When to Give a Cat Catnip

Knowing when to give a cat catnip involves a number of considerations. The plant, a member of the mint family, produces a psychological effect in some cats—somewhat similar to sexual arousal. However, other cats are not affected at all and some cats may experience a different kind of effect.

The Effect on Some Cats

Some cat acts aggressively when given toys soaked in catnip oil or individual catnip flakes. If so, the owner may decide to avoid giving that cat catnip from then on. If the cat responds positively to the catnip, the owner should see some or all of the following arousal behaviors:

  • Looking spaced-out and sitting still for a long period
  • Rolling around against the catnip or toy
  • Excessive meowing
  • Rubbing their cheeks against the toy or the surface sprinkled with catnip
  • Experiencing bursts of energy, running across the room
  • Lie on their backs and extend their paws

How Much Catnip to Give

A cat owner should give a cat catnip in either flake or oil form and should avoid the kind with stalks, in case the cat tries to ingest it. If using flakes, one to two pinches should suffice. If using oil, don't soak the toy entirely. Just a few drops should be enough.

How Often and When to Give Catnip

A cat owner can give a cat catnip about once a day. Giving catnip less often is fine, but owners shouldn't give the cat nip much more than once per day.

Deciding the best time of day to give the cat catnip depends on what kind of effect the owner wants. Owners should remember that the cats may have burn lot of energy, so it may be easier to give the catnip late at night in order to help tire out the animal overnight. However, the time of day isn't that important, as long as the cat is supervised, in case she injures herself when energetic.

Best Times to Give Catnip

There are a number of reasons why a cat owner may want to give a cat catnip. These are among the best times to give catnip:

  • When an owner wants to encourage an otherwise lazy cat to get exercise. This applies to some overweight cats and lethargic cats; however, owners should consult with a vet before giving cats that suffer from medical conditions such as diabetes and arthritis catnip.
  • When an owner wants to train a cat. For example, owners can encourage cats to claw at scratching posts instead of furniture by sprinkling the catnip atop the scratching post. Catnip can also be a reward after behavior an owner wants to see repeated, such as fetching a toy.
  • When an owner wants to relax the cat. Catnip can cause some cats to lay back and stare in a dreamy state. While owners shouldn't interrupt a cat's natural tendency to run around the house even without catnip—she's only burning off excess energy—owners can give the cat catnip at other times in order to allow the cat some time to mellow.