Catnip is synonymous with our feline companions. It’s even a part of its scientific name, Nepeta cataria. You may also see it called different monikers, such as catmint, field balm, or catswort. The latter translates into cat plant. Most felines—large and small—respond to its charms. The same can be said of domesticated cats, although kittens are less likely to react to catnip than adults.
The great thing about catnip is that it isn’t harmful or toxic to your kitty. Your pet can eat it with no ill effects. The spell doesn’t last long, typically around 10–15 minutes, after which your cat will likely fall asleep. Our guide includes everything you need to know about this aromatic plant. We’ve included reviews of some of our favorite products, too. Finally, we have recommendations for how to use it.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Best Overall||SmartyKat Organic Catnip||CHECK PRICE|
|Best Value||Fat Cat Zoom Around The Room||CHECK PRICE|
|Premium Choice||Frontier Co-Op Catnip||CHECK PRICE|
|Yeowww! Organic Catnip||CHECK PRICE|
|Petlinks Pure Bliss Organic Catnip||CHECK PRICE|
The 10 Best Organic Catnips
1. SmartyKat Organic Catnip – Best Overall
|Container:||Bag or jar, depending on the size|
|Available amounts:||0.5, 1.0, and 2.0 ounces|
SmartyKat Organic Catnip is the best overall organic catnip on our list. The product does the trick to get our cats excited about this treat. We especially liked the buying options. You can get it in three sizes. The best part is that the smallest one, the 0.5 ounces, comes in one, two, or four-count bundles. That makes it an excellent value because you’ll have new bags to open when you finish one. Catnip isn’t unlike spices that go stale.
All the containers seal well between uses so that you can be sure the catnip is as fresh tomorrow as the day you bought it. Products labeled USDA Organic are indeed from the United States.
2. Fat Cat Zoom Around The Room Organic Catnip – Best Value
|Available amounts:||0.5 ounces|
Fat Cat Zoom Around The Room Organic Catnip is the best organic catnip for the money. We love the name of this product, which is an apt description of its effects on your pet. It contains a mix of leaves and flowers, which makes it more of a value. It also comes in one amount with four different bundles sizes to preserve its freshness.
While the catnip is grown stateside, it’s packaged overseas, which can explain the occasional quality control issues. It’s an inherent risk with the shipping back and forth.
3. Frontier Co-Op Catnip – Premium Choice
|Available amounts:||1-pound bag|
Frontier Co-Op Catnip is a USA-based company that uses sustainable methods to grow and process this product. It contains both leaves and flowers in its blend. While the amount seems too much, you can give the catnip to your pet or use it yourself for tea. You might find yourself going through it quickly to help it stay fresh longer with both those purposes.
You’ll need to either separate the catnip into smaller bags or put it in a 1-gallon one. The 1-pound size kept in its shipped packaging will likely go stale before you can use it all.
4. Yeowww! Organic Catnip
|Container:||Bag and tub|
|Available amounts:||1 or 2-ounce sizes|
Yeowww! Organic Catnip is one of the few products we reviewed that only comes in two sizes, a 1-ounce bag or a 2-ounce tub. The latter isn’t the best container, with occasional quality control issues of cracked packaging. The mix is of decent quality, with just flowers and leaves and no other extraneous material. Nevertheless, it’s still a bit pricey, given its size.
When the catnip is without issues, cats love it. It’s just too bad that the manufacturer hasn’t improved the packaging so your pet can get the most out of it.
|Container:||Bags and jars, depending on the size|
|Available amounts:||0.5, 1, and 2-ounce sizes|
Petlinks Pure Bliss Organic Catnip scores some points for the available sizes in which you can buy the product. There are bundles in both 0.5 and 1-ounce sizes. It is affordably priced. However, that’s because some waste is evident in the manufacturer’s close-up shots of the mix. One thing confused us about this item. It’s produced in the United States, yet the packaging comes from China.
There were some quality control issues with the bags, which affected the freshness of the catnip. Otherwise, it’s aromatic and affordably priced.
6. Smokey’s Stash Organic Catnip
|Available amounts:||0.9 ounces|
Smokey’s Stash Organic Catnip scores high marks for a well-designed container that has an airtight seal, sure to keep the contents fresh. It’s quite aromatic as a result of this packaging. While it’s USA-made, it’s a bit pricey for the amount that you get. The catnip has a clever, double-entendre name that some people may find amusing. It certainly is an effective marketing scheme, at the very least.
Interestingly, this product makes a point of saying that it’s not human-grade, which several other items we reviewed embraced. It’s probably not a reflection on its quality but worth noting, nevertheless.
7. Munchiecat Organic Catnip
|Available amounts:||0.53 ounces|
|Additional ingredients:||Silver vine|
Munchiecat Organic Catnip with Silvervine differs from other products on our round-up because of the inclusion of the latter ingredient. It is an Asian plant with similar effects as catnip and perhaps even more intense in some pets. The difference is that felines may quickly become used to the euphoric properties of this different plant, meaning some downtime in between uses.
We thought it was a bit deceptive for pet owners who want a strictly organic mix. The silver vine is gathered in the wild and doesn’t fit this description. Besides these factors, it’s also expensive for the amount you get.
8. Skinny Pete’s Gourmet Catnip
|Container:||Resealable, kraft packet|
|Available amounts:||0.88 ounce|
Skinny Pete’s Gourmet Catnip takes its claim of a higher quality product to the next level with a price tag to match. The packing is somewhat deceptive, making some buyers think it was more than what was actually in the bag. That’s not a reach, given the cost that would make you expect a larger amount. It includes a bag to fill with catnip.
On the positive side, the manufacturer grows and processes the catnip in the United States. That helps to ensure that the product is fresher than ones shipped from overseas.
9. Pet Craft Supply Premium Potent Catnip
|Available amounts:||3 ounces|
Pet Craft Supply Premium Potent Catnip is value-priced for the amount that you get with your purchase. Unfortunately, there are a lot of stems and sticks in the mix, which act as a filler and, thus, accounts for the lower price. The catnip is USA-grown and processed, which can help with the freshness factors with the larger amount.
Smaller available sizes might help with how aromatic it is. However, that doesn’t help a lot with the quality issues we’ve raised.
10. Cat Crack Organic Catnip
|Available amounts:||8 ounces|
The first thing you notice outside of the sketch name of Cat Crack Organic Catnip is the fact that the manufacturer refers to it as a proprietary blend. That wording suggests that there are other things in the mix. You get a lot for the price. That would be a red flag if the container wasn’t airtight. Unfortunately, one thing we did notice was a lot of stems versus leaves or flowers. That is a hit on the quality of the product.
It’s a point worth reiterating when doing comparison shopping. As we’ve found, the pictures the manufacturers provide usually tell the story just like this one.
As ubiquitous as catnip is, it’s hard to believe that it’s not a native plant to this country. It was introduced by early settlers. It didn’t take long before it found its way to 49 out of 50 states, including Canada. One of the reasons that people brought catnip across the pond is that it has a long-established folklore use. American Indians also found different purposes for it, including as a cold remedy, sedative, and pleasant-tasting tea.
Today, catnip stands tall as a standalone treat in scented toys and even as flavored treats for your pet. The flowers are the most potent part. Leaves also have the essential oils that give the plant its scent. The percentage of flowers versus leaves is one indication of the quality of commercial products.
Catnip the Plant
Catnip grows in the wild, primarily in disturbed areas, often along the edges of habitats, urban spaces, and trails. Like other species in this family, it is an aggressive plant that will quickly take over an area, given a chance. That’s one reason why some states don’t permit it and consider it a weed, including Kentucky, Alaska, and West Virginia. You can gather and dry catnip if it’s allowed in your area. Be sure to verify it wasn’t sprayed.
Catnip is a part of the Mint family. It grows about 2 feet tall. It is a perennial plant with toothed, opposite leaves and a square stem. The pinkish flowers grow in a cluster on top. It blooms June through September. However, its most distinguishing trait is its signature scent. It’s a smell you won’t forget once you detect it for the first time. The wild plant has a much more pungent odor than the commercial products you’ll find.
Effects on Cats
The obvious question is, what exactly are the effects on cats that make it so irresistible to our pets? The volatile chemical responsible for the feline’s reaction is nepetalactone. They unleash a string of responses, from check rubbing to rolling around to yowling. Pet owners may witness their cats racing around with a hyper-alertness that is nothing short of comical.
Scientists theorize that the nepetalactone making catnip aromatic resembles pheromones. That’s undoubtedly the reason some thought it was an aphrodisiac. However, the evidence doesn’t support this conclusion. Nevertheless, a cat’s response to catnip is hereditary since not all pets react to it. The same is true of young kittens, which makes sense if the smell is like pheromones they don’t recognize yet.
The Human Response
One of the folklore uses of catnip tea was to calm a fussy baby, which can explain why cats fall asleep after it wears off on them. No scientific evidence exists to support it. People have also used catnip as an infusion for wine and various flavorings for foods. That probably explains why early settlers brought the plant with them to their new home.
However, an opposite application existed for a time in the 1960s. Not surprisingly, people seeking mood-altering substances didn’t look further than their pets for inspiration. Some individuals would smoke the dried catnip as a marijuana substitute. Nonetheless, there exists one use substantiated by science that may make you think differently about this lowly weed.
It’s unlikely that plants evolved nepetalactone to attract felines. An adaptive advantage other than perhaps spreading seeds doesn’t exist. The more plausible explanation is as an insect repellent. The research supports this assertion. Evidence suggests that it is an effective mosquito repellent that rivals DEET in its usefulness. It may have similar effects on ticks and other insect pests.
How to Use Catnip
Loose catnip is an excellent way to use this treat. You can use it to sprinkle on your cat’s toys or to refill others. If you’re trying to get your cat to scratch its post instead of your furniture, catnip might be just the thing you need. You don’t have to use it too many times to realize that catnip is messy. Your pet will likely track it all around your house if it has in it.
You may find it helpful to confine its use to a specific room or even a small patch of carpeting. Bear in mind that you don’t have to add a lot to get a reaction. Cats can sense it at concentrations of only 1:109! We recommend keeping the catnip in an airtight container or ziplock bag between uses to keep it fresh.
After conducting our reviews, SmartyKat Organic Catnip went to the head of the class as the best product of the bunch. It had a strong scent that didn’t fade quickly. The bag seals tightly to keep it potent in between uses. Fat Cat Zoom Around The Room Organic Catnip offers an economical product that gets the job done at an affordable price. The name still makes us chuckle.
Featured Image Credit: Kelly Magnuson, Shutterstock
- 2 A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- 3 The 10 Best Organic Catnips
- 3.1 1. SmartyKat Organic Catnip – Best Overall
- 3.2 2. Fat Cat Zoom Around The Room Organic Catnip – Best Value
- 3.3 3. Frontier Co-Op Catnip – Premium Choice
- 3.4 4. Yeowww! Organic Catnip
- 3.5 5. Petlinks Pure Bliss Organic Catnip
- 3.6 6. Smokey’s Stash Organic Catnip
- 3.7 7. Munchiecat Organic Catnip
- 3.8 8. Skinny Pete’s Gourmet Catnip
- 3.9 9. Pet Craft Supply Premium Potent Catnip
- 3.10 10. Cat Crack Organic Catnip
- 4 Buyer’s Guide
- 5 How to Use Catnip
- 7 Conclusion