Catnip Facts & Alternatives

Catnip Facts & Alternatives

Catnip Facts

The What's and Where's of the Nip

  • Catnip is in the mint family, and considered an herb

  • Native to Europe and imported to the United States, Canada and other countries

  • The plant is drought-tolerant and deer-resistant

  • The chemical, Nepetalactone, found in the plant to be a stimulant to cats, is also a natural mosquito and fly repellent

It’s all in the genes

  • Male cats are more often attracted to catnip than female cats

  • Catnip is a feline attractant that has a genetic component

  • About ⅓  of cats lack the gene, meaning these kitties show no response to catnip

  • Wild cats like cougars, leopards, servals, and bobcats also respond to catnip

  • Lions and tigers are less consistent at reacting to catnip

To sniff or not to sniff, maybe to eat.

  • Most cats react to catnip through inhalation

  • Inhaled catnip has a stimulating and euphoric effect

  • Ingested catnip tends to have more of a calming effect

Common concerns with catnip

Common Concerns for Kitty Parents

  • Cats cannot overdose on catnip

  • The response lasts about 10 - 15 minutes

  • After exposure it takes about 2 hours to reset and be able to be stimulated by catnip again

  • Catnip is not addictive

What are some other plants that are like catnip?

Valerian Root

  • Acts as a stimulant for cats

  • Cats that are not affected by catnip, often are excited about valerian root

  • The smell is often described as smelly socks


  • Effects generally last from 5 - 30 minutes

  • Contains two cat attractant chemicals, as opposed to  catnip’s one chemical stimulant


  • Honeysuckle aroma is stronger than catnip, so great for cats struggling with their sense of smell

  • Honeysuckle berries, flowers, and leaves are toxic to kitties, they should only get the wood parts of the plant

Jar of Catnip and Valerian Root

What nip does The Luminous Pets use?

We use a blend of catnip and valerian root. It is locally grown, harvested and packaged not far from where we live. We buy directly from the company, so our nip blend is much fresher than the store bought nip. Interested in our products, we have jars of catnip, catnip pillows and even refillable mats. Check them out here.

Have questions, reach out to us. We would love to chat. 

Tail wags and purrs, 

Josie and family

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