Can I use catnip to sedate my cat?

  • Date: September 17, 2021
  • Time to read: 3 min.

Catnip is a popular herb that has been used for centuries to sedate cats and other animals. It is a natural sedative that provides relaxation and a calming effect on cats. As a result, many pet owners are interested in knowing whether catnip can be used to safely sedate their cats. In this article, we will discuss the effects of catnip on cats, the safety of using it to sedate cats, and the best methods for administering it.

Catnip and its effects on cats

Catnip is a plant that has a long history of being associated with cats, both domestic and wild. It has a unique chemical structure, which cats find irresistible and often become quite excited when exposed to it. It is thought to act as a mild sedative, but can it be used to sedate cats in a safe and effective way?

The active ingredient in catnip is an essential oil called nepetalactone. This chemical binds to a receptor in cats’ noses and produces reactions ranging from mild excitement to a deep sleep-like state. The effects of catnip are usually short-lived, lasting around 15 minutes at most. Depending on the individual cat, the response to catnip can range from mild interest to uncontrollable rolling and drooling.

Can Catnip be Used to Sedate a Cat?

Catnip can have a calming effect on cats and can be used to help reduce stress and anxiety. In some cases, it can even be used as a mild sedative. However, it is important to note that catnip should not be used as a substitute for medical treatment or to sedate a cat for an extended period of time.

It is important to remember that catnip is not a cure-all and should never be used to replace professional medical advice or treatment. Catnip is best used as an occasional treat when a cat is feeling anxious or stressed, or when they need to be calmed before a veterinary appointment.

How to Safely Use Catnip to Sedate a Cat

If you decide to use catnip to sedate your cat, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, it is best to administer the catnip in a controlled environment. This means keeping the cat in a room or area where they cannot escape and that is free from potential hazards.

You should also ensure that the catnip is safe. Avoid using catnip that has been exposed to sunlight, as this can cause the essential oils to break down and become less effective. It is also important to avoid using catnip in excessive amounts, as it can cause cats to become overly excited or disoriented. Finally, it is important to monitor your cat for any signs of distress or discomfort.


Catnip can be a helpful tool for reducing stress and anxiety in cats, and can even be used as a mild sedative in some cases. However, it is important to remember that catnip should never be used as a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. When used in moderation and in a controlled environment, it can be a safe and effective way to help sedate a cat.

## Common Myths About Catnip and Sedation

1. Catnip can be used to sedate a cat – False. Catnip does not have sedative properties and should not be used as a substitute for medication prescribed by a veterinarian.

2. Catnip is a drug – False. Catnip is a herb that is safe for cats. While it may produce an effect in some cats, it is not a drug and does not contain any controlled or illegal substances.

3. Cats can become addicted to catnip – False. Cats can become accustomed to the effects of catnip, but addiction is not possible.

4. Catnip can make cats aggressive – False. Catnip does not have any known effects that would cause aggressive behavior in cats.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use catnip to sedate my cat?

No, catnip actually has the opposite effect on cats. It can make them more energetic and playful.

What other plants have a sedative effect on cats?

Valerian root, catmint, cat thyme, and skullcap are all plants that can have a sedative effect on cats. However, it is important to note that cats can have different reactions to these plants, so it is best to consult a veterinarian before giving any of these plants to your cat.



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