The effects usually last about 5-15 minutes. Even though the cat may display these behaviors, the response occurs through the olfactory system. Once the cat has had his fill, he will walk away from it. A cat will not respond again to catnip for at least a couple of hours.
Not all cats respond to catnip. The catnip response is hereditary. 3 of the cats lack this gene. Additionally, kittens less than three months old don’t respond to catnip and often even show an aversion. With many kittens, the response doesn’t even occur until they’re almost six months old. Many elderly cats may not show much of a response as well.
The euphoric state produced by catnip is safe and you don’t have to worry about kitty getting hooked. First, if exposed to catnip too often, there is a risk of your cat losing his ability to respond to it. That would be a very sad consequence, so it’s recommended that you provide catnip no more than once a week. Don’t leave catnip toys hanging around the house all the time. Instead, keep them in tightly sealed containers when not in use. In a multicat household, that can create a challenge if one cat who is on his catnip high, starts in with too much rough play.
The first time you give catnip to a male cat in a multicat household, my recommendation is to do it in a separate room so you can see what kind of reaction he has. It won’t take long before you can easily evaluate what kind of response each of your cats will have. Some will become extremely playful, some will drool, others get very vocal and some will just roll back and forth in a euphoric state. Either way, it’s as much fun for you to just watch your cat totally enjoying himself without a care in the world. When buying dried catnip, look at the packaging and try to find brands that state they use only leaves and blossoms. Companies that put use lots of stems aren’t as good.
To ensure you’re getting the best catnip possible, try growing and drying your own. Of course, it can be very difficult to grow fresh catnip without kitty getting into it before harvesting time. Cats easily pick up on the catnip scent so don’t grow catnip outdoors unless you want every cat in the neighborhood to visit your backyard. Catnip will also easily take over your garden. I think some of the lower priced catnip-filled toys aren’t really filled with catnip at all. If you’ve bought some catnip toys and your cat doesn’t show a reaction, it might be a poor quality product.
Before giving up and assuming that you have a cat who doesn’t have the catnip response gene, invest in some good quality catnip and see what happens. I buy plain old fuzzy toy mice and keep them in a sealed container filled with top quality dried catnip. It’s cheaper than buying catnip-filled toys and they can be marinated over and over again. You can even fill the tip of a sock with catnip and put a knot on the end. There are so many ways to use catnip. Hint: When using dried catnip, rub it between your hands before giving it to your cat to release the volatile oil.
Don’t just view catnip as an opportunity for your cat to swing from the chandelier and act goofy. It can be a powerful behavior modification tool to help with many feline behavior challenges you might be facing. Whenever we’re having a party at our house and I place my cat in the bedroom for safety, I let her have a little catnip party in there so she can have some fun and then sleep it off. In this new book, Pam answers 150 of the most-asked cat behavior questions. Please note that Pam is unable to answer questions posted in the comment section. If you have a question about your cat’s behavior, you can find information in the articles on our website as well as in Pam’s books. If you have a question regarding your cat’s health, please contact your veterinarian. Permalink to How Often Should My Cat Poop? How Often Should My Cat Poop? Your email address will not be published. Permalink to Is Your Cat Stressed Out? Is Your Cat Stressed Out? Pam Johnson-Bennett is the best-selling author of 8 books on cat behavior. She starred in the Animal Planet UK series Psycho Kitty, and is one of the most popular and sought-after cat behavior experts in the world. Knocking things off tables seems to be a favorite feline behavior.