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The History of Catnip: From an ancient Etruscan city to your cat's toy box!

Catnip growing in a garden

Hi everypawdy, welcome to our very first blog post! We look forward to investigating and blogging about pet related topics. Cattus Toys is primarily known as a shop for handmade cat toys, so we thought we should start at the beginning (of catnip, that is)! As we researched this topic we uncovered some interesting things. Now, let’s go back together to Nepete, an ancient Etruscan city.

Viterbo, Italy

Catnip’s real name is Nepta cataria because it was predominantly grown in a city called Nepete. Today the town is called Nepi in the province of Viterbo, Italy. Catnip is also native to Europe, Asia, Africa. Later in the 18th centuries settlers brought plant cuttings with them to ‘The New World’ to use as food and medicine.

It seems like for a long time people loved using this herb! The Romans used it in various recipes and medicines. In the Middle Ages ‘nep’ was also used in cooking and medicine. The Native Americans used it to treat ‘women problems’. Other ways catnip was used was in ointments to treat skin ailments and brewed as a tea to treat colds, fevers and flatulence (yeah, that’s right…).

An interesting story floating around the internet is that chewing catnip root can make a person aggressive. Apparently there was a hangman that was having trouble doing his job. So he would chew catnip root before to give him the courage to complete his task (yikes). Also, rumors of boxers chewing the root before matches. On the other hand drinking catnip tea is said to be a good relaxant and was used as a sedative for children!

You may be wondering, why don’t we still use catnip today? Mainly because catnip was replaced by modern pharmaceuticals. Nowadays it is mostly known for the effect it has on our beloved feline friends. It’s no surprise that our cats would claim this interesting herb as their own, because that’s what they do!


“This bed is mine. This computer, mine. This book you're reading, mine. Oh? This really interesting herb, yeah, also mine” - every cat ever

More and more people are turning towards natural remedies. Is it time for catnip to make a comeback? You tell us, because we’ve prepared a catnip tea recipe for you to try! 

Cattus' Relaxing Catnip Tea;

  • 1 ½ teaspoon organic dried catnip

  • 250ml of water very hot water

  • Steep for 10 min

  • Add sugar or honey to taste

  • Add a slice of lemon

Please watch our video and leave a comment if you like this tea! You can also tag @cattus.toys on social media if you do!
Thank you for reading and happy play everypawdy!

Further reading;

  • - Tea is the second most popular drink in the world, with water at first place.

  • - In the UK in 2017, 68% of people drink tea per day, with 37% drinking two to three cups, and 21% drinking between four to five cups.






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