From toys and treats to sprays and more, catnip products come in a wide variety of different forms. The best catnip product is one made with high-quality, ideally organic catnip, and stored properly to preserve freshness and potency. In this article, you’ll learn what to look for in a good catnip product and which of them we liked the best.
Let’s take a quick look at our top 5 picks and then explore them in greater depth.
At a Glance: Our Top Picks for Best Catnip Products
We highly recommend looking at the comparison table we have below where we highlighted the features of each product. You’ll also find more detailed information about each product later in the article.
Top Picks Explained
A Quick Review On Catnip
While most drugs are very dangerous for cats, there’s one substance that can be likened to a recreational drug for cats that is very safe: catnip.
Catnip (Nepeta cataria) is a member of the mint family (Lamiaceae) and it looks very similar to other herbs like peppermint, catmint, and lemon balm. Its appearance is that of a weedy green perennial plant, often topped with white or lavender-colored blooms.
For humans, catnip can be used as an insect repellant, but it can also be brewed into tea, smoked, or baked into edible treats to provide a calming, mildly sedative effect. Cats react very differently.
A certain subsection of the cat population (somewhere between 67% and 80% is very sensitive to catnip.
Cats sensitive to catnip may respond by rolling around, licking it up, rubbing their heads on objects, or engaging in general frivolity. Some cats start drooling and still others become agitated or violent.
The effects of catnip are attributed to its key chemical constituent: nepetalactone. It binds to protein receptors in your cat’s nose, stimulating his sensory neurons and activating various parts of the brain.
The 3 Qualities of a Good Catnip Product
Now that you’ve been reminded what catnip is and how it affects cats, we can move on to the hallmarks of a good catnip product. Here are the three things we look for:
1. A Good Catnip Product Has a Good Blend of Buds and Leaves.
Nepetalactone, the chemical compound responsible for catnip’s effect on cats, is secreted by tiny bulbs found all over the catnip plant. These bulbs are most heavily concentrated in the leaves and buds.
The concentration of nepetalactone is impacted by the plant’s stage of life as well. Catnip tends to bloom in the late spring to early summer, at which point the nepetalactone concentration is the highest. A potent catnip product doesn’t contain a lot of stems.
2. A Good Catnip Product Is Organic.
Nepetalactone makes up between 70% and 99% of the essential oil in catnip, so all you need are the leaves and buds to achieve the desired effect. There’s no reason to add any additional ingredients and there’s no good reason not to choose an organic product.
Fortunately, organic catnip is pretty easy to find. Organic catnip doesn’t contain pesticides or other potentially harmful substances, so it’s just a safer option for your cat overall.
3. A Good Catnip Product Is Packaged Well To Stay Fresh.
It can be difficult to know how a catnip product was handled and stored prior to being delivered to the retailer. Sometimes a product might arrive in a nice-looking package, but you later find out it isn’t well-sealed and the catnip has lost some of its freshness.
Resealable packages are a must when it comes to catnip. Catnip loses its potency over time, so you want to be able to reseal the package between uses. Customer reviews are generally a reliable way to get a sense for a product’s potency as well as the efficacy of its packaging.
Our Top Picks for the Best Catnip Products
Now that you have a better understanding of how we came to our top picks, you’re probably eager to see them!
Here are our top 5 picks for best catnip products:
While the mechanism through which catnip creates its familiar response is still something of a mystery, there’s no denying that cats love the stuff. If you’re looking for a simple way to encourage your cat to exercise or just need a little entertainment for yourself, try one of the catnip products recommended above.