Cats are fascinating creatures with unique personalities that make them great pets. However, as any cat owner knows, they can also be unpredictable and challenging to deal with at times. One popular question among cat owners is whether catnip spray calms cats.

Catnip is a herb that is known to have a calming effect on cats. It contains a compound called nepetalactone which is believed to stimulate a response in cats’ brains that causes them to become more relaxed and less anxious. Catnip spray is a convenient way to provide this effect to your cat without the mess of traditional catnip leaves. But does it really work? Let’s explore this topic further.

Does Catnip Spray Calm Cats?

Does Catnip Spray Calm Cats?

If you’re a cat owner, you’ve likely heard of catnip spray. This product is marketed as a way to calm down your feline friend, but does it actually work? In this article, we’ll explore the science behind catnip spray and whether or not it can truly help calm cats.

What is Catnip Spray?

Catnip spray is a liquid that contains catnip oil. Catnip is a plant that is a member of the mint family and contains a compound called nepetalactone. This compound is what makes cats go crazy for catnip. When cats smell catnip, they may roll around in it, lick it, or even eat it.

Catnip spray is a convenient way to give your cat the benefits of catnip without the mess. Simply spray it on a toy or scratching post, and your cat will be attracted to it. But can catnip spray actually calm your cat down?

How Does Catnip Affect Cats?

When cats smell catnip, the nepetalactone compound binds to receptors in their brain. This triggers a release of feel-good chemicals, such as dopamine and serotonin. The result is a temporary high that can last up to 15 minutes.

However, not all cats react to catnip. The sensitivity to catnip is actually hereditary, and some cats may not have the genes that make them respond to the nepetalactone compound. In fact, estimates suggest that only around 50% of cats are affected by catnip.

Can Catnip Spray Calm Cats?

While catnip spray can certainly attract cats and make them feel good, it may not necessarily calm them down. In fact, the temporary high that catnip provides may actually make cats more active and playful.

That being said, some cat owners do report that catnip spray helps their cats relax. This may be because the nepetalactone compound has a slight sedative effect in some cats. Additionally, the act of playing with a catnip-sprayed toy may be calming and provide mental stimulation for your cat.

The Benefits of Catnip Spray

While catnip spray may not necessarily calm your cat down, it does have some benefits. Here are a few:

  • It can provide mental stimulation for your cat, which is important for their overall health and wellbeing.

  • It can be a useful tool for training your cat, as you can use it to attract them to a scratching post or other desirable location.

  • It can provide a safe and natural form of entertainment for your cat.

Catnip Spray vs Other Calming Products

If you’re looking for a way to calm your cat, there are other products on the market that may be more effective than catnip spray. Here are a few options:

  • Pharmaceuticals: Your vet may be able to prescribe medications that can help calm your cat down in certain situations, such as during travel or when introducing a new pet to the household.

  • Essential oils: Some essential oils, such as lavender and chamomile, have calming effects on cats. However, it’s important to use these oils safely and in the correct dilution.

  • Pheromone sprays: Feline pheromones, such as those found in Feliway products, can help calm cats down in stressful situations.


Catnip spray can be a fun and entertaining product for your cat, but it may not necessarily calm them down. While some cats may find the nepetalactone compound slightly sedative, others may become more active and playful. If you’re looking for a way to calm your cat, it’s worth exploring other options such as pharmaceuticals or pheromone sprays. However, if you’re simply looking for a way to provide mental stimulation and entertainment for your cat, catnip spray may be a great option.

Frequently Asked Questions

Catnip spray is a popular product among cat owners, but many wonder if it can actually calm their feline friends. Below are some frequently asked questions about catnip spray and its effects on cats.

What is catnip spray?

Catnip spray is a liquid solution that contains an extract from the catnip plant, Nepeta cataria. It is often used as a training aid or to help calm cats in stressful situations. The spray can be applied to toys, scratching posts, or other surfaces to attract cats and encourage them to play or relax.

It is worth noting that not all cats are affected by catnip, and the spray may not have any noticeable effect on some felines.

How does catnip spray work?

Catnip contains a chemical compound called nepetalactone, which has a stimulating effect on cats. When a cat smells or ingests catnip, the nepetalactone binds to receptors in the cat’s brain, causing a range of reactions that can include increased activity, playfulness, and relaxation.

Catnip spray works in a similar way to traditional catnip, but is often easier to use and less messy. By applying the spray to a desired surface or object, cat owners can encourage their cats to play or relax in a specific area.

Can catnip spray calm cats?

Yes, catnip spray can have a calming effect on cats in some cases. The nepetalactone in the spray can cause a cat to feel relaxed and content, which may help to reduce anxiety or stress. However, it is worth noting that not all cats will respond to catnip spray in the same way, and some may not be affected at all.

Catnip spray may be particularly useful for cats who are nervous or anxious in new environments, such as when traveling or visiting the veterinarian. By spraying a familiar object or surface with catnip spray, cat owners can help their pets feel more relaxed and comfortable.

Is catnip spray safe for cats?

In general, catnip spray is considered safe for cats to use. The nepetalactone in the spray is not toxic to cats, and is unlikely to cause any serious side effects. However, it is important to use catnip spray in moderation, as too much exposure could lead to overstimulation or hyperactivity.

Catnip spray should not be used as a substitute for regular training or behavior modification techniques, and should not be relied on as the sole method of calming a cat. If a cat is experiencing severe anxiety or behavioral issues, it is important to consult with a veterinarian or animal behaviorist for professional guidance.

How often can I use catnip spray on my cat?

While catnip spray is generally safe for cats, it is important to use it in moderation. Overexposure to catnip can lead to overstimulation or hyperactivity, and may cause a cat to become agitated or aggressive.

Experts recommend using catnip spray no more than once or twice a week, and only in small amounts. It is also a good idea to monitor your cat’s behavior after using the spray, to ensure that they are not experiencing any negative side effects.

Does Catnip Spray Calm Cats? 2

In conclusion, the answer to whether catnip spray can calm cats is a resounding yes! Many cat owners and experts have observed that the scent of catnip can have a calming effect on cats, helping them relax and reduce their anxiety levels.

While the exact mechanism of how catnip works on cats is not fully understood, it is believed to be related to the compound nepetalactone found in the plant. This compound can trigger a response in cats’ brains, leading to the release of feel-good chemicals that can help them feel more relaxed and content.

If you’re looking for a natural way to calm your cat, catnip spray is definitely worth a try. However, it’s important to note that not all cats react the same way to catnip, and some may not respond to it at all. So, while it’s generally safe to use catnip spray on cats, it’s always a good idea to test it out first and observe your cat’s reaction.