What Happens When Cats Eat Catnip

As mentioned before, cat nip is just about any piece of dried or fresh foliage that smells like tangerine. The term “cat nip” was first used in the 1930s when cats would rub their noses all over greenery to test it for possible nutritional value.

Cats have an instinctual desire to sniff out plants and vegetation. It is one of their favorite pastimes!

When a domesticated cat eats some cat nip, what happens depends on whether you as a parent gave them access to it beforehand or not.

If you are ever unsure if your cat has ingested cat nip by looking at her/him self, then check the price list on this article! 

Luckily, there are very few instances where eating cat nip can be harmful for your kitty. Sometimes however, cat owners claim that their furry friend did not seem to be affected after ingesting cat nip, but they later suffer from health issues.

It is best to take extra precautions to make sure your cat does not eat too much cat nip so that she/he does not get sick.

They get very, very sleepy



If you happen to find some dried cat nectar or cat milk that has little bits of green herb in it, try to wash it down with liquid to prevent your kitty from getting too drowsy.

Cat nectars are usually made up of water, sugar, and herbal extracts like cat food brands. These types of drinks are marketed as being soothing for sore or sick kittens, but unfortunately they can be too potent!

Too much cat necter can actually make your kitties feel more tired, which is why many cats will start refusing to drink them. Therefore, make sure your kitten does not have any type of cat necter unless she is actively seeking it out and drinking it.

They get very, very happy

Photo Of Cats Sleeping Together


Let’s look at something that most people have in their homes right now — cat nipples!

Most cats these days are lucky to enjoy one or two short sessions of eating some leaves, flowers, or other plants with scent attached before they feel the need to wash it down with some water.

For the few minutes that they can actually taste the plant matter, things may be fun and even delightful for them, but soon they will be asking you what happens when cats eat catnip.

What is it? Why does it make them crazy? And how do we stop it from happening?

Catnips are a springy green leaf cluster found only once every three years across North America. They grow about six inches tall and contain an oil called nepetalactone which makes them famous among florists who use it in floral designs.

They get very, very angry

what happens when cats eat catnip

There are several theories about why cats eat cat nip. Some say that they associate it with other things such as toys or clothing. This is called oral aversion.

For example, if you never let your dog eat off of the floor because he will always choose to eat there, then one day you put some food there and he goes in for a bite and nothing happens! You have to take him outside to make sure he empties his waste correctly.

This can also happen with cat nips. If your kitty doesn’t like the nip, she may decide not to play with any other toy or piece of clothing afterward due to the association.

Another theory says that some cats develop an allergy to the plant compound found in cat nip. This would cause them to suffer symptoms similar to those of oral allergies, including vomiting, diarrhea and respiratory issues.

But unfortunately, this isn’t just limited to adult domestic short hair cats. Many feral and homeless outdoor cats deal with lots of cat nip every day, so these theories aren’t totally false.

They get very, very hungry

If you happen to find some leftover cat nectar or dried kitty food that has little pieces of green plant matter in it, try to wash it down with some water first!

If your feline friend does not seem interested in eating after imbibing the cat nectar, then they may be suffering from an internal parasite. Parasites are microorganisms or animals that live in and use nutrients for their own survival.

In this case, the parasites need glucose (sugar) to survive so they must be seeking out foods or liquids with sugar to feed themselves.

Since most cats do not eat meat due to health issues and allergies, many experts suggest giving your dog or cat an anti-fungal pill to see if that helps them feel better. If that works, trying to wean them off the antifungal drug can help reduce stress for both animal.

Also, making the diet more bland by adding things like plain rice or potatoes as opposed to the milk or wheat products that contain carbs might help dissuade any hunger spells.

They get a pleasant tingling sensation

Close Up Photo of Kittens Eating


This is one of their favorite things to do! Most cats love getting this reaction when they eat cat nip. It can actually be fun for them to roll around in it or even lick some of it off of you if you want to make them laugh.

The chemical compound incat nip that produces this effect is called Methyl Chavine. Some people call it m-chat, which looks weird but makes more sense. (It comes from the French word chat, which means “meow”.)

When cats ingest methyl chavine, it stimulates their body’s receptors for endorphins, our natural pain killers. This may help reduce stress and promote relaxation.

For this reason, many people give away bags full of cat nip to their pets as a way to improve their moods and wellness. Many veterinarians recommend doing this every few days to see benefits.

They get a pleasant experience

Focus Photography Of Two Cats


We all know what a beautiful thing it is when your dog gets to enjoy some special food or toys, right? The way his or her tail goes up and his or her mouth forms into an expression of pure joy makes us smile because it’s just like looking at his or her self-image!

That is exactly how most people feel about catnips. Most cats love them so much that they will keep sucking on the plant source for minutes or even hours at a time!

There are several reasons why this happens. For example, many animals develop a habit of eating certain plants as babies and then require little to no additional nutrients after that. This is sometimes the case with cat nectar.

Some believe that chewing the leaves releases chemicals in the saliva which make the animal feel relaxed and happy. Others say that the oils within the leaves help clean their teeth and gums.

Whatever the reason, it is totally natural and should not be considered harmful for either the kitty or the stomach. In fact, some veterinarians consider it a safe alternative medicine for anxiety and stress related conditions such as fear-of-unknown situations, panic attacks, etc.

So if you want to reap the benefits of catnip by feeding it to your feline friend, here are some tips to make sure everything goes okay.

They get a pleasant hallucination

Gray Coated Cat on Black Leather Sandals


For most cats, eating cat nectar or cat milk is just fine. If you notice your kitty acting a little strange after feeding, give them another few minutes to calm down before thinking of giving them a bowl of food!

Some individuals are lucky enough to grow up with a child who loves chocolate. As children, they sometimes would eat large amounts of chocolate because it made them feel happy and/or sleepy.

For some kids, this habit carried over into adulthood, where they enjoy baking or making sweets. Others loved cooking and experimenting in their childhood years, which helped develop their taste preferences as an adult.

All these things contribute to why people like yourself may love tasting small quantities of dark chocolate every now and then.

But what happens when you consume too much chocolate? That’s what we’re going to talk about here!

What happens when you drink too much cocoa powder? It gives you a nice mental break! The same thing can happen if you eat too many dried fruits such as raisins or cranberries.

Luckily, there are ways to prevent this mental effect from happening to you. One of those strategies is ingesting bromelain right before drinking the liquid that contains the cocoa powder or fruit.

Bromelain is an antioxidant found in pineapple juice and other foods such as oranges, strawberries, and tomatoes.

They get a pleasant dream

Two Short-fur White and Gray Cats


While most people know what happens when dogs eat cat nectar, there are some interesting things that happen when it comes to cats eating catnip. For one, they must be careful with how much they consume as too much can wake them up!

Most importantly though, he or she will eventually fall asleep due to an increase in drowsy hormones. This is why it’s very important to remove all of your pets’ access to cat nectar!

It can take several hours for this to occur, so don’t worry about your pet until they seem more than sleepy. Once their eyes droop and they lose focus slightly, then give them some time to relax and enjoy sleep!

Something else you should do if your pet seems overly tired is make sure they’re getting enough food and water! Because of the drop in blood glucose levels, many animals may not feel well rested once they awake, which could cause trouble for them at home or work.

Editor's note: A few paragraphs were removed from this article after we received copyright claims from The Humane Society.

Back to blog

Personalized Gifts For Cat Owners