There are few things better than sitting down with a hot cup of tea and a cat on your lap. Now imagine you and your cats sitting down to drink the same tea.
It turns out—you can!
Catnip tea is a herbal tea, or tisane, made from the leaves and flowers of the catnip plant. Catnip’s scientific name is Nepeta cataria. It’s also known as ‘catmint,’ but the tea doesn’t have a very ‘minty’ flavour.
Organic catnip tea is an herbal remedy for cold and flu season.
There’s no mistaking a cat in the throes of catnip ecstasy. They roll around, meow like it’s their last day on earth, and rub their faces over everything before collapsing in a daze.
It’s no wonder you’d want to try and have some of what they’re having.
Catnip tea has a mild taste, but you can spice it up with lemon, chamomile, and honey.
Catnip tea has roots all the way back to the Middle Ages, where you can find it being used as a herbal remedy across Europe. Allegedly it helps headache and sinus pain, digestive issues, and makes you feel relaxed.
Having never tried catnip tea before, but being in the midst of a cold, I was happy to volunteer as a test subject for those claims. The first step was acquiring some organic, dried catnip.
Although it has a reputation closer to marijuana—I always saying I’m getting muy cats ‘high’ when I give it to them. Catnip is a member of the mint family. The oil in catnip that drives your cats crazy is called nepetalactone. It also keeps mosquitos and flies away. And it’s a lot cheaper than weed (which just became legal in Canada!).
Preparing catnip tea
When you take a pinch of fresh catnip leaves and rub it between your fingers, you get a smell that’s kind of earthy, kind of fresh. When you open your bag of catnip, beware—you may find yourself surrounded on all sides by nearby felines.
Now, put that kettle on and book some playtime with your cat.
Use 90˚-95˚ Celsius water, and a stainless steel infuser. I recommend steeping 3-5 minutes.
And put down the tea bag! Tea bags generally dilute (or in the worst cases, ruin) the flavour of your tea. I don’t care if that’s how your nan does it. Use an infuser and reap the rewards of better-tasting tea.
Catnip tea is extremely mild—people who like chamomile tea will probably enjoy this as well; it’s chamomile-reminiscent with a hint of freshness. If you find it too mild, you can try doubling the amount of dried catnip for a stronger taste.
To the purported medical benefits above, whether it was the catnip tea or the placebo effect of intentional self-care, I did feel pleasantly relaxed and my nose cleared up a bit.
I’d put it in the same camp as chamomile or mint tea. Drink it to feel better, but don’t expect it to have a major impact if you’re sick.
Yes, cats can drink catnip tea
I mean, they’ll probably have a lot more fun shoving their head inside the bag of dried catnip you bought to make tea, but heck yes, your cat can drink it, too. Just make sure to cool it down before having tea time with your kitty, and never force your cat to drink anything they don’t want to.
Catnip tea is not harmful to cats. Similar to how they react with catnip, they will usually refuse it once they’ve had enough.
More teas you can drink with your cat
For more chances to imbibe with your cat, try valerian or licorice root. They’re both human- and cat-friendly consumables. Valerian has the same effect as catnip – both tend to excite cats while having a relaxing effect on their human counterparts. Chemistry—go figure!
Valerian is also good at getting a reaction from cats who are non-responsive to catnip, so if catnip doesn’t make your furry friend go crazy, maybe try picking up some valerian at your local herbalist.
I will say, if you’re going to drink catnip tea, do yoruself a favour and don’t buy it at the pet store. Most of the catnip you’ll find there is going to be old, or not of great quality, generally speaking. More herbalists or organic grocery stores will carry catnip, valerian, and probably a few other fun things too. Their product will likely be a lot fresher, and better quality.
If you drink tea with your cats, I’d love to see!
Tag @melhadtea on Instagram if you do. It would honestly make my day.