No matter what form it comes in, cats love catnip. Whether your feline tends to mellow to the point of passing out or bounces off the walls in response to the herb, it's a safe and inexpensive form of entertainment for her, as her nip-driven antics will be for you.
The Essential Oil
It's actually an essential oil in the leaves of the catnip that causes your cat to react to the plant in the way she does. Your kitty can smell the oil in a leaf that is intact, but if you shred a catnip leaf the oil will be released and produce a much stronger, more effective smell. That's why your cat will happily turn a catnip plant into mulch rather than being satisfied to simply sniff at it.
Liquid catnip is the concentrated extract from catnip leaves. The extract is usually mixed with water and vegetable glycerin and can be administered with a dropper or spray bottle. Because the liquid form of catnip is so concentrated, you'll only need to use a very small amount to get your kitty going ... or to calm her down, depending on how she reacts to nip.
Catnip tea is the original liquid catnip. Brewed from the dried leaves of the catnip plant, you can offer your kitty a cooled cup of the tonic, but that might get a bit messy as she may be more inclined to play in it rather than sip it daintily. Still, you can put some strongly brewed catnip tea into a spray bottle and use it just like you would a commercially prepared catnip spray.
If you want to treat your cat to an extra-special delight, grow some catnip in your garden or even in a pot on the windowsill and make her some fresh tea with her favorite herb. Catnip is quite easy to grow, taking off like a weed once it's established. It adapts to pretty much any type of soil, including clay-based soil, and is happy in sunny spots but will grow just as enthusiastically with only a few hour's worth of sunlight each day. Your biggest challenge when becoming a catnip farmer will be to keep your cat out of the plants long enough for them to grow big enough to harvest.
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.