'Is Catnip a Drug?' And Other Questions Asked by Humans  - Cat Crack Catnip

'Is Catnip a Drug?' And Other Questions Asked by Humans 

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Many cat years ago, a friend of mine at the Institute of Human Studies told me the difference between cats and humans. He said that if cats like something, they just do it, while if humans like something, they can't 'just do it,' they first have to argue about it, demonize it, outlaw it, campaign for it, legalize it, monetize it, spoil it for everyone by doing it inappropriately, and then repeat the cycle. 

Humans claim that this nuanced range of responses somehow makes them 'better' than us, but in truth, it simply reflects their inability to take things at face value.  

There is – of course – a line. We are not dogs. We don't simply like everything. We are not halfwits. We appreciate nuance just as much as humans – we don't look down our pretty little noses at it. In fact, we dis-like many more things than we like. Birds, for example, are by and large annoying and set our teeth on edge.  

It's just that our instinct for what's good - and therefore merits uncomplicated enjoyment - is strong and finely tuned. Like, for example, catnip. Whereas, if we were humans? Well – what are the parallels? We hear that wine, coffee, chocolate, free time and canoodling all have transformative effects on their mood and well-being – yet humans don't seem able to just "crack on" and enjoy them. They have, instead, to be the subject of endless hand-wringing and debate. And now they want to debate catnip. Please no! 

In recent years, we have seen an explosion in human awareness of catnip. This is annoying because they don't believe something is real until they've discovered it. But the real problem here is that having 'discovered' it, they will almost certainly now try to steal or ruin it. 

Fortunately, that old friend of mine is now Whiskerland's Secretary of State For Human Affairs – that's right, my good personal pal is none other than Ginger "Joe" Bush. In an unprecedented move, Joe has written an open letter to humankind, answering what he believes to be the most important questions of our time – that is, the daft ones they keep asking each other about catnip. I am proud to share it with you here. 

So, settle down with a free hit - do NOT share it with a human – and read what he's said on our behalf. 

'Is Catnip a Drug for Cats?' An Open Letter to Humankind 

Dear humans:

This is a message from cats. 

We understand everything you say, and normally choose to ignore it, but the situation vis à vis catnip has become somewhat urgent. 

We've heard the questions you ask of each other, and your bumbling attempts to answer them yourselves, because you "don't believe in experts." Well you should. You should trust the science and those who know – cats. Here are the actual answers: pay close attention.

Is Catnip a Drug for Cats?

Yes and (mainly) no.  

Most human drugs are synthetic, and classified as either pharmaceutical (and therefore medicinal and GOOD) or recreational (and therefore psychoactive and BAD). Some human drugs are natural, though – herbs and plants – but still, again, the medicinal ones are viewed as GOOD, and the psychoactive ones BAD. 

This is all a gross over-simplification. Catnip is completely natural and has both medicinal and recreational uses. It could be considered a drug in either sense of the word, but has none of the negative connotations that 'drugs' carry in human society. But seeing as you seem to struggle so much with this, it's best if you just call it a 'natural herbal extract.'

Does Catnip Get Cats High?

Yeah baby, especially if you get the best around. (If you see a cat, give him this free hit and he'll love you forever – PS this is NOT for you).

Imagine the combined feelings of wine, espresso and sexy time – great huh?! Feeling 'high' is not a crime. It's probably how YOU feel when you see a cute picture of a kitten, slide the perfect muffin out of the oven, or watch your team (the Whisker City Wingdings or whoever they might be) win in overtime. Our advice: anything you can do in life to feel 'high' which has zero negatives to yourself or anyone else, just chill out and do it.

What is in Catnip That Makes Cats Go Crazy?

Cat nip comes from the leaves, stems, and flowers of the cat nip plant. It's 100% natural and contains many essential oils and antioxidants with various health and wellness benefits, but the main active ingredient is a naturally occurring compound called nepetalactone.

What Does Catnip Do?


Right – really try and focus.

When a cat smells nepetalactone, it binds to cat-specific receptors in the lining of the nasal passage, stimulating neurons which talk to the parts of the brain associated with emotions, causing us to feel empathetic, and either hyperactive and playful and then relaxed and content, or just relaxed and content. 

The effects typically last 10 to 15 minutes – just leave us alone to get on with it please - after which we become temporarily immune to its effects. It's a bit like when you, a human, eat a very big burger, and are then temporarily immune to the idea of eating a(nother) very big burger. Although we see that this does not apply to all of you.

Can Cats Overdose on Catnip?

The best way to help you understand this is to change the question: can YOU overdose on enjoying life? No, you can't.  

Sometimes, it is technically possible to have too much fun, and if you have too much catnip, you might feel a little flat afterward, or perhaps experience a mildly upset tum-tum. But fun is not toxic, and neither is catnip – these things do not poison you, make you sick, or harm your health.  You can't overdose on catnip. 

Can You Smoke Catnip? 

Don't be silly. And asking "can humans smoke catnip" is just silly. 

Have you ever seen a cat smoking catnip - or banana skins? Well then. Catnip is not for smoking. That's like us asking you if we should have a bath in a tub of prosecco. It's just daft – stop it.  

For most cats, the go-to way to enjoy catnip is to roll in it. Now, I appreciate you may not wish to do this, so alternatively, if you do have a desire to try catnip, then please remember:

  • It's OUR thing, so we'd rather you didn't.
  • You should only ever try a small amount of a natural, organic source plant (preferably one you've grown yourself).
  • It will not affect you like it affects cats.
  • Try making a herbal tea, or using it as a poultice or added to your bath.
  • Don't bogart that catnip, my friend – pass it over to me.

We hope you are well. Please do not tickle our tummies.

All the best,


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