Cat grass

What is Cat Grass and Catnip?

What is cat grass and catnip? Are they the same thing?

You may already buy catnip for your cat but you may not know where it comes from. Catnip is actually a perennial herb from the mint family Labiatae. The active ingredient can be found in the leaves and stems of the plant and is an essential oil, nepetalactone. Catnip looks like this:

Catnip is best known for its ability to get cats “high”. Yep, that is what we said. Catnip, either smelt or eaten induces the following typical reactions in some cats:

Cat grass on the other hand is edible grass for cats that often contains barley, oats, wheat and rye. Cats nibble on the grass because it tastes good. It doesn’t give your cat a “high” like catnip does.

What does catnip actually do?

Catnip contains nepetalactone which causes a “hallucinogenic effect” of sorts. There is some debate about its exact effects but for those cats that sniff or eat catnip, your cat moves into a state of euphoria. It makes them happy and has them jumping and rolling all over the place! The response lasts for around 10 minutes or so. The physical response varies in each cat and it is not effective for kittens.

Here are some great benefits:

  • It can be used to encourage your cat to use his or her scratching post and other pet furniture
  • It’s great to get your inactive cat or cats exercising
  • It comes in a range of forms including sprays, loose leaves, flowers and buds, pellets, dental chews, scratching pad and toys

But a word of caution – if you are a multi-cat family introduce cat nip slowly. Some cats may become a little aggressive when they smell or eat catnip. You should see how your cats react individually before introducing catnip into your home.

What does cat grass actually do?

  • It can speed up your cat’s digestion process
  • It can induce vomiting (in a good way!) – this can be beneficial when your cat has eaten something toxic, something that doesn’t agree with their stomach or when food causes an allergic reaction
  • It’s a great source of fiber which can help to treat constipation and diarrhea
  • It can help your cat to cough up fur balls which prevents the build-up of hairballs

Will catnip work for my cat?

The effectiveness of cat nip is different for each cat. The current thinking is that around 70-80% of cats are affected by catnip. You will know if catnip is effective if you see the following reactions from your cat:

  • Sniffing
  • Chewing, licking and head shaking
  • chin and cheek rubbing
  • Head rolling and body rubbing

There’s other signs too. Stretching, drooling, jumping, licking, aggression and hyperactivity are other typical signs.

OK, catnip sounds a little extreme and exploitative. Can catnip harm my cat?

Nope. Cats are clever (as you know!) and they have this uncanny ability to refuse more catnip once they’ve has enough. They won’t overdose on it and it is not harmful.

Catnip is not for every pet parent. Some people find it kind of odd and unsettling to be creating a cat “high”.  We get that catnip is not for everyone.

OK, cat grass sounds WAY less extreme. Can cat grass harm my cat in any way?

Some cats may not be able to differentiate between grass and plants. This can pose a few problems if you have other plants in the house that may be poisonous. It’s a good idea to do a bit of reading to see if you have any poisonous plants in your home.

It is not essential to have cat grass in your home. However some people find it really beneficial for their cat and a natural alternative to offering them commercial products that contain fiber (but may also contain “fillers”). It is always a good idea to monitor your cat if you decide to introduce cat grass to your home. If your cat seems to eat it to excess, you would be wise to remove it from your home.

Want to grow catnip yourself?

Catnip is super easy to grow at home from seeds or seedlings. The plants need lots of room to grow and they like porous soil and lots of sunlight.

What to grow cat grass yourself?

Growing grass for your cat is easy and will ensure that your cat doesn’t eat toxic plants or grass that has potential poisonous pesticides or fertilizers in it. You can get cat grass seeds from health food stores and pet suppliers.  You could also opt for grass growing kits.

Tips for buying cat grass or cat nip


Try to find products that are certified by government bodies. For example, some catnip products are USDA certified organic. Try to find natural and organic catnips as they are perfectly safe for your cat to eat (ingest).

Source products that contain no stems, no fillers, no pesticides and with an ingredient list as close to nature as possible. Products with a grinded mix of just leaves and flowers is the best.

You will want to store your cat nip in airtight containers. Keep catnip away from direct sunlight.

We’ve rounded up 3 of the most popular quality catnip products below.

Cat grass 

Try to find products that are organic and that contain no GMO’s.  Try to source cat grass grown in organic soil and where organic seeds have been used.  We’ve rounded up 3 of the most popular quality cat grass products below.

We’ve rounded up 3 of the most popular quality catnip products on the market:

Pet Magasin Canadian-Grown Fine-Grind Catnip

Meowijuana Meowi-Waui Catnip Leaf & Flake

Tabby James Premium Organic Catnip Regular Cut Set

There are plenty more catnip products on the market to choose from.  Click here to see more choices.

We’ve rounded up 3 of the most popular organic cat grass products on the market:

The Cat Ladies 100% Organic cat grass kit/pet grass kit with cat grass planter. Includes planter, organic seed mix and organic soil

Non-GMO, Thunder Acres Premium Wheat Seed, Cat Grass Seed, Wheatgrass, Hard Red Winter Wheat

Todd’s Seeds, Wheatgrass Seeds, One Pound, Cat Grass Seeds, Hard Red Wheat

There are plenty more catnip products on the market to choose from. Click here to see more choices.

Have you had any experience with growing catnip or cat grass at home? Leave some tips or feedback below for others in the CatPadz community 

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