Do Raccoons Like Catnip? (Yes and No!)

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Published on January 3, 2021
Last Updated on February 17, 2024

Catnip is a strange herb. It’s known for making cats absolutely crazy, whereas it’s an effective insect-repellant at the same time, and it can be used as a calming ingredient in herbal teas.

And since about two-thirds of all cats are absolutely taken by the herb, it’s interesting to ask if other animals have a similar reaction? Big cats such as cougars, leopards, and lynxes have similar reactions to domestic cats, but what about other animals like raccoons?

Some raccoons have a reaction to catnip that is similar to the euphoria that can be seen when cats come into contact with the herb. While around two-thirds of all cats have a reaction to the active ingredient, nepetalactone, it is much rarer with raccoons, and the effects are less poignant.

Catnip is, however, in no way a repellant to raccoons and even if they’re not particularly attracted by it, they don’t dislike it like it’s the case with deer and insects.

Raccoons Are Mostly Indifferent To Catnip

Catnip, catmint, or “nepeta cataria” which is its scientific name, has been known in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia for centuries. Its Latin name tells us that people have known of its effect on cats for a while, but the herb has also been used as medicine before the invention of more complex pharmaceuticals.

The active ingredient in the plant, nepetalactone, is said to chemically resemble cat pheromones. Pheromones are the “love” hormones, just to be clear! This means that a cat affected by catnip will feel head-over-heels, happy, and as if it’s in love! This lasts for around 15 minutes which the cat will spend purring, chewing the herb, rubbing itself against it, and drooling.

After this, it’ll most likely sleep and it’ll be some 12-15 hours before it can become affected by the herb again!

Raccoons are quite different from cats. They aren’t closely related at all, which means that their pheromone receptors are different too. In other words: Nepetalactone doesn’t resemble raccoon pheromones nearly as much as they do cat pheromones.

To see how a raccoon reacts to catnip, have a look at the video below:

What Can I Feed A Raccoon, Then?

While raccoons aren’t especially affected by catnip, they’re happy eaters and they love eating pretty much everything.

And even though it won’t have an effect of euphoria, try serving some peeled bananas, walnuts, hotdogs, or something similar to your neighborhood trash-pandas. They’ll have a blast!


Some raccoons are somewhat affected by catnip, but their reaction is nothing like cats’ reaction to the herb. And while around two-thirds of all cats have a reaction to catnip, it’s much rarer to see any real effect with raccoons.

Raccoons are much more likely to be rather disinterested in the dried leaves. They’d much rather eat hotdogs.


  • Tommy

    Hi, I'm Tommy! I'm the founder of I am an animal enthusiast and self-proclaimed wildlife expert as well as a dog trainer and breeder of the breed Löwchen. Since I was a kid, I’ve been wildly fascinated by animals, both from growing up in a rural area where there were always animals around, but especially from seeing them in the wild.

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3 thoughts on “Do Raccoons Like Catnip? (Yes and No!)”

  1. I would be grateful if someone knew a way to keep my resident raccoon out of the feral cat food.. I’m an 89 yo cancer survivor. I was a kid during the Great Depression and WWII. Living by a large forest in NJ my cousin and I had little to play with. We fed the rats, mice and any animal that came along. Mostly vegetables. I now feed feral cats on a low budget. Our resident raccoon a pig. What can I give him besides leftovers to keep him out of the cat food


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