How Much Catnip Can a Cat Have? Let Us Find Out


by Cindy Smith


If you are a cat owner, do you know about the health benefits of catnip? Do you know how much catnip to give a cat? How Much Catnip Can a Cat Have? Can catnip kill a cat?

So, let’s talk about catnip. We’ll explain what it is, its benefits, how to administer it, and exactly how much catnip to give a cat.

Table of Contents

1. What Is Catnip?

Catnip leaves.

Catnip leaves.

Catnip is a herbaceous and perennial plant. Its scientific name is Nepeta cataria, a closely related species of the mint family. 

Catnip has various other names, including:

  • Catswort
  • Catwort
  • Catmint

There are over 200 distinct species of Nepeta cataria.

Catnip is an ancient herb with euphoric, stimulating, relaxing, and sedative effects on felines. The main active ingredient in catnip is an oily substance called nepetalactone. Once most cats smell nepetalactone, they usually can’t resist reacting. 

But what are the benefits of catnip? Does catnip help cats with pain?

2. Catnip’s Benefits for Cats

Here are some scientifically proven health benefits of catnip on cats.

Pain Relief

Numerous scientific studies suggest that catnip acts as a natural analgesic in cats and humans. It can offer cats the same pain relief level as paracetamol or aspirin. 

So, catnip could relieve the pain if your cat is experiencing non-severe levels of soreness, cramping, headaches, and so on.

Muscle Relaxant

If you notice your cat exhibiting signs of muscle soreness, there are two ways catnip can help.

The best way to use catnip as a muscle relaxant is topic. Your best option is to add it to a hot bath. If your cat hates water, add it to its food.

Stress Relief

A relaxed cat on a chair.

A relaxed cat on a chair.

Even trivial deviations from a feline’s routine could result in stress. Some animal shelters give stray cats small amounts of catnip to calm them down. Catnip’s natural sedative effects are mild but are renowned for relaxing and calming some cats almost instantaneously.

Skin Irritation Relief

Catnip also has natural anti-inflammatory benefits. The best way to reduce anti-inflammation in cats is via topical application or a catnip-infused hot bath.

Reduce Stomach Pain and Bloat

As a natural relaxant and sedative, catnip can reduce feelings of bloat and stomach pain in cats. It also can relieve stomach bloat, irritation, and diarrhea in cats.

3. Can All Cats Eat Catnip?

No scientific research conclusively proves that ingesting too much catnip can kill a cat.

But some cats shouldn’t eat catnip under some circumstances.

Pregnant Cats

Catnip can cause overstimulation in a cat’s uterus. Giving catnip to a pregnant cat can cause the premature birth of kittens.

Catnip can cause adverse effects on the placenta. Catnip can even negatively affect the health of the kittens.

Desexed Cats

It’s fine to give your spayed or neutered cat catnip. It may help to calm them down after the stressful procedure.


Two grey kittens on a table.

Two grey kittens on a table.

Wait until a kitten is six months old before giving it catnip. Kittens under six months of age have not developed the olfactory tissues required to react to catnip.

A kitten could eat small portions of catnip with negligible effects. Give them too much to eat, and the kitten will get a tummy ache.

4. Can Cats Eat Too Much Catnip?

Cats can’t overdose on catnip. Giving a cat too much catnip can’t kill it.

However, if a cat eats too much catnip, it can experience the following:

  • Stomach aches 
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Reduced appetite
  • Wheezing and sneezing
  • Itchy and red eyes
  • Excessive fur shedding
  • Difficulty walking or standing
  • An uncontrollable desire to roll on the floor or roll in catnip leaves
  • Clumsiness
  • Aggressive mewling or growling
  • Excessive and euphoric states of zoning out

Consult a veterinarian to calculate how many catnips you should give your cat.

5. How Do I Administer Catnip to My Cat?

A cat parent feeding cat food on a spoon to a cat.

A cat parent feeding cat food on a spoon to a cat.

There are many ways that you can feed catnips to your cat. The most effective way to administer catnip to a cat is via scent. If you feed it to your cat, always remember to use small amounts of catnips.

You can add small amounts of dried catnip leaves to your cat’s food.

Or you can spray catnip-infused water on objects or near your cat.

You can boil dried catnip leaves in water or chicken broth, let it cool, and then give it to your cat.

You can buy small cat toys stuffed with dried catnip leaves for your cat to play with.


Catnip has natural pain-relieving, stress-reducing, euphoric, sedative, and anti-inflammatory effects. But too much catnip can cause an upset stomach and other mild but unpleasant side effects.