According to thespruce.com, catnip, (catnip botanical name: Nepeta cataria) is an easy to grow perennial. Catnip comes from the plant family Lamiaceae, so the catnip family is the mint family of flowering plants. (I wonder if that explains why my cat loves the smell of tic tacs?)
Not all cats are attracted to catnip, but according to the humane society, about half of cats are, so there is a 50/50 chance that your cat will love catnip! Young kittens (less than 6 months or so) don't seem to have developed a love for catnip yet, so if you tried it once and your kitten didn't seem to care, they might like it now that they are older!
Cats that like catnip are usually first attracted to the smell which, according to FreshStep targets the "happy" receptors in a cat's brain. Then when they eat it, it can create a mellowing effect that usually lasts about 10 minutes.
If your cat likes catnip, growing your own can be a great way to control what is put onto your catnip and make sure it doesn't have any harmful chemicals!
If you have some yard space, you can get catnip seeds to grow it right in your garden. It has been said that rabbits and rodents don't like the scent of it much, so it could be a good way to keep them away from your other plants. Of course, you just might attract a lot of neighborhood cats! It grows well in a variety of climates, so you may just want to keep it in pots even if you are keeping it outside.
If you don't have an area to grow catnip out doors, never fear, you can grow it indoors year round in one of our catnip kits! It includes the catnip seeds as well as organic potting medium, so you just need to add water and sunlight!
Once you have some nice fresh catnip, you can use it by rubbing it on your cats scratching posts, toys, beds, carrier, or anything else you want to draw their attention to. You can rub the catnip leaves on every few days, but not more than once a day to keep your cat from getting desensitized to it.
You can also use fresh catnip leaf like we would use a garnish for our food, or as a treat or reward for your cat, but don't let pregnant cats (or people) eat it! Drugs.com says there are documented adverse effects in pregnancy, and you certainly don't want that for babies or kittens!
Another use for fresh catnip is as an insect repellent. Just rubbing the crushed leaves on you can help keep mosquitos at bay for 5-15 minutes, or you can use it to make a bug repellent spray. This excellent article from wikihow provides a recipe and lots of great other ideas for catnip!
Of course, you can also dry catnip. To do this, cut some of the stalks near the ground and tie them together with yarn or thread. Find a dark, dry spot, like a closet, and hang the tied up stalks with the leaves facing down. You could put a tack in the door and hang up the tied bundle from it. Try to keep the door shut so it stays dark where the catnip is to help it keep it's potency. After 4 to 8 weeks, you should have dried catnip!
You can then use the dried catnip as a garnish for cat food, or as a treat for your cat (again not for pregnant cats or people!). You can even brew some catnip tea (also not for pregnant cats or people!), or you can make your own catnip toys by putting the dried catnip in a sock (without holes) and tying off the top. If you're a little more crafty, you can make little stuffed animals and use the catnip as a filling instead of just using a sock! Store the toy in a sealed container when your cat is done playing with it to keep the potency of the catnip and also to keep your cat from becoming desensitized to it. Store any extra dried catnip in the freezer, where it will keep for up to a year!