Catnip actually provides a natural sort of high for cats, that cats love.
Effects Of Catnip On Cats
if a domestic cat eats catnip, it will show the following effects: rolling, pawing, frisking, etc.
Catnip is known for, and named after, the effects it has on cats. It particularly effects domestic cats most. Although not every cat has the same effect from catnip, approximately two thirds of cats are susceptible to it.
Catnip contains a chemical called nepetalactone which is a terpene, that is believed to mimic feline sex pheromones. When a cat senses the bruised leaves or stems of catnip, they will rub in it, roll over it, paw at it, chew it, lick it, leap about and purr. Depending on the cat, it might also growl and meow.
The reaction of catnip usually only lasts a few minutes. Once a cat has a reaction to it, it will be a couple hours until it is susceptible to the reaction again.
Young and old cats are less likely to have any reaction to catnip.
Cat nip has no known side effects, and is often even used in cat toys.
The only situation where it is not a good idea for a cat to have access to catnip, is if the cat has heart troubles. This is because on catnip cats become very excited. This could cause a heart attack.
This video explains how catnip effects cats.