Approximately two thirds of cats are susceptible to the behavioral effects of catnip, as the phenomenon is hereditary. Catnip pleasantly stimulates cats pheromonic receptor and when cats sense the bruised leaves or stems of catnip, they may rollover it, paw at it, chew it, lick it, leap about and purr, often salivating copiously. Some cats will also growl and meow. This reaction only lasts for a few minutes before the cat loses interest. It takes up to two hours for the cat to “reset” after which it can come back to the catnip and have the same response as before. Young kittens and older cats are less likely to have a reaction to catnip. Lions and tigers are also sensitive to the effects of catnip.
Contrary to popular belief, there is no “drug-like” effect from catnip, only emotional release which is healthy for your cats or kittens.