Why do most cats love catnip so much? The answer lies in the essential oil of the plant. It contains a chemical that cats love to roll in, scratch whatever surface it is on or chew objects with catnip on them. This effect lasts for only a few minutes, maximum half an hour, after which the cat is exhausted from this intense smell and needs a break of a couple of hours before it can get high again. You can use it when you want your feline friend to rediscover an old toy or put the scratching post to good use.
Another plant, which contains the same amazing essential oil, is tartarian honeysuckle. You can often see small pieces of honeysuckle wood in cat toys to encourage them to play. In America, this plant is considered a harmful weed, so if you ever come across it, feel free to harvest it. Your cat and local farmers will thank you.
Some of our purrfect overlords do not react to catnip. Why is that? Research has shown that about 1 in 3 cats does not react to catnip. Most cats have a genetic predisposition for their love of all things catnip, but if your cat is part of this 33% where catnip just does not cut it, fear not, there is always valerian. Now, I know what you are thinking: “wait a minute, is valerian that poisonous plant?” The truth is that valerian is commonly used to improve sleep, reduce stress and anxiety. For us humans, it functions as a sedative. However, it has proven to be a cat attractant, similar to catnip. Valerian is not available freshly chopped like catnip, but you can find valerian sprays, treats or even capsules to help your cat get through stressful moments.
Fun Fact: Roaches hate catnip! Not only will your cat love you for using catnip, but you will never face a roach invasion as long as you have catnip in the house.
Want to buy some catnip for your cats but don’t know where to start? Here we’ve picked out 10 top rated catnip products for your cats.
Top Picks Comparison
Top 10 Picks
Yeowww! Organic Catnip
First off, we have this high-quality fresh catnip. It comes from the most potent parts of the plant: the leaves and flowers. It is organic and all natural, so you can use it without worrying about any unwanted effects or hidden ingredients. The plants are fresh, chopped and ready to use. Be aware that because this catnip is very potent, you should start with much less than other commercially available catnip products. You can use it by rubbing it in your hands first to release the oils, and then sprinkle in food, rub on a scratching post or stuff inside a toy… whatever your cat likes most. If your kitty does not react to this high quality, concentrated catnip, then you should try one of the alternatives mentioned above.
- Package lasts a long time because small amounts do wonders
- Can be used in cat toys, food, cat tree
- Messier than spray or pellet products
Temptations Mixups Catnip Fever Cat Treats
If you are wondering how to give your cat a tiny amount of catnip, just to try it out, these treats are just the thing for you. They come in three different package sizes, so you can buy the smallest size to try out and if your cat loves it, order a big one! There are three flavors of treats in the bag, catnip being one of them, so you might want to pick out a few catnip treats alone for your feline gourmet’s taste test. If your cat does not like them, there are always the other two flavors, chicken and cheddar, for your cat to enjoy. The treats are crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside, which helps control tartar and does a bit of scrubbing for your cat’s teeth. There is no artificial flavoring in these treats and they contain actual catnip powder. You can use a few treats to add a bit of new flavor to your cat’s regular dry food if your cat has been eating less to encourage appetite
- Useful for catnip beginners
- Improvement to your cat’s dental hygiene
- Three flavors in each pack
Pet Craft Supply Premium Potent Catnip
Pet Craft is another great company that sells fresh, high quality catnip. The catnip is from the USA, from growing the plants to processing and shipping, so in addition to getting a great product, you are supporting American agriculture. It contains no pesticides, so there is absolutely no health risk for your cat. There are no added chemicals, taste enhancers or fillers; it is pure and potent catnip that your cat will appreciate. This catnip comes in a large 3 oz pack, so it is great value for the price. The container is, of course, resealable, so you will not have to worry about loss of scent due to air exposure. This catnip is ideal for a family that uses catnip often for more than one cat, as it is too much for one kitty to use up before it goes stale. With this catnip, you will get the most bang for your buck, but make sure you can use up such a large amount before you decide to try it out
- All natural, organic catnip
- Best package size for multi-cat homes
- Great price for the amount
Scoot & Newts Dried Catnip Flowers
This catnip is not fresh and chopped leaves and flowers; it is dried flowers of the catnip plant. What makes this product special is that you can purchase the traditional chopped variety, but also fine powder in a shaker or a grinder with the flowers in it. The grinder will help you spread a fresh layer of catnip in your cat’s food on special days or directly sprinkle it over toys. The shaker works in a very similar way with the added benefit that it holds three times as much catnip as the shaker. If your cat loves the dried flowers, you will never run out of fragrant blooms because they also sell refills for the shaker and grinder. If you find little black spots in your package of flowers, do not worry, those are just catnip seeds, nothing to worry about. Overall, getting only catnip flowers will get you the strongest dried catnip you can find
- Strongest catnip flowers, no leaves or stems
- Does not suffer loss of scent
- Grinder, shaker or loose flowers
BioFinest Catnip Essential Oil
This is the real stuff, folks. Do you want the strongest possible, 100% undiluted catnip you can use in a diffuser or aroma lamp or lightly dab on some cat toys and cat tree? Then look no further, BioFinest got this covered. A word of warning though, since this is 100% concentrate of your cat’s dreams and playtime, use it very carefully and sparingly, so this dream does not turn into a nightmare. If you have a diffuser toy for your kitty, or just a regular aroma lamp, you can use this oil to calm your cat in stressful situations. The smell will be mild and calming and will not have that big kick your cat gets from fresh catnip. If you dab a tiny drop on the scratching post however, the scent will be very concentrated in the area where you rubbed it. This will be as good as (or better) rubbing fresh catnip would be.
- Undiluted source of your cat’s fun time
- Easy to apply in various concentrations
- Lasts a long time without going bad
Greenies Feline Dental Catnip Treats
Greenies make these wonderful catnip flavored dental treats. They have the delicious mix of catnip flavor and taurine, but not only that. They are made specifically to help your cat fight tartar and plaque buildup and have healthy teeth even into old age. They can be used as a rare treat, but your cat can enjoy them daily, because they are packed with vitamins and minerals. Whoever said you could not train cats to do tricks obviously never tried the right treats. With these catnip treats, your cat will not leave you alone and do anything you want, just to get another one. In addition to frequent company, what you will get out of this is no more bad breath. These treats may smell delicious, but they will also make your cat’s breath smell great and love you. If it is the active and playful use of catnip you are after, you can hide these treats in toys to provide an extra fun challenge for your furry friend.
- Catnip and taurine will give your cat the happy zoomies
- Eliminates bad breath and plaque
- Finest ingredients, very nutritious
Kong Naturals Catnip Spray
If you do not want the mess of catnip flakes around the house, this potent catnip spray will be your new best friend. You simply shake it before use so you do not get very mild sprays and crazy intense sprays (think unshaken orange juice bottle) and voila! Spray it anywhere you want your cats to play, scratch or both and they definitely will. Do note that you have to spray it only on the surfaces you want them to hang out on, because if you are spraying say a scratching post and get some of the carpet, the carpet will be the new scratching post until the spray dissipates (we’ve been there, don’t repeat our mistakes!). The spray incorporates catnip essential oil and binding liquids, so it is not as concentrated as freshly chopped catnip, but you are getting only the chemical that your cat craves, without the mess
- Easy to wipe off unlike flakes
- Potent catnip spray
- Requires careful aim when spraying!
Cat-Tastrophe Catnip Spray
Another high quality catnip spray is from the brand Cat-Tastrophe. This spray is potent, organic and contains no chemicals that could harm your furry friends. The difficulty with sprays is that most are very weak and diluted and do not work as well as fresh catnip leaves, but this spray is naturally strong and always works on catnip-loving kitties. If your cat has very sensitive skin or allergies to any plants, this catnip spray is a risk-free alternative to using catnip leaves and flowers. It is concentrated catnip essential oil, so your cat will chase invisible mice and roll around, but without the risk of coming into contact with pollen. If you are still concerned that your cat could have a bad reaction, spray the catnip on an object you can easily remove and make sure to keep a window open so the smell dissipates faster.
- 100% natural and chemical-free
- No pollen, no allergic reactions
- Very strong catnip smell
From The Field Catnip Spray
Since we have already introduced From The Field, we would like to show you the catnip spray they make. It is made using the same careful selection of mature, blooming plants for the maximum amount of essential oil in the harvest. Because of this, you can be sure that what you are buying is not just any fragrant rip-off, but the best catnip from a specialized company. Their catnip is ethically sourced, which contributes to the higher price tag. However, you have to ask yourself if you are willing to spend a few extra dollars for a high quality, potent product that was harvested with utmost care for the planet and all the life on it. As with the previous sprays on this list, we would like to warn you to watch where you spray, because your cat will most likely scratch that area for at least an hour, possibly days.
- Strongest catnip spray
- All natural ingredients
- No animal habitats were destroyed in the making of this spray
From The Field Catnip Pellets
From The Field is an American company dedicated to protecting our planet from deforestation and pollution. They also sell valerian for kitties that don’t react to catnip! These catnip pellets are made using catnip from Washington state, all natural and potent. Only mature, blooming plants are used to make these pellets to ensure the maximum amount of essential oil is present. You are guaranteed to get a fresh product with a lovely smell because the plants are processed right after being harvested. So what are catnip pellets used for exactly? Two words: toy stuffing. Your cat will adore any hacky sack or mouse you stuff with these pellets and play with it for months! The pellets are better than chopped catnip because you will not get dust and dried leaf bits falling all over your carpet as your finicky feline murders the toy, on a daily basis. The pellets are leaves and flowers compressed very tightly, so it would take lots of soaking and chewing to make them come apart and get messy. In fact, some cats may even prefer to chew on the pellets endlessly when given the chance.
- No forests were cut down for this catnip
- No flaking or falling apart
- Strongest catnip pellets
Can catnip harm my cat?
Definitely not! If you use catnip as a treat and do not spray or throw it around every day, your feline overlord has no chance of getting hurt. The only possibility is that if you overuse it, your cat will become desensitized to it and it will no longer have those awesome effects. As a chemical present in plants naturally, catnip is not toxic or poisonous. A completely different story, however, are the other ingredients in the catnip you are buying. Always make sure to buy organic and pesticide-free catnip!
If you have catnip in your garden or found some in the wild, double check that your neighbors do not spray pesticides in their garden, or there is not a field nearby where pesticides are used. Another problematic factor could be the texture and leaves of the catnip plant. If your cat is very sensitive or allergic, I highly recommend using catnip spray, pellets or treats as opposed to the raw plant itself.
Why does my cat only react to one brand of catnip?
There could be several reasons for this, but the most common one is simply catnip strength. With fresh, cut catnip leaves and flowers, you have maximum potency and smell for your cat to enjoy. If you forget the catnip in a drawer or do not use it up before it dries out. Despite what many companies claim, your fresh catnip will not stay fresh forever. Once it has dried, all those wonderfully smelling oils are gone and your cat will no longer be interested in it, so always keep it in an airtight container.
Another factor is the composition of the spray or pellets you are using. If a catnip product price seems too good to be true, it probably is. Low-end catnip products contain much less essential oil in their mix to reduce production costs. The catnip smell will be very faint and your cat will be lulled to sleep unlike with high concentrations of catnip.
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