Catnip: The Truth About This Mysterious Mint

Posted May 14, 2009


How and why this special herb drives your kitty crazy (hint: it’s not a drug!)

If you have a cat, you’ve no doubt heard of catnip and the effects it can have on feline behavior. You may be wondering whether it’s safe to give your cat catnip, whether it may be addictive, and whether it’s worth having your home turned upside down!


Well, you can take a deep breath and relax, because catnip is completely harmless for your cat. In fact, catnip is a naturally grown member of the mint family. It seems that cats have a special genetic disposition to this plant, which can change their mood and behavior, causing them to become anywhere from highly active to completely mellow, and some cats are not affected at all. Cats that do respond to catnip may sniff it, roll in it, and eat it, and when catnip is placed inside a toy or bed, make playing even more fun. You will have to introduce catnip to your cat to find out what sort of reaction she has.

Two sizes of organically grown catnip Catnip - available in an herb jar so you can shake some out.

For indoor cats, especially, catnip can be a very healthy addition to their lives. By ingesting catnip (up to one tablespoon per day), your indoor cat gets a bit of the greens she needs to stay healthy that outdoor cats consume on their prowls. Also, if your cat gets frisky when playing with catnip, it can also give her a bit more exercise to help keep her fit.


As a cat owner, there are a few things to keep in mind when purchasing catnip. The first is to look for catnip that only has leaves and flowers as part of its makeup. Catnip stems do not give any effect, and some companies even put fillers in their packages to bulk up their product. You don’t want to pay for something that will do your cat no good!


The other thing to look for is catnip that is certified to be pesticide free. You don’t want to be giving your cat unknown chemicals along with her healthy dose of ‘nip. West Paw Design offers an array of choices when it comes to pure, pesticide free catnip.


For your basic catnip needs, check out our USDA Certified Organic Catnip Leaf, available in two sizes .75 oz. for $2.95 or 1.5 oz. for $4.95 in resealable zippered bags. If your kitty is one that can’t get enough of the ‘nip and likes to help himself, consider our Catnip Shaker, .75 oz. for $5.95, is a cat-proof plastic spice jar that lets you easily dispense the catnip whenever you choose. Finally, don’t forget our full line of catnip cat toys which use the same high-quality catnip to entice your cat to play hard!

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