At What Age Can Cats Have Catnip

At What Age Can Cats Have Catnip?

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Last Updated on May 23, 2023 by Pauline G. Carter

Cats can have catnip as early as 3 months old. Catnip is a perennial herb that is also known as catmint, catwort, and field balm.

It contains a compound called nepetalactone, which is a natural stimulant for cats. When cats smell or ingest catnip, they often display several behaviors, such as rolling, rubbing, and even jumping around. However, not all cats are sensitive to its effects, and some may even avoid it altogether.

As a cat owner, it is essential to know when cats can have catnip. This article will discuss the suitable age for cats to start experiencing catnip and what you should expect when introducing it to your furball. So, let’s get started!

At What Age Can Cats Have Catnip?


Understanding Catnip

At What Age Can Cats Have Catnip?

Catnip is a herb that is famous for its effects on cats. Cat owners love to watch their feline friends get all playful and happy after consuming catnip. However, before introducing catnip to your kitty, it is crucial to know all about it.

This post will dive deep into understanding catnip, its effects on cats, and whether it is safe for them or not.

Definition Of Catnip

Catnip, scientifically known as nepeta cataria, is a herb that belongs to the mint family. It contains a chemical compound called ‘nepetalactone,’ which is responsible for the plant’s unique scent and the euphoric effect it has on cats. The scent of catnip is irresistible to most cats.

When they consume it, they roll on the ground, purr, and play with anything around them.

What Happens When Cats Consume Catnip?

When cats consume catnip, they go through a four-stage reaction, which is as follows:

  • Smelling: The first reaction is when cats sense the scent of catnip. The scent makes the cat sniff, lick, and bite any part of the plant they can find.
  • Rubbing: After smelling the catnip, the cat rubs its head, neck, and body over the catnip. This is how they absorb the nepetalactone through their skin and fur.
  • Licking and chewing: After absorbing the catnip’s scent through their skin and fur, the cat starts to lick and chew the plant. This is when the nepetalactone enters their bloodstream through their mouth.
  • Playing and sleeping: Once the nepetalactone enters their bloodstream, cats become hyperactive and start jumping and playing around. However, after 10-15 minutes of playing, the cat becomes tired and falls asleep.

Is Catnip Safe For Cats?

Catnip is entirely safe for cats. It is neither toxic nor addictive. In fact, it is highly recommended for cats as it helps with their physical and mental health. Catnip helps kitties relax, reduce anxiety, and improve digestion. It is also known to alleviate muscle pain in cats and help them sleep better.

However, it is essential to note that not all cats react to catnip. Only 50-70% of cats are affected by its scent, and the reaction may vary from cat to cat.

Understanding catnip is crucial before introducing it to cats. It is a harmless herb that has several benefits. However, it is important to know that not all cats react to it, and it may have different effects on each cat.

Before giving your cat catnip, introduce it in small doses and watch their reaction. If your cat reacts positively, you can reward them with a little fun time. So, go ahead and let your kitty enjoy the benefits of catnip.

When Can Cats Have Catnip?

At What Age Can Cats Have Catnip?

Cats are moody creatures, and they can be picky about the things they like. However, when it comes to catnip, they all go crazy! Catnip is a herb that can induce a euphoric and mellow feeling in cats. It’s no wonder many cat owners wonder when they can start giving their feline friends catnip.

In this section, we will go over the age that cats can start having catnip, if it varies among cats, and how to know when your cat is ready to try it.

Is There A Certain Age When Cats Can Start Consuming Catnip?

Most cats reach sexual maturity between 5 to 9 months old, and that’s usually when they will start showing an interest in catnip. However, there’s no specific age when cats can start consuming catnip, and some kittens might not show any interest in it until they are a few years old.

Does The Age For Consuming Catnip Vary Among Cats?

Yes, just like humans, each cat has their own unique personality. Some cats can tolerate catnip when they’re just a few months old, while others might react strongly to it when they’re older. Some cats might not even like it at all, which is entirely normal.

The age when a cat can start consuming catnip will depend on their preferences and behavior.

How To Know When Your Cat Is Ready To Try Catnip?

It’s easy to tell when your cat is ready to try catnip. Here are some signs to look out for:

  • Your cat is at least 5 months old.
  • Your cat is healthy and not pregnant.
  • You notice that your cat is starting to show an interest in playing and exploring new things.
  • Your cat has a stable personality and is not overly anxious or stressed.
  • You introduce catnip gradually, by rubbing a small amount on their toys or scratching post.

Catnip can be a fun and safe way to stimulate your cat’s senses. However, it’s important to keep in mind that not all cats like it, and some might not react to it at all. As a responsible cat owner, it’s best to wait until your feline friend is at least 5 months old and in good health before introducing them to catnip.

When you do introduce it, do so gradually and monitor their behavior to ensure they don’t have an adverse reaction.

Benefits And Risks Of Catnip Usage

Catnip is a herb from the mint family. This herb contains a chemical called nepetalactone and is known to give a natural high to cats, making them frisky and playful. Before using catnip, a common question that most cat owners ask is whether it is safe for their furry friend.

At what age can cats have catnip?

What Are The Benefits Of Using Catnip For Cats?

Catnip can offer several benefits to your furry friend, including:

  • It can act as a stress reliever: The chemical compound in catnip provides calmness and relaxation to your cat’s nervous system, reducing anxiety and stress levels.
  • It can act as an energy booster: Catnip also stimulates the cat’s brain by giving a euphoric feeling that can make your cat more active and playful.
  • It can aid in digestion: When your cat chews on catnip, it can help improve digestive health and alleviate stomach problems.

Can Catnip Help Overweight Cats?

While catnip doesn’t directly aid in weight loss, it can still be beneficial for overweight cats. By stimulating play and activity, catnip can encourage your cat to move more often, which may help them lose weight in the long run.

Improving Cat’S Dental Health With Catnip

Chewing on catnip can help improve your cat’s dental health by removing tartar and plaque build-up on their teeth. Some catnip toys also contain fiber that can help clean teeth and freshen breath.

Are There Any Risks Associated With Catnip Usage?

Like with anything, there are risks associated with catnip usage, including:

  • Cats with heart problems should not consume catnip as it may increase their heart rate.
  • Some cats may become aggressive or hyperactive after consuming catnip, leading to injury.
  • Too much catnip can cause vomiting and diarrhea.

Can Cats Overdose On Catnip?

Yes, it’s possible for cats to overdose on catnip. However, it is rare and typically not dangerous. Signs of catnip overdose can include vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy.

Do All Cats React Positively To Catnip?

No, not all cats react positively to catnip. About two-thirds of adult cats have a positive response to catnip, while the remaining third may show no reaction at all. Additionally, kittens under three months old do not typically respond to catnip.

Catnip can be beneficial for most cats as long as it is used in moderation and under supervision. While nepetalactone offers several benefits, it’s crucial to remember that every cat’s reaction to catnip can be different. Understanding the potential benefits and risks of catnip can assist you in determining whether this herb is appropriate for your furry friend.

Frequently Asked Questions Of At What Age Can Cats Have Catnip?

What Is Catnip And What Does It Do To Cats?

Catnip is a herb from the mint family that triggers a harmless, natural high in cats.

What Age Is Appropriate For Cats To Start Using Catnip?

Cats usually need to be at least 6 months old before they can start enjoying catnip.

How Much Catnip Should I Give My Cat?

Only a small amount of catnip is necessary for cats to elicit its effects, so use sparingly.

Is Catnip Safe For Cats To Use?

Yes, catnip is completely safe for cats to use, and it’s non-addictive.

How Often Should I Give Catnip Toys To My Cat?

It’s best to limit catnip exposure to once a week or less so that cats don’t lose interest.


The topic of catnip and its effects on felines is a fascinating one. Knowing at what age cats can have catnip is essential in ensuring your feline friend’s safety and well-being. After extensive research, we can conclude that kittens below three months should not be given catnip, while adult cats older than six months may enjoy this herb to their heart’s content.

However, it’s essential to provide catnip in moderation to avoid any adverse effects on your feline friends. Whether you grow fresh catnip plants or purchase ready-made catnip toys, keeping an eye on your cat’s reaction is crucial. Remember that not all cats react the same way, and it’s perfectly normal if your cat doesn’t show any interest in catnip at all.

The ultimate goal is to keep your cats happy, healthy, and safe, and giving them catnip in moderation can be an excellent way to bond with them.

About Author (Pauline G. Carter)

Pauline G. Carter

Pauline G. Carter is a well-known pet blogger who has written about the world of pets for several years. She is passionate about pets, from cats and dogs to birds, reptiles, and poultry. Her blog, which is updated regularly, is filled with articles and guides on pet care, nutrition, and training. She also shares her experiences and observations on pet ownership, making her blog relatable and informative for pet lovers. She is a true animal advocate and is dedicated to promoting responsible pet ownership. Let’s Go …

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