clean up a huge mess. Just make sure you don’t spray too much of it on one item, or the cat will end up destroying it.
Best Catnip Toys
There’s a wide array of toys that are designed to have catnip put into them. Depending on what your cat prefers, each toy will be better for different cats. Similar to the spray, you can also use catnip toys to make your cat more attracted to different things to curb their habits of scratching and biting.
SmartyKat Catnip Cat Toys
Aside from the delightful pun in the product name, the Smartycat Catnip Cat Toys are three soft little mice that are stuffed with catnip to make the rush of catching mice that much better for cats. They’re designed to be the perfect size for cats to bat around like balls of yarn. They can also be easily carried around to different rooms, so your cat constantly has a form of entertainment with them.
Their small size and easy portability also prevents you from having to spray a bunch of different spots in the house every two months. The catnip in these little mice can last up to six months without having to be replaced or refreshed. You can also play with your cat using these toys, which encourages bonding time for you and your cat, and is an easy way to get them to exercise.
Catnip can also cause cats’ hunting senses to skyrocket, causing them to get aggressive and hyper for a brief period of time. Fortunately, these little mice are built to last through these bouts of excitement. And if your cat takes out its energy on little mice rather than your furniture or other belongings, it’ll be better for them and for you in the long run.
The only downside of these little mice is that they can get messy. Once the catnip dies after about six months, you’ll have to refill it. This means you’ll have to buy a jar of fresh catnip and fill the mice with it yourself. If your cat happens to find the jar or disturb you while you’re filling the mice, you might find yourself vacuuming up the catnip for a few hours.
What We Like
- Small and portable size
- Catnip lasts for a long time
- Encourages playtime, exercising, and bonding time
What We Don’t Like
- Can get messy and be a pain to clean up
- Having to constantly refill it
The small and playfully designed toy holds a lot of catnip that will encourage your cat to play and exercise. If you don’t mind having to constantly refill the toys and the occasional catnip mess, these toys are a perfect cat gift.
Yeowww! Catnip Toy
Cats love the curve and the size makes it perfect for grabbing, nuzzling, and bunny kicking. Each one is stuffed completely with organically-grown catnip.
No fillers. It’s also made with a durable cotton twill fabric and uses only soy and/or vegetable based dyes that are natural and non-toxic. Yeowww!
Catnip is a quality, premium product that is sure to put the kitten back in any old puss. Get a bunch today!
Yes, that is the actual name of the product. It isn’t a funny cat pun, but it catches your attention. Thankfully, the name isn’t the only thing that is worthy of your attention about the Yeowww! Catnip Toy.
The actual toy itself is shaped like a small, yellow banana that’s filled with catnip, similar to the mice toys mentioned prior. The main differences between the mice and this banana are that it’s slightly bigger, and the texture is a little rougher.
The banana is suited more for cats that prefer to lay down and play with their toys rather than bat them or run around with them. This typically refers to older cats, maybe can’t run around as well, or are just plain lazy. The larger size also allows for more catnip to be stuffed into it, so it will keep your cat entertained longer.
The negative aspects of this toy are similar to the mice, with it being potentially messy and bothersome to clean up. But another main negative thing about this toy is that the material isn’t tough enough for how much catnip can fit into it.
The larger amount of catnip will send your cat into crazy mode, and they’ll respond by rubbing their face, claws, and teeth all over the banana, trying to get to the catnip. This can cause the banana to rip more easily, spreading the catnip everywhere and causing a potentially bigger problem.
What We Like
- Bigger size for laying down and playing
- More catnip can fit in
What We Don’t Like
- Material is fairly weak
- Material rips easily
The larger size allows for more catnip, which will keep your cat occupied for longer periods of time. But you might have to sew it up a few times if it ends up getting ripped.
Petmate FATCAT Box Cardboard Cat Scratcher
The last catnip toy on this list is something that can be fun for your cats and save you from a headache or two. The FATCAT Big Mama’s Scratchy Box Cardboard Cat Scratcher is a two in one cat toy and cat grooming tool.
Every cat owner will tell you that cutting a cat's nails is one of the most difficult and potentially dangerous parts of being a cat owner. One wrong move and you can end up with your arm looking like one of your wooden couch legs.
This cat scratching board is designed for what the name implies; for your cat to scratch. The material is designed to be torn and ripped into by your cat's sharp claws. But it’s rough enough to trim your cat's claws as it's scratching at it. It’s meant to keep your cat from scratching at the walls or the carpets and to keep their nails a healthy length without you having to intervene.
This particular cat scratcher, though, has catnip in it. The scratching pad has organic catnip in it, but the pad also has a series of tassels and cat toys that are also stuffed with catnip. The greater variety will help to keep your cat entertained for longer periods of time. Cats can sometimes get bored with playing with a toy, even if it is infused with catnip. But this toy gets rid of that problem by offering multiple forms of cat entertainment.
The only negative about this toy is that, again, you have to refill it with catnip yourself. Since it’s the biggest toy and also has many smaller toys attached to it, there’s a greater chance of the catnip getting everywhere and making a mess. But this problem can be solved by just being careful when refilling the toys with catnip.
What We Like
- Allows your cat to safely clip their nails while scratching at the toy
- Comes with multiple toys and other entertainment forms
- Keeps you from being scratched
What We Don’t Like
- Having to refill it with catnip yourself which can get messy
You can kill two birds with one stone with this cat toy, as your cat gets their catnip fix, and they walk away with freshly trimmed and healthy nails. Just be careful when your refilling the scratching board with fresh catnip to avoid having an extra mess to clean.
Best Catnip Treats
- Contains one (1) 16 oz. tub of TEMPTATIONS Classic Cat Treats Blissful Catnip Flavor
- Your adult cat can’t wait to get their paws on these scrumptious cat food treats that are crunchy on the outside and soft...
- Under 2 calories per cat treat, so you can feel good about rewarding your cat every day
- TEMPTATIONS Cat Treats are 100% nutritionally complete and balanced for adult cat maintenance and can be used as a treat,...
- Treat ’em again and again with this value-sized, resealable tub: perfect for keeping their cat paws off when you’re not...
While these treats aren't infused with much catnip, the Temptations Catnip Flavored Cat Treats offer your cat a crunchy and scrumptious catnip flavored treat that also helps them to maintain a balanced and healthy diet. At under two calories per treat and made with 100% natural ingredients, these treats still give your cat a small catnip fix while keeping them healthy and satisfied.
The treats come in an air-tight sealed tub with a closable lid that will keep the cat treats fresh for up to twelve months. As far as what’s in the treat, there are only about three grams of catnip in them. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s enough to give your cat their catnip fix. Combined with the tasty and delectable taste of the treats, your cat will love them after one bite. They also include nutrients that are necessary for a cat’s health, including:
The only negative thing about these treats is that you have to watch how many treats you give your cat. The max you can give them is about two a day for a kitten and three a day for an adult. If you give them more than that, it can result in them getting explosive diarrhea and constant vomiting.
What We Like
- Yummy treat flavor that cats love
- Not too much catnip
- Added nutritional benefits
What We Don’t Like
- Can induce diarrhea and vomiting
These cat treats are some of the most high quality treats you can get. As long as you don’t give your cat more than one or two of these treats each day, they can get a delicious catnip treat with nutritional benefits.
Best Catnip Overall
Since we’ve discussed toys that you can fill with catnip, let’s talk about the best catnip to fill them with. The top rated catnip to fill your cat's toys with is Cat Crack Catnip. The pure and premium blend catnip comes in a jar that’s measured by cups. You can get a jar that measures one cup, three cups, or 10 cups. The price increases by about ten dollars for each size you go up, so only buy the size you think is best for how often you fill your cat’s toys.
The catnip is 100% natural and freshly picked, with no added preservatives or additives that can negatively affect your cat's health. It lasts longer and stays fresher, so you don’t have to constantly keep buying tubs of it in order to have fresh catnip.
The only thing to be knowledgeable about is that you should keep the catnip tub as far out of your cat’s reach as possible. Having such a large amount of catnip in the same place as your cat can be a potential recipe for disaster. Cats can sniff it out very easily and will not hesitate to go after it.
The brand recommends keeping it somewhere high up, such as a kitchen cabinet or a closet shelf. If your cat still manages to get its paws on it, then you might have to put it under lock and key. But if you keep the lid tightly closed and the jar in a place your cat can’t get to, it should be safe.
What We Like
- Natural and fresh
- Good for your cat’s health
- Solid supply for the price
What We Don’t Like
- Can cause your cats to go crazy searching after it
- Leave a potential mess for you to clean up
This fresh and natural catnip is the best to fill your cat’s toys with and is a rather good price for how much of a supply you get. Just make sure it’s safely tucked away somewhere that your kitty can’t reach.
What is Catnip?
Even though the name and description makes catnip seem like drugs for cats, the origin of catnip (also known as “nepeta cataria”) is a perennial herb that’s actually from the mint family labiatae. It’s native to European and Central Asian areas and is a good smelling plant that cats are attracted to and gives them a feeling of happiness when they bite or “nip” at it.
The plant can grow up to three feet tall and looks like a small tree that produces brownish green leaves with saw-toothed edges. It also produces small white flowers that usually bloom in the late spring and early autumn. Aside from being harvested for cat toys, it’s also incorporated into gardens because it keeps mosquitoes away from the plants.
When your cat sniffs or nibbles on catnip, it stimulates the olfactory bulb of the cat’s brain. The olfactory bulb is responsible for sending information to multiple areas of the brain, including emotional responses and physical reactions. The stimulation of this area is what gives cats the feeling of being “high”.
Why Do Cats Like Catnip?
The ingredient in catnip that makes cats so attracted to it is called “neptalactone," which is an essential oil that can change the behavior of domestic cats. It makes them very euphoric and incredibly happy. Some other common effects of catnip include:
- Head shaking
- Body, chin, and cheek rubbing
- Aggressive behavior
These effects usually only affect a cat’s behavior for about five to ten minutes. If the cat is closer to kitten age, usually about two to four months, they might not have as much of an emotional response. But if the cat is about eight months old or older, that’s when they have the most physical and emotional response. Some cats will even vocalize and run around the house in a spastic fashion. It all depends on how old your cat is and their personality.
How Often Can I Let My Cat Have Catnip?
There’s nothing wrong with giving your cat a dose of catnip as a special treat or as a reward for being good. But if you give them too much, it can negatively affect their health and well-being. The recommended daily dose of plain catnip, whether by itself or in a treat, is no more than about three to five grams once a day.
If the catnip is stuffed into a toy or infused into a scratching pad, then it’s recommended that you only let them play with or on those toys for ten to fifteen minutes each day. If it’s a catnip spray, then just making sure you don’t spray too much on too many things the cat likes will ensure they don’t get too much.
Fortunately, your cat can’t overdose on catnip. But if they are given too much of it, then they can become desensitized to it, which makes the effects of the herb much less effective. Unfortunately, not every cat will respond so positively to the catnip's effects.
They can get aggressive or agitated and take those emotions out on your furniture or even on you in the form of scratches and bites. They can also have stomach problems in the form of diarrhea or vomiting, something that isn’t fun for you or your feline friend.
As long as you monitor how much catnip your cat has, then these problems can be easily avoidable.
How to Grow Catnip
If you want to grow your fresh catnip for your garden or give your cat the freshest and most natural high, there are many ways to do so. Just make sure you have all of the materials, such as:
- Fresh soil
- The right seeds
- The right gardening tools
After you've gathered them all, growing catnip is very similar to growing any other herb.
The best time to plant catnip in your garden is in the early spring and late fall. You can grow it from fresh seeds or cut plants, both of which you can find at your local gardening store. The herb grows best when it’s in full sunlight and planted in soft, well-drained soil that receives regular watering.
It’s recommended and fairly common to buy catnip seeds only once and then cut the plant fully down once you are ready to use it. Leave the solid stump in the soil, as you can use to grow another fully bloomed catnip plant.
But the plant doesn’t come without its less than pleasant side effects. Some variations of the catnip plant can be very invasive. They can spread out of control if you don’t take the necessary measures to keep them under control.
Fortunately, the method of doing so is fairly simple. All you have to do is pinch the plants often enough while they’re growing. This will make the catnip plant denser and take up less space.
If the plants start to bloom in areas that you didn’t plant them, they most likely have spread their seed throughout the garden. To solve this problem, you can use the same pinching technique to nip it in the bud before it spreads any further.
The last issue you must worry about is keeping stray neighborhood cats from sneaking in and stealing some of your catnip. The best way to avoid this is to install some type of enclosure around the plot of land the catnip grows on. Some common enclosures include:
- Wooden or chainlink fences
- Glass screens
- Mesh screens
- Plant box screens
There are plenty of other types of enclosures you can install, but all of them do a fairly good job of keeping unwanted cats away from your garden.
Types of Catnip
Aside from the different types of catnip toys and treats, there are five common types of catnip plants. These include:
- True Catnip (Nepetacataria)
- Greek Catnip (Nepetaparnassica)
- Camphor Catnip (Nepeta Camphorata)
- Lemon Catnip (Nepetacitriodra)
- Persian Catmint (Nepetamussinii)
True catnip is the catnip that most cats go crazy over and is also the most common type of catnip used in treats and toys. This is because it’s the easiest to take care of, and it grows and spreads fast, almost like a weed.
In addition, around seventy to eighty percent of cats react positively to it. Even though it’s the most plain looking of the catnip types, it’s the strongest smelling of the bunch and the one that your cat will enjoy inhaling or nibbling on the most.
Greek catnip is probably the fanciest catnip plant of the bunch. Also referred to as Greek catmint, this catnip plant sports the most flowers of the catnip types. It shows off stunning flowers around early spring and summer in a variety of colors, including:
Despite its appealing appearance, it doesn’t give cats as strong of a high and isn’t very potent. It still smells good because of the flowers, but it doesn’t affect cats, insects, or other animals as strongly.
Camphor catnip smells exactly as the name implies. It smells like camphor, and as a result, isn’t very popular with felines. The plant looks a lot like the true catnip plant, with the only difference being that the blossoms have purple spots rather than just being plain white. It’s more of a decorative plant like the Greek catnip, and since cats aren’t very attracted to it, it can be a lovely addition to your garden.
Lemon catnip takes after camphor catnip in that it smells exactly as the name implies, like lemons. It blooms in the late spring and shows off triangular light green leaves that smell like lemon scented essential oil.
And cats hate it because of that. It irritates their nostrils and gives them an uncomfortable burning sensation rather than a sweet smelling feeling. It’s a good plant to add sparingly to your catnip garden to keep your cat and stray cats away from it.
Finally, Persian catmint has a sweeter smelling aroma that can be compared to the smell of true catnip. The prime difference between the two is that Persian catmint isn’t as strong and smells more like fresh roses to humans rather than mint. It’s also the tallest catnip plant of the bunch and is commonly used for shading other catnip plants in gardens.
Catnip, when given in small doses, can be a delightful experience for your cat. Toys infused with catnip can encourage cats to exercise, and it motivates them to play with you more, which increases bonding time. Catnip treats can also be used to train your cat and reward them for good behavior. Overall, catnip can greatly benefit your cat’s overall health and happiness when given in controlled amounts.