Do Bengal Cats Like Catnip?

Bengal’s amusing temperament, when coupled with Catnip, brings forth the most incredible reactions of all times.

Do Bengal cats like catnip? Like any other cat breed, the Bengals love Catnip. This miraculous herb brings out the most amusing behavior from Bengals. However, there can be a few exceptions. Sometimes, the love for catnip is recessive in cat’s gene which is absolutely normal and they may like other herbs.

The relationship between Catnips and Bengals is as interesting and fascinating to study as it is to witness!

What is Catnip?

In the botanical world, Catnip is known as Nepeta Cataria or more commonly as Catmint.

This perennial herb is famous for its intense and immense effects on a cat’s behavior.

Also known as Catswort, the Catmint belongs to the family Lamiaceae in the genus called Nepeta.

Its heart-shaped, grayish-green leaves along with its white flowers, give the plant an aesthetic appearance.

Originating from Southwestern Europe, Asia & the Middle East, Catnip is a short-lived plant.

Its minty odor and chemical composition bring about, a crazy and fanatic reaction in certain cats.

Stored in tiny bulbs on leaves and stems of the plant, Nepetalactone is the magical stimulant of the Catnip.

It is basically a volatile oil which bonds with the chemical receptors situated in your cat’s nasal cavity, upon sniffing.

Furthermore, it stimulates neurons in the brain which evoke amusing yet baffling reactions in cats, that usually lasts for approximately 5-15 minutes.

The Nepetalactone in Catnip also serves as a natural insect repellant. It repels:

  • Mosquitoes
  • Flies
  • Aphids
  • Termites

Bengals and Catnip

Bengal cats are famous for their lively and high-energy persona.

Perhaps, this accounts for the extraordinarily fascinating and entertaining reaction exhibited by a Bengal when provided with a Catnip.


Bengals react to Catnip like any other cat.

After smelling the plant:

The cat exhibits hyperactive behavior which may comprise of the following:

  • Head Shaking
  • Drooling
  • Chattering
  • Flipping around
  • Body Rolling
  • Eating the Herb
  • Cheek rubbing

After a span of 5 to 15 minutes, your Bengal may lose interest in the plant for about two hours. After that, it repeats the cycle.

Catnip does not only serve as a means of recreation and pleasure to your cat but also helps it in getting some much-needed exercise.

It even helps in relieving stress and anxiety that may develop during traveling or disturbing circumstances.

Do all Bengal cats react to catnip?

The cat’s response to catnip is entirely genetic and differs from individual to individual.

Usually, kittens under seven months of age do not respond to Catnip.

Around 65% to 70% of the cats respond to Catnips, including Bengals. They may react strongly or moderately.

Sensitivity to catnip is inherited. This trait is autosomal dominant i.e. it is possible for it to be passed on through one parent only.


All cats react to the catnip in three different ways.

Thus, they are classified into three groups:

  • Strong responders
  • Moderate responders
  • Non-responders

If the cat does not react to the catnip:

Either the gene or the pheromonal receptors are absent in it.

Catnip has the chemical Nepetalactone, which triggers the pheromonal receptors which in turn, cause the cats’ reactions.

These receptors are present in two-thirds of the domestic cat population as well as some wild cats.

Moreover, some cats do not respond to the Catnip depending on a few factors like:

  • Gender
  • Genetics
  • Environmental factors

Response stimulated due to genes have been discussed earlier, now let’s focus upon the response attained due to gender and environment.

Males are more likely to respond strongly to Catnip than most females.

What’s more:

If the Bengal has been moved to a new or strange environment, it may cause it to get anxious or fearful.

As a result:

It will show little or no response at all to  Catnip.

Effects of excessive use of catnip for Bengal cats

There are various health benefits of catnips for your cat.

Not only does it help the cat stay healthy but it is also a source of exercise for it.


If the cat is stressed or is anxious during travel, a little bit of Catnip sprinkled in its bedding will put your cat at ease.

However, excessive use can lead to drastic and detrimental consequences. These include:

  • Addiction to Catnip
  • Becoming immune to the effect of Catnip
  • Aggressiveness
  • Vomiting and diarrhea

Surely, nobody wants their precious kitty to suffer from the above-listed consequences.

Vets and specialists recommend the use of Catnip, once or twice a week.

To sum it up:

Catnip is totally harmless for your cat if given in an adequate and limited amount.


Overexposure to it may result in wearing off of the Catnip’s effect as well as health deterioration of your cat.

Ways to provide catnip to your Bengal cat

If you’re afraid that your cat might get bored of this Catmint, don’t worry!

There are many interesting ways in which you can provide your cat with this amazing herb:

  • Loose dried herbs
  • Catnip toys
  • Catnip balls
  • Live plants
  • Catnip sprays
  • Catnip wine

If you opt for loose dried herb, you should know that it’s fun but it will also create a lot of mess.

For this technique:

You should rub the herb on your fingertips and bring it closer to your cat.


You can sprinkle it on the floor or directly on your cat.

Secondly, you can provide your cat with Catnip toys or Catnip balls. This method is much easier, less messy and fun as well.

Also, for Bengals, it is an effective way because they love to play.

All you have to do is give your cat the Catnip toy (which you can purchase from local pet stores) and let it enjoy!


You will have to replace the toy after a while as the plant may dry out.

Moving on, Catnip is a pretty plant and can also serve as décor. Bengals are curious cats and love to explore.

Placing the plant on a suitable place on the floor and filling the surface soil with pebbles is another way of providing your cat with this herb.


Cats will either love to chew the plant or sleep around it but it is possible that they dislodge it and run away with the herb.

Moreover, Catnip wine is also an intriguing way of providing your Bengal with Catnip. It isn’t grape juice or alcohol but is more like tea for your cat with Catnip in it.

It comes in different flavors like:

  • Meowgarita
  • Catbernet
  • Meow and Chandon
  • Meowsling


Most Bengals are fond of water but almost all the Bengals are fond of this Catnip spray.

You can spray it on scratch posts and see your cat get excited.

You can either purchase the spray or make it at home.

Related Questions

Where can I buy or grow catnip? Catnip is easy to grow and is easily accessible at most nurseries in the herb section.

From the nursery:

It can either be purchased in the form of a seedling plant or in the form of seeds.

Also, it is best if you plant it in early spring as they grow best in full sun and granular soil. Catnip plants can grow fairly large.

The other option is purchasing the catnip in dried form from any pet store in your vicinity.

Some cat toys already have a catnip in them therefore, you can buy such toys as well.

Catnips are also available in spray form.

Is there any substitute for Catnip? Just in case your cat is not so fond of catnips, here’s the good news: there are substitutes for catnips!

L-theanine, valerian root, kava kava, Asia’s famous; silver vine, cat grass of West Africa and lemon grass of India and Sri Lanka are a few alternatives of the Catnip.

What are the varieties of catnip? There are about 250 species in the Catnip family;  Family Labiate. Some of the well-recognized species of Catnip are:

  • Nepeta Cataria (True Catnip)
  • Nepeta Camphorata (Camphor catnip)
  • Nepeta Parnassica (Greek Catnip)
  • Nepeta Cataria Citriodora (Lemon Catnip)
  • Nepeta Mussini (Persian Catnip )

The variety which is mostly  preferred by cats of all breeds is  Nepeta Cataria (True Catnip).

 It grows up to 3 feet and consists of white flowers.

Do Bengal cats require a special diet? Like any other domestic cat-breed, the Bengals should be fed with high-quality food.

They do not require a special diet but should be provided with all the essential nutrients.

The ancestors of Bengal fed on wild lizards, birds, and insects. Consequently, the Bengals require large amounts of protein.

Meat is an excellent source of protein. Therefore, these cats should be fed with an appropriate amount of fresh meat.

Grain-rich foods like rice, wheat or corn should be avoided as they can cause digestive problems.

Fish should be given in measurable quantities too. The excessive intake of fish meat may lead to nutritional deficiencies.


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