Catster is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Can I Put Catnip in My Cat’s Food? Vet-Reviewed Potential Pros & Cons

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on February 13, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team


Can I Put Catnip in My Cat’s Food? Vet-Reviewed Potential Pros & Cons


Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo


Dr. Paola Cuevas

MVZ (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

People are always looking for ways to improve their cat’s life and diet, and one thing that often gets paired with cats is catnip. But whether you’re looking at putting catnip in their food for health purposes or just want to get them interested in it, is it a good idea?

We break it all down for you here, but most of the time, there’s nothing wrong with putting a small amount of catnip into your cat’s food.

3 cat divider

Can I Put Catnip in My Cat’s Food?

Absolutely! Not only can you put catnip in your cat’s food, but it’s also relatively good for them. However, it’s not ideal for all cats. Check out the following perks and drawbacks.

cat with green eyes in catnip
Image By: Georgia Evans, Shutterstock

3 cat divider

The 3 Possible Perks of Catnip

There’s a reason you can find catnip so prominently in pet sections; for the most part, it’s good for cats! Here are the perks of giving your cat catnip, with two benefits making it a great choice to put into their food!

1. Catnip May Calm Your Cat

This is one of the most well-known benefits of catnip. While the primary effects of catnip typically only last about 10 minutes, your cat might be calmer after ingesting catnip.

Lots of cats go bananas for catnip. If your cat is one of them, we recommend Hepper's durable, engaging Catnip Stick Toy! These sturdy toys come in several fun colors and feature bite-proof double bagging and 100% organic catnip fill. They're also handmade in the USA and designed to look like your cat's natural prey.

Hepper Stick Catnip Cat Kicker Toy
  • No Filler - Like all the best cat toys our is stuffed with 100% organic catnip. Cheap cat toys with...
  • Flexible Play - Simple plush shape is great for biting, scratching and pawing. It can start life as...
  • Durably Designed - Our cat safe toys are hand-stitched with a double-lined exterior construction for...

At Catster, we’ve admired Hepper for many years and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!

gray tabby resting on catnip
Image Credit: Kelly Magnuson, Shutterstock

2. It May Aid Digestion

While most owners know catnip helps calm cats, many don’t realize it can help their digestion. This makes it a great choice to add to their dinner. Not only will they get a great meal, but they’ll also get something that helps them process all their food!

3. It May Help Prevent Diarrhea

This isn’t a well-known effect of catnip, but in small amounts, catnip can act as an anti-diarrhetic. This makes it great to mix into your cat’s food if they have a sensitive stomach. Just ensure that you’re adding the right amount for your cat; if you add too much, it can cause diarrhea.

cat paw dividerThe 3 Potential Drawbacks of Catnip

While giving your cat catnip is usually perfectly safe and effective, there are a few drawbacks. These are usually rare unless you give your cat too much catnip.

Catnip or catmint green herb background
Image By: wasilisa, Shutterstock

1. It Can Make Cats Aggressive

While most cats mellow out after consuming catnip, that’s not the case for every cat. Some cats, especially males, can become hostile and aggressive.

Some attribute this to a potential mating reaction, but it depends on the cat. If your cat gets aggressive after you give them catnip, it’s best to cut it out of their diet entirely.

2. There’s a Risk of Vomiting or Diarrhea

While a bit of catnip can help with digestion and help prevent diarrhea, too much can have the opposite effect. That’s why it’s important to portion out catnip when giving it to your cat and not give them too much.

Moreover, while most cats are fine with catnip, your cat can have a reaction if they don’t process it well.

3. It Can Cause Excessive Dizziness or Sedation

Sedation is a well-known side effect of catnip, and while a bit of dizziness isn’t a problem, some cats get far too dizzy. If that’s the case for your cat, we recommend cutting back the amount of catnip that you give them.

cat sleeping on bed with a ball of catnip
Image Credit: Lizavetta, Shutterstock

divider-catclaw1 Final Thoughts

When you’re thinking about adding catnip to your cat’s food, start slow and small. Don’t put a large amount in there; just add enough to see if it can help with their diet. If you’re noticing positive benefits and no adverse side effects, you can increase the quantity to the normal dosage, but don’t overdo it because problems can occur!

Featured Image Credit: Doug McLean, Shutterstock

Get Catster in your inbox!

Stay informed! Get tips and exclusive deals.
Catster Editors Choice Badge
Shopping Cart


© Pangolia Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved.