At What Age Can Cats Have Catnip – Surprising Benefits

If you recently bought a cat toy with catnip without knowing it, you might be curious if your cat is old enough to have fun with it. So, when can cats start enjoying catnip?

The ideal time to introduce catnip to your cat is when they are between 6 months and a year old. While it is not harmful to kittens under six months, you usually won’t see a reaction from cats younger than that.

You don’t have to give back that toy because cats can play with them at any age. However, if your cat is younger than six months, don’t expect the catnip to have any effect on them. Now that you know when cats can have catnip, you probably have more questions about it. Let’s answer some of those questions so you can fully understand everything you need to know about your cat and catnip.

Why do cats like catnip?

Cats are fond of catnip due to the presence of nepetalactone in it. When cats smell nepetalactone, it triggers the release of endorphins, similar to what happens to a female cat in heat. This is why cats playing with catnip exhibit behaviors similar to those of a female cat in heat. In simple terms, cats enjoy catnip because it helps them feel relaxed and happy.

Next, we will discuss the various health benefits that catnip provides for cats.

What are the benefits of catnip?

There are numerous health benefits linked to smelling and eating catnip. When cats eat catnip, it can help them feel less anxious, stressed, and depressed. It can also alleviate stomach pain and bloating.

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If your cat has irritated or inflamed skin, you can use catnip to cleverly get them into a bath. Just mix a tablespoon of catnip in hot water, then pour it into a warm bath and observe as your cat eagerly jumps in!

Catnip is also a great tool for training cats. Cats can be picky about their toys, often losing interest in them quickly and resorting to scratching furniture out of boredom. However, catnip eliminates this problem. When cats catch a whiff of catnip, they become instantly happy, and your furniture will be spared. To rejuvenate old toys or a scratching post, simply sprinkle some catnip on them.

What does catnip do to kittens?

If your kitten is younger than six months, you won’t see any changes in their behavior when they encounter catnip. However, it’s also important to note that catnip is not harmful to cats at this age, so you can still give your kitten catnip toys before they reach six months.

If your kitty is over six months old, it will respond to catnip just like any other grown-up cat. Grown-up cats can either become super loving, calm, and content or really energetic and playful, resulting in zoomies.

Is catnip a drug?

No, catnip is not a drug. When your cat encounters catnip, it simply experiences a chemical reaction in its brain. This reaction is harmless and your cat cannot develop an addiction to it.

Does catnip make cats high?

Yes, in a way. When your cat sniffs or eats catnip, it can get a natural high that makes it feel really good.

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Can cats overdose on catnip?

Your cat cannot overdose on catnip and will simply stop playing with it once they’ve had enough. So, there’s no need to be concerned about your cat when it’s enjoying catnip because it won’t cause any harm. Not only will your cat be entertained, but you’ll also enjoy watching your cat become even more playful.

How often can cats have catnip?

To ensure your cat continues to enjoy the effects of catnip, it is recommended to limit their exposure to once a day. While there are no negative consequences of catnip exposure, cats can become desensitized to its effects if exposed for extended periods. Although this is not a cause for concern as it is not harmful, reducing the frequency of catnip exposure can help your cat fully experience its relaxation and benefits.

Is catnip safe for older cats?

Cats of any age can safely enjoy catnip. It is not addictive, has no negative effects, and offers numerous health benefits. However, if a cat has a nervous system disorder, it may be advisable to refrain from using catnip to prevent overstimulation.

How much catnip is dangerous for cats?

Catnip is completely safe for cats as it does not contain any harmful substances. The only potential issue is that if a cat consumes too much catnip, it may experience an upset stomach. However, cats are usually able to regulate their intake and will only enjoy the positive effects of catnip, such as joy and relaxation.

Does catnip expire?

Even though dried catnip doesn’t have an expiration date, it can become less effective as time goes on. This doesn’t pose any harm to your cat if they inhale or consume it. The only thing it means is that your cat might not experience the full intended effect of the catnip, or you might not see any reaction from them at all.

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If your catnip is not sealed properly and gets exposed to moisture, it can become moldy. In such a situation, it is important to not let your cat inhale or consume it, and instead, dispose of it immediately to prevent any harm or illness to your cat.


There is no specific age limit for cats to enjoy catnip, but it is recommended to wait until they are at least six months old so they can fully experience its effects. The way cats react to catnip is completely normal and is a result of a chemical reaction in their brain. It is also normal for some cats to not react to catnip at all. Catnip can be used as a helpful tool to train cats and redirect their attention away from furniture or other unwanted habits. Additionally, it offers various health benefits for cats without any side effects or risk of addiction.

You can also check this YouTube video about this topic:

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[Wikipedia] [Encyclopedia Britannica] [National Geographic] [] [Purina]

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