dried catnip

Does Dried Catnip Excite Your Kitty?

If you’re a cat owner, you’re probably already familiar with catnip. But did you realize there are so many different catnip products out there?

That’s right! Catnip goes beyond just a plant. This versatile cat favorite can come in pouches, sticks, buds, oil, and even sprays!

But which of these catnip products is best? It’s really up to your personal preference, but each one has its own pros and cons.

This is where we come in to help. In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about each of these catnip products, so you can make an informed decision for your own kitty.

catnip plant

What is Catnip?

Experienced cat owners may give lots of different answers to this question. We’ve heard everything from “A relaxation supplement” to “My cat’s favorite drug,” so what actually is catnip?

Simply put, catnip is a plant related to mint. Catnip grows tiny bulbs all over its leaves and stems containing nepetalactone, the active compound that cats love. When cats play with or chew on catnip, these bulbs burst, releasing the compound.

is catnip safe?

Is Catnip Safe?

Yes, catnip is considered safe for cats. However, you should be informed before running to your local pet store for a dozen new catnip toys.

Though catnip is considered safe for both cats and kittens, too much of anything can be harmful. Too much catnip has been shown to cause diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and coordination difficulties in cats. So be sure to limit this treat with your kitties… less is more!

catnip effects

How Does Catnip Affect Cats?

It doesn’t take much catnip to affect your cat. When exposed to catnip, you may notice behaviors such as:

  • Purring

  • Rubbing

  • Rolling

  • Zoning out

  • Heightened playfulness

The actual result is said to be somewhere between a marijuana high and an LSD acid trip. Don’t be worried though, the effects of catnip usually only last around 10 minutes. After this, your cat will slowly go back to normal (if you can call them normal).

If you give your cats catnip regularly, you may notice that they become less sensitive to it over time. That’s because they’re building a tolerance to it. This isn’t an issue, but it is something to keep in mind if you want them to stay sensitive to it! We only give our cats catnip once or maybe twice a week.

catnip benefits

Typical Catnip Benefits for Your Kitty

The unique part about catnip is that its active compound acts like feline pheromones. So depending on your cat, it could work as a sedative or a stimulant. Because of this, we recommend introducing it to your cat in a small dose before giving them a bigger amount.

Generally, catnip can help reduce the following in cats:

  • Stress and anxiety

  • Bloating

  • Swelling and inflammation

  • Pain

We do urge a note of caution here: catnip is not a replacement for regular medicine for your cat. If you believe your cat is sick or in pain, always bring them to the vet for a full assessment before turning to supplements like catnip.

catnip types

Types of Catnip Products

There are actually several different options besides the regular dried catnip to offer your kitty. If you would like to give your little furball something out of the ordinary, then give these catnip products a try.

Dried Catnip

Dried catnip is often considered the most common type of catnip product. This is what you get when catnip leaves are dried and crumbled up, easy for your cat to chew on. They may smell it, chew it, swallow it, or simply roll in it.

Dried catnip is often found in bottles at the store or already stuffed inside catnip toys. Many catnip toys come with a refillable pouch, so you can simply add in fresh catnip whenever needed.

Pros:

  • Affordable

  • Easy to find

  • Versatile – can be used both with and without toys

Cons:

  • Messy if not contained in a toy

  • May be too powerful for sensitive cats

  • Loses potency over time

Top 3 Brands We Like:

  • SmartyKat

  • Yeowww!

  • From the Field

Catnip Sticks

Catnip sticks are newer to the catnip scene, but they’re getting more popular by the day. These sticks are actually made from the stems of catnip plants, giving your cat a new way to enjoy their favorite houseplant!

These sticks are dried similar to dried catnip, but their strength makes them great for cats to chew on. Over time, this chewing can even clean their teeth, leading to improved oral health!

Keep in mind that any teething sessions with catnip sticks should always be supervised. You don’t want your cat to accidentally ingest a broken stick!

Pros:

  • Affordable

  • Less messy than dried catnip

  • Help clean your cat’s teeth

  • Just as potent as catnip leaves

Cons:

  • Not fun for cats who don’t chew

  • Risk for your cat to swallow sharp stick pieces

  • Not as many brands to choose from

Top 3 Brands We Like:

  • From the Field

  • Meowijuana

  • Naturals by Rosewood

Catnip Buds

If your cat is a catnip connoisseur, you may want to try out some catnip buds. Catnip buds are the most potent catnip product out there beyond fresh catnip, so it isn’t for the weak!

Catnip buds are created by drying out the full buds of the catnip plant. This is the most fragrant part of the plant, so these have a much greater effect on cats who get their paws on them.

Because they come in a full bud, they’re less messy up-front than the crushed kind, and it’s easier to distribute to your cats.

Pros:

  • Less messy than ordinary dried catnip

  • Most potent dried catnip product

  • Easier portion sizing

  • May be more effective for cats desensitized to ordinary dried catnip

Cons:

  • Can be more expensive

  • May be too strong for some cats

Top 3 Brands We Like:

  • Meowijuana

  • Yeowww!

  • Litterbox.com

Catnip Oil

The most unique product on this list is catnip oil. Catnip oil is created by distilling from the leaves and flowers of catnip plants to put nepetalactone in a liquid form.

If you get pure catnip oil, this product is highly concentrated. Giving it to your cat as is may cause symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea, so it has to be diluted before you can give it to them.

Catnip oil is great because you can easily add it to your cat’s food or a treat if you’re using it as a supplement for anxiety or pain management. It’s also less messy than other types, because you only need a little bit of it at once.

However, some cats aren’t a fan of the smell of distilled catnip oil, so it may not work for all cats.

Pros:

  • One bottle lasts a long time

  • Less messy than dried catnip

  • Easiest way to use as a health supplement

Cons:

  • Must be diluted before use

  • Not all cats like it

  • Can be harder to find in the store

Top 3 Brands We Like:

  • Meowijuana

  • From the Field

  • Kong Naturals

Catnip Spray

Finally, the last product on our list is catnip spray. While some catnip sprays are sold pre-made, you can also easily make your own if you have catnip oil (see above) at home.

Catnip spray is made by diluting catnip oil in another solution, such as water or other oils. This makes the catnip smell less potent, making it safe for your cats to enjoy.

You can spray catnip spray on really anything, from cat toys to cat beds. Whatever your cat wants, really, just don’t spray it on them!

Because catnip spray is much less potent than other products on this list, it may not work for all cats. However, it’s a good choice for cats that are more sensitive.

Pros:

  • Easy to find

  • Affordable

  • Can be sprayed on (almost) anything

  • Good for sensitive kitties

Cons:

  • May not be effective for all cats

  • Some sprays may leave behind a residue

Top 3 Brands We Like:

  • SmartyKat

  • Kong Naturals

  • Meowijuana

Final Thoughts

There are lots of different options out there when it comes to catnip. It’s ultimately up to you to pick out the right one for your cat!

Before choosing a product, consider your cat’s sensitivity level, experience level, and individual health needs. This information, along with the guide above, can help you choose a product that’s right for both of you.

Have you noticed your cat doing any weird (or funny) behaviors while enjoying catnip? Check out our article on Common Cat Behaviors to see exactly what they mean.

Thanks to Lex Leigh for This Article!

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