Top 5 Animals That Can Benefit From Catnip

by Haley Mills · August 21, 2023

Join us as we reveal the surprising animals that go wild for catnip! From large to small, find out which creatures can benefit from this feline favorite.

Catnip, a member of the mint family, is widely known for its potent effect on cats. Just a whiff of this aromatic herb can send our feline friends into a state of pure bliss. But did you know that catnip can also benefit other animals? In this article, we will explore the top five animals that can benefit from the enchanting powers of catnip, revealing some unexpected reactions and fascinating insights along the way.

While cats are the most obvious beneficiaries of catnip, it turns out that dogs can also experience some interesting reactions. Contrary to popular belief, not all dogs are immune to the allure of catnip. Some canines may display behaviors similar to those of cats, such as rolling, rubbing, and even drooling when exposed to the scent of this magical herb. So, if you’re a dog owner looking to provide some extra fun and stimulation for your furry friend, catnip might be the answer you’ve been searching for. But dogs are just the beginning; even more animals out there can benefit from the wonders of catnip.

Cats: The Most Obvious Beneficiaries

You know that cats are the most obvious beneficiaries of catnip – it’s like their ultimate source of joy and bliss! When exposed to catnip, they can’t help but show their playful and energetic side. It’s almost as if they are transported into pure happiness. Their senses become heightened, their pupils dilate, and they start rolling around, rubbing against anything that comes their way. It’s a sight to behold!

Not only does catnip bring out the playful side of cats, it also has a calming effect on them. Many cats use catnip as a stress reliever, especially when they may feel anxious or scared. They can relax and feel more at ease by sniffing or chewing on catnip. It’s amazing how a simple plant can have such a profound impact on our feline friends. So, it’s safe to say that cats are the most obvious beneficiaries of catnip – it brings them pure joy and helps them find their inner peace.

Dogs: Surprising Reactions to Catnip

Imagine your furry friend, wagging its tail and playfully rolling around in a cloud of catnip-induced bliss. While cats are the most common beneficiaries of catnip, you might be surprised to learn that dogs can also have some interesting reactions to this magical herb. Although catnip does not have the same effect on dogs as on cats, some dogs show signs of interest and enjoyment when exposed to it.

When it comes to dogs and catnip, they may exhibit behaviors such as sniffing, rubbing against it, or rolling around on the ground. Some dogs may even become more playful and energetic after being exposed to catnip. However, it’s important to note that not all dogs react to catnip similarly. Just like humans, dogs have their own unique preferences and sensitivities, so while one dog may go crazy for catnip, another may show no interest at all.

It’s still not entirely clear why some dogs are attracted to catnip, as cats do not have the same receptors in their brains. It could be that the scent of catnip is simply appealing to them, or it has some other soothing or stimulating effect. Regardless of the reason, it’s always fun to see our canine companions enjoying themselves, even if it’s with a toy or herb that is typically associated with cats. So, the next time you’re at the pet store, why not pick up a catnip toy for your dog and see if they have any surprising reactions?

Small Mammals: From Rabbits to Ferrets

Small mammals, such as rabbits and ferrets, can experience the effects of catnip. While catnip is commonly associated with cats, it can also have a similar response in these small furry friends. When exposed to catnip, rabbits and ferrets may exhibit playful behavior, rolling around, and rubbing against the catnip-infused object. Some rabbits may even start binkying, a high jump and twist in the air that shows their excitement. Ferrets, on the other hand, may become more active, running around and exploring their surroundings.

Not only does catnip provide entertainment for these small mammals, but it can also have other benefits. Catnip can be used as a training tool or a way to encourage rabbits to use certain toys or litter boxes. The scent of catnip can also help calm rabbits during stressful situations, such as vet visits or introductions to new environments. As for ferrets, catnip can be used for enrichment purposes. It stimulates their natural curiosity and encourages them to engage in play, keeping them mentally and physically stimulated.

Catnip is not only limited to cats but can also positively affect small mammals like rabbits and ferrets. It can provide entertainment, training assistance, and enrichment for these furry friends, making it a valuable addition to their lives.

Birds: Unexpected Effects on Avian Species

Birds may experience unexpected and intriguing effects when exposed to catnip. While catnip is primarily known for its effects on cats, some bird species have also been observed to have interesting reactions to this herb. One of the most common behaviors exhibited by birds when exposed to catnip is increased vocalization. They may become more talkative, singing or chirping more frequently than usual. This can be entertaining for bird owners and amusing for anyone observing these feathered creatures.

In addition to increased vocalization, some birds may also display heightened activity levels when exposed to catnip. They may become more energetic and engage in playful behaviors such as hopping, flapping their wings, or even doing acrobatic maneuvers in their cages or aviaries. This increased activity can be a welcome sight for bird owners, as it provides their pets with mental and physical stimulation.

It is important to note that not all bird species may react to catnip similarly. Some birds may show no interest or reaction at all, while others may exhibit more pronounced effects. As with any new substance or environmental enrichment, it is recommended to introduce catnip to birds gradually and observe their reactions closely to ensure their safety and well-being.

Can Catnip and Mirtazapine Both Benefit Cats in Different Ways?

Catnip and uses of mirtazapine for cats both benefit felines in different ways. While catnip provides a natural stimulant for play and exercise, mirtazapine can be prescribed to stimulate appetite or alleviate nausea in cats. Both can be used to improve a cat’s well-being.

Reptiles and Amphibians: Unleashing the Power of Catnip

Reptiles and amphibians can’t resist the allure of catnip’s captivating aroma. While most people associate catnip with their feline friends, it turns out that reptiles and amphibians also have a strong reaction to this herb. Catnip contains nepetalactone, which acts as a stimulant for these cold-blooded creatures. When exposed to catnip, reptiles and amphibians may exhibit increased activity, rubbing against the plant, and rolling around in it. This reaction is similar to the way cats respond to catnip, suggesting that there may be a shared sensitivity to this plant among different species.

One possible explanation for this reaction is that catnip contains chemicals that mimic pheromones, which are chemical signals used by animals to communicate with each other. For reptiles and amphibians, these pheromones may signal the presence of a potential mate or a food source. By responding to catnip, these animals may be trying to attract mates or locate prey. The stimulating effects of catnip may also provide enrichment for reptiles and amphibians kept as pets, helping to alleviate boredom and encourage natural behaviors. However, it’s important to note that not all reptiles and amphibians will react to catnip, as individual sensitivity can vary.


Catnip is not just a delight for our feline friends, but it can also have surprising benefits for other animals as well. While cats are the most obvious beneficiaries, with their playful reactions and calming effects, it is interesting to see that dogs can also experience a range of reactions to catnip. Even small mammals like rabbits and ferrets can find enjoyment and stimulation from catnip, making it a great addition to their environments.

The most unexpected catnip beneficiaries are birds, who can experience increased activity and playfulness when exposed to the herb. And let’s not forget about reptiles and amphibians, who can also benefit from the power of catnip. From calming effects to increased activity levels, catnip can bring a little joy and stimulation into the lives of these animals. So, next time you think about catnip, consider how it can benefit a broader range of creatures and maybe even offer a little entertainment for your non-feline pets.

Last Updated: January 30, 2024

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