White cat playing with catnip plant

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Most pet parents understand that cats love catnip, but what about catnip tea? Is catnip tea safe for cats? Yes, catnip tea for cats can be safe, but pet parents need to think carefully about how they dose catnip when making it into a tea.

When compared to treats, which do not have to be diluted with water, catnip tea for cats can be a bit riskier. That’s because a safe catnip tea recipe for cats is dependent on the pet parent properly diluting the catnip with water.

If you are wondering how to make catnip tea for cats, make sure you do so safely. Talk to your vet before giving your cat catnip of any kind. Learn more below, and explore some of the top catnip tea benefits.

What Is Catnip?

Before explaining how to make catnip tea for cats, it is important to learn, what is catnip? Catnip is a plant that belongs to the mint family. It is an herb that grows well under just about all conditions, and the plant itself can grow up to 3 ft high.

Catnip has an impact on your cat’s behavior due to a chemical called nepetalactone. This chemical is made in the leaves of the catnip plant, and it acts as a stimulant. That is why you might notice that your cat becomes a bit more active when exposed to catnip. Essentially, it makes your cat high for 15 to 30 minutes. You might notice that your cat scratches a bit more often, and your cat could start running around the room. Your cat might want to flip over, roll around, or simply stay in place and be calm.1

Furthermore, even though a majority of cats will respond to catnip, not all of them will react the same way. According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, between 50 and 75% of cats will respond to catnip.2 

Only 50-75% of cats respond to catnip

Benefits Of Catnip For Cats

There are a variety of benefits that catnip can provide for cats, but the biggest benefit of catnip is that it can be a great way for you to enrich your cat’s environment.1 Catnip can encourage them to be more active and get in touch with the world around them.

At the same time, if you want to enrich your cat’s home, it is important to take a well-rounded approach. There are plenty of other ways you can enrich your cat’s environment as well, and some of the top examples include:

  • Installing a few scratching posts.
  • Entertain your cat with a variety of cat toys.
  • Encourage your cat to be more active with a laser toy, a wand toy, or a toy that will roll around on its own.
  • Drag a string across the floor to encourage your cat to get more in touch with his or her instincts as a hunter.
  • Play animal noises in the background, particularly bird songs to stimulate their hunting drive.
  • Provide your cat with a few hiding places, such as bags and boxes.
  • Install a perch to allow your cat to gaze outside and enjoy some sunshine.
  • Turn on some light-up toys, such as a disco ball.
  • Use a slow feeder to provide your cat with mental and physical stimulation when they eat.
  • Use treat hiding toys to encourage engagement.
  • Install a mobile with hanging elements for your cat to look at.

Primary benefit of catnip is to provide enrichment for cats

Tips For Making Catnip Tea For Cats

If you want your cat to take full advantage of catnip, you might want to explore a catnip tea recipe for cats. But first, is catnip tea safe for cats? It is true that there are a variety of catnip tea benefits, but it’s important to consider your cat’s individual health and needs before giving them catnip.

Some of the most important tips to keep in mind before you provide your cat with catnip tea include:

1. Talk to your vet first

Before you provide your cat with catnip tea, you need to talk to your vet. Remember that catnip tea is a stimulant, and it will cause your cat to feel high. While it can provide several benefits, you need to make sure that your cat is healthy enough to consume catnip.

You should take your cat to the veterinarian at least once per year for a regular checkup, but during the visit, you can talk to your vet about catnip. Your veterinarian may want to run a few more tests before you decide to give your cat some catnip, and your veterinarian may also have some recommendations regarding catnip that is safe and reliable for your cat’s specific breed.

2. Follow vet & manufacturer’s instructions

When you decide to give your cat some catnip tea, you need to follow the instructions provided by your veterinarian and manufacturer closely. First, always take a look at the catnip to understand exactly how much you are including in the beverage. Remember that different types of catnip may have different dosages, so you need to understand how much of each active ingredient you are adding to the beverage.

Then, pay close attention to how much water you add. The more water you add, the more you will dilute the effects of catnip, but if you don't add enough water, the beverage could be too strong.

When in doubt, you should start with a relatively low dose of catnip. Follow the instructions provided by your veterinarian, but if you decide to increase the dose of catnip, you should do so very slowly. You do not want to provide your cat with too much catnip, as it could lead to some health concerns.

3. Monitor your pet’s response

Once you give your cat catnip tea, you need to monitor their response carefully. Catnip is generally considered safe, but there are some health risks you need to keep in mind.

For example, it is not unusual for cats to develop some mild gastrointestinal issues after consuming catnip. This could include constipation or diarrhea.

There is also a chance that catnip tea could result in some physical injuries. Catnip itself is not going to cause any physical injuries, but it will cause your cat to be more physically active. Remember that catnip will cause your cat to feel some cognitive changes, so they might not be as coordinated as they usually are, making them more vulnerable to injury. This is just another reason why you need to make sure you only administer catnip to your cat with appropriate supervision.


How long does catnip last?

Every cat is different, and there are a number of factors that will impact how long your cat will stay under the influence of catnip. It depends on how quickly your cat metabolizes catnip, the tolerance level your cat has for catnip, and how much catnip you give him or her. In general, you should expect your cat to be under the influence of catnip for approximately 30 minutes, but the exact length of time can vary.3

Can humans drink catnip tea?

Humans can drink catnip tea in very small amounts, but if you drink a lot of it, you will notice some significant side effects. There are a lot of people who say that catnip tea gives them a headache, and consuming too much of it could lead to gastrointestinal distress. For example, you might find that you start vomiting, or you may notice some abdominal cramps.4

Does catnip make cats high?

Yes, catnip will make cats high. Catnip contains a chemical that is a stimulant, and it will interact directly with your cat’s central nervous system. You will probably notice that your cat has a lot more energy than usual, and he or she may start to run across the room, flip over, or jump up and down.

Orange cat stretching with tongue out, acting silly after drinking catnip tea

Final Notes

Catnip is a great way for you to enrich your cat’s environment, but you need to make sure the catnip you provide for your cat is safe. If you decide to give your cat catnip tea, you must make sure you dose the beverage properly. Always make sure you keep an eye on your cat after giving him or her catnip.

You also need to talk to a veterinarian before you give your cat catnip for the first time. Talk to a Dutch vet today to get all of your pet care questions answered with unlimited vet visits and follow up appointments.


  1. Tamuvetmed. “Feline Fine: The Benefits of Catnip.” VMBS News, 11 Mar. 2022, https://vetmed.tamu.edu/news/pet-talk/feline-fine-the-benefits-of-catnip/.

  2. Landsberg, Gary M. “Behavior Problems in Cats - Cat Owners.” Merck Veterinary Manual, Merck Veterinary Manual, 23 Feb. 2023, https://www.merckvetmanual.com/cat-owners/behavior-of-cats/behavior-problems-in-cats?query=catnip. 

  3. ASPCA Pet Insurance. “Happiness Overload: Cats and Catnip.” ASPCA Pet Health Insurance, ASPCA Pet Insurance, 10 Oct. 2016, https://www.aspcapetinsurance.com/resources/what-does-catnip-do-to-cats/

  4. “Catnip Tea: Benefits, How to Make It, Risks.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/catnip-tea#risks

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