Many cats go crazy for catnip! Read on to find out how you can use it for training, playtime, exercise and more.

Catnip is a whole lot of fun for a whole lot of cats, either sending them wild with excitement or into a state of chilled out zen. This means catnip is used for various things, depending on how different cats react.

Carry on reading to find out about the benefits of catnip for cats for everything from playtime to exercise. You can learn more about how to give catnip to your furry friend in our article on [what catnip is].

When to give a cat catnip:

Depending on how your cat responds to catnip, you could use it for all sorts of things from training them to helping them relax. You can test out their reaction with a couple of catnip treats (such as our irresistible DREAMIES™ catnip flavour) or even a small amount of fresh or dried catnip.

Only around 60% of cats actually react to catnip, so you may find it doesn’t work on your cat. But if it does, you can decide what the benefits of catnip could be based on whether they become more or less energetic. Below are a few ideas about what to use catnip for.

To make playtime more fun

Catnip is just the trick for adding some fun and excitement to your kitty’s day! Start by feeding them some loose catnip or catnip treats, or by sprinkling some catnip in their play area for them to sniff or roll in. Once they feel the effects, it’s playtime!

Check out our article on the [best games to play with cats] for a few ideas. Or rub or spray some catnip on a toy, their scratching post or a cat tree. You can also get special toys that are stuffed with catnip for them to toss about and release the odour.

To encourage your cat to exercise

If you’ve got a snoozy creature on your hands, catnip could be the motivation they need to get up on their paws for a bit of exercise. Under the influence of catnip, even the laziest of kitties could soon be running around like a livewire. That is, if their reaction is on the more hyperactive end of the spectrum. If they become drowsy on catnip, you’ll probably find they’re even more interested in a big cat nap!

To help with training

The trick for effective training is positive reinforcement - or pawsitive, you could say! This means encouraging your cat to repeat good behaviours by praising or rewarding them. For example, you could use catnip as a reward for them coming in at night. They’ll then associate coming in with a fun treat and want to do it again. The same goes for other scenarios like clipping your cat’s claws, where you can reward them for staying still.

To relax your cat

Another one of the benefits of catnip is that catnip can calm cats, but only if your kitty becomes more docile under its spell. This sedative-like effect can be useful if your cat suffers from stress or anxiety. Many cats are more likely to become energetic on catnip though, so don’t use catnip to calm cats before testing out how they respond to it first.

How much catnip is safe for cats?

There's no hard fast rule for how much catnip is safe to give your cat, but it’s non-addictive and safe for cats to eat or sniff in small amounts. Start with a small pinch of fresh or dried catnip, or one catnip treat and see how they go. It doesn’t usually take much for them to feel the effects.

Be careful not to go overboard with it, as eating too much catnip in one go can cause an upset tummy, including diarrhoea and vomiting. Fortunately, cats usually lose interest in catnip once they’ve had their fix, so it’s rare that they reach the point of feeling unwell.

How often should I give my cat catnip?

There’s also no official guide for how often you should give a cat catnip. Cats can become less sensitive to it when exposed to it too often though, so it’s best to keep catnip as an occasional treat, given on a weekly basis or on special occasions. Check out our article on [the effects of catnip] to find out more about why cats love catnip so much.

Hopefully you’ve got a few ideas about the benefits of catnip and when to give a cat catnip, from training to relaxation. To give your furry friend a taste of it, check out our [DREAMIES™ catnip treats].