Catnip: Why Some Love It And Some Don’t Even Care

cats and catnip

Catnip – the recreational herb for your cat. You know you’ve spent money on those mouse-like toys filled with dried catnip leaves just for the entertainment to see the reaction from your feline friend and it can be a real bummer if they have zero response at all. Do you know why cats act crazy on catnip and some don’t care at all?

why do cats love catnip

My cat is crazy about catnip!

The response your cat is having can almost be described as euphoric. They run around like a mad man, vocalize, rub all over or dig at the leaves and some may even salivate. Some may even have a response of looking happy and totally chilled out.

The response from the oil in the plant is called Nepetalactone which triggers certain receptors in their brains, think of this as “happy pheromones,” that in turn, tell that cat to act absolutely ecstatic. However, the entertaining response doesn’t last long term. In fact, a typical catnip high only lasts for about ten minutes, but after a couple of hours, it can return if the cat is exposed to the plant again.

Interesting catnip fact: There are more than 250 species of catnip around the world today.

why do cats love catnip?

Why doesn’t my cat like catnip?

If your cat does not respond to catnip like the main character on YouTube, don’t worry, it’s not uncommon to have a cat that doesn’t seem to care for catnip. It’s interesting that the response to catnip is hereditary, so if your cat’s parents didn’t care for catnip, you can probably bet that your cat doesn’t have the gene to go crazy for it either. Studies show that only about 70-80% of the cat population carries the gene to go catnip crazy.

Age also plays a part in not caring for catnip. Kittens less than six months old are not finished mentally and physically developing so they aren’t sure if they want to join the party or not. Older cats usually don’t care for the happy plant either.

It’s also possible that your cat has had too much catnip in their time and is now immune to the psychological effects it has on them. In other words, they are literally burnt out.


In the end, it’s up to you to see if your cat responds to catnip like they are on a hallucinating trip. Using fresh catnip instead of dried leaves can increase the chance of a response. The plant is also easy to grow, it belongs to the mint family. It also has a certain smell to it and can grow up to 4 feet tall. Catnip is completely harmless to your cat. The plant strictly triggers euphoric responses in the brain so they can’t become sick from it or end up brain dead.

Catnip can be a fun treat for your feline friend. Although it has a short-term effect, it makes them happy and run around for exercise or just feel chilled out. However, if your cat doesn’t take a liking to catnip, don’t worry they aren’t defective, they may not have the catnip gene!

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