Why doesn’t my cat like catnip anymore?

why doesn't my cat like catnip anymore

         Catnip may bring joy to every fur parent since it can instantly alter our cat’s mood from being low-key to a happy and active one. However, one concern regarding this is when cats don’t like catnip anymore. One possible reason is that the cat already has enough exposure, making them not want it anymore, or they just don’t have the catnip genes.

Introduction to catnip and its effects on cats

Catnip, or catmint, catswort, and field balm with its scientific name Nepeta cataria L. Family: Lamiaceae (mints) is an aromatic herb that originated from Central Europe and Asia. It has dark green and oval- toothed leaves and grows up to approximately one meter in height. Its name is thought to originate from the fondness and positive response of the cats towards the plant. Its Latin origin cataria means “of a cat.”

The catnip has an ingredient called nepetalactone, which causes a sudden change in almost every cat breed’s behavior. The typical responses in catnip are sniffing, licking, and chewing onto it. The physical effects will make them shake their head, purr, rub their body, drool, jump, and become generally hyperactive. In some cases, cats become very aggressive that they scratch and bite stronger than usual. 

Facts regarding catnip and cats

Not all cats respond to catnip similarly. Some owners get disappointed when their cats only sniff the catnip and walk away. Behind this is a scientific explanation that catnip response is an inherited characteristic found in their genes. 30 to 50 percent of cats don’t have the gene that lets them respond positively to catnip.

Cats commonly don’t react to catnip when they are too young. A kitten may take three to six months before it starts to show interest in the catnip since its olfactory system only starts to develop at this age. The “high” feeling of a cat in response to catnip doesn’t last for a very long time. It usually wears off after five to ten minutes. And, some cats got over the catnip-effect when they had enough of it, making them not want it anymore.

According to a veterinarian named Dr. Sarah Gorman from Boston Animal Hospital, cats don’t respond to catnip’s taste but rather the smell. However, catnip is edible and non-addictive to cats despite the almost “aphrodisiac” effect it gives to them.

Tips on giving your cat a catnip

While some cat owners may struggle in giving their cat catnip, there are several ways it could be done without much hassle.

Catnip leaves can be given either fresh or dried. Cats chew on leaves or simply sniff them.

Dried leaves can be crushed and sprinkled to places where you want your cat to go and attend to, such as toys, scratching posts, litter boxes, cat trees, and the floor.

After the 10-minute effect of the catnip in your cat, it will take at least an hour or so before it will respond again. Catnips are safe to eat. However, don’t give your cat too much catnip to chew since it can cause vomiting. Aside from that, too much intake of catnip may also cause digestive problems. 

Grow your own catnip. There are toys being sold in most pet shops that are filled with catnip. Catnip sprays are also available in some stores. They can be used in the same manner as the dried leaves However, the potency with these toys and sprays doesn’t last that long compared to the actual catnip leaves. Catnip is from a mint family, thus can be grown quickly in almost any climate. Just remember to put it in a place that is inaccessible to your cats, primarily when it hasn’t matured enough yet to avoid destruction and premature consumption. After harvesting, the best way to keep the leaves fresh is by drying or freezing them. It can last up to two years if preserved appropriately.

Although disinterest in catnip is not a disease or a disability in cats, it is also better to consult your local veterinarian to make sure that there is nothing wrong with your cat’s olfactory system and its health in general.

Common questions regarding cats and catnip

What are the alternative plants in case my cat doesn’t react to catnip anymore?

 Not all cats respond to catnip similarly. Many fur parents get problematic since their cats don’t react to catnips as other cats do. There are a lot of alternative plants to catnip in case you want to witness your cat be in a “silly and hyperactive” state. These plants include valerian root, silver vine, cat thyme, and honeysuckle, which also come in different forms as the catnip.

Is catnip a counterpart of aphrodisiac and/drugs in humans?

No. There are many claims that catnip is the same with aphrodisiac for humans because of how it alters the mood of cats and causes physical manifestations. Catnip is also linked with drugs as some say it’s a “cat marijuana.”Still, there are no studies yet that give proof to this claim.

How much catnip should I give my cat?

There has been no prescribed amount of how much catnip should be given to cats. Considering that the effect usually wears off after approximately 10 minutes and is back by an hour, a little amount enough for them to smell might do. Nevertheless, cats don’t get overdosed by catnip since they will stop sniffing or eating it once they feel that they had enough.

Does catnip work on wild cats?

Wild cats, such as lynx, lions, tigers, and bobcats respond to catnip just like typical domestic cats do. This is because they are all from the same ancestry. However, the effects of catnip on cats are hereditary, so if a wild cat’s parent doesn’t enjoy catnip, then the kittens won’t enjoy it either.


Catnip can literally bring joy to the hearts of both the cats and their owners. When the time comes that they don’t respond anymore, it may be disheartening and disappointing to cat owners who only want to see their cat’s silly side. However, we have to remember that there is nothing wrong with our cat ignoring catnip because, at the end of the day, they are the real joy no matter what they do. 

why doesn't my cat like catnip anymore


I love animals. Growing up we had a lot of cats, rabbits and chickens.

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