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How Does Your Cat Respond to Catnip?

Some go crazy for nip, others enjoy its mellow aftereffects, and still others just don't get what it's about. Here's what happens at my house.

Angie Bailey  |  Sep 21st 2015


Catnip is the herb of choice for many felines; however, I’ve spoken to a few cat lovers who confess their cat cares nothing for the stuff … fresh or dried. And even among kitties who consider themselves connoisseurs, some respond by revving up, while others react in a Jeff Spicoli-like fashion.

I’ve offered catnip to my three cats many times over the years, and although results sometimes vary, they generally maintain their individual opinions of and responses to it. Here’s what happened when I recently brought out the goods.

Cosmo

Saffy is intrigued ... Phoebe not so much.

Saffy is intrigued … Phoebe not so much.

Cosmo, my mama’s boy tuxie, goes absolutely nutso for the catnip. He has supercharged olfactory powers when it comes to locating it — even if it’s hiding deep inside a bag. He doesn’t care if it’s dried, fresh, crushed, chopped, high end or cut rate — he just wants it and he wants it now. He likes to taste a bit of it first, like a wine expert might sample a sip, and then he dives in with wild abandon. After he’s eaten a pile or two, he rolls around in the leftovers. The dried nip speckles his black fur like party confetti. All he needs is a lampshade on his head. Woo!

After he decides he’s had his fill, my little nip fiend locates the closest, coziest surface and curls up on top of it. But he doesn’t sleep. No, his eyes become slits and he hangs in that space between dreamland and the here-and-now.

And crash.

And crash.

If he were a human, he’d definitely have a king-size bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos by his side and Taco Bell Chalupa sauce smeared across his face. Good times, man.

Saffy

The tongue action says it all.

The tongue action says it all.

Saffy is also a catnip hog. She’s extremely laid back in nature, and catnip relaxes her even more … as if that were possible. When Saffy goes to Catnip Town, she usually goes tongue-first. Instead of eating the nip, she tends to lick it. This could be because she doesn’t have a full set of teeth (she’s 14 and I really don’t want to invest in cat dentures), or it could be that she prefers to let the flavor marinate on top of her tongue. Maybe she’s fancy like that. I don’t know, and she’s not talking.

"Duuuude."

“Duuuude.”

After enjoying some alone time with catnip, she typically stands around and stares into space. This is not wholly contrary to how she usually spends her day; however, I feel like she’s extra mellow — or maybe she’s seeing kaleidoscopic designs floating around the room. Again, she’s not talking.

Phoebe

Phoebe thinks the stuff's overrated.

Phoebe thinks the stuff’s overrated.

Phoebe is one of those odd ducks who’s indifferent to catnip. If she’s in the mood, she’ll sniff a little — and if she has better things to do, she’ll flat out ignore it. This goes for any type of nip I’ve offered the picky little princess. Like I should be surprised at her unpredictability. This cat lives to confuse me and secretly — or not-so-secretly — laughs behind my back.

She’s super curious when Cosmo and Saffy are getting stoned, but usually stands back as an observer. I think she believes she’s above it all. She’s like the only sober one at a shindig full of party animals. Saffy and Cosmo are just glad she’s not taking photos and posting them online. Or is she?

"What? You want me to be predictable? Good luck with that."

“What? You want me to be predictable? Good luck with that.”

How does your cat respond to catnip? Tell us in the comments!

Read more by Angie Bailey

About the Author: Angie Bailey is an eternal optimist with an adoration of all things silly. Loves pre-adolescent boy humor, puns, making up parody songs, thinking about cats doing people things and The Smiths. Writes Catladyland, a cat humor blog, Texts from Mittens (originated right here on Catster) and authored whiskerslist: the kitty classifieds, a silly book about cats wheeling and dealing online. Partner in a production company and writes and acts in comedy web series that features sketches and mockumentaries. Mother to two humans and three cats, all of which want her to make them food.