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So, sometimes the writer wants to show a character acting stoned, drunk or hallucinating for the purpose of comedy. When the character in question is a cat or other feline, the "drug" of choice will often be plain ol' catnip.
This has several advantages. For starters, it prevents the writers from having to put any "real" drugs into the story to get the desired result, and secondly, for talking or humanoid felines, it serves as a Furry Reminder, giving an otherwise human-acting animal a realistic behavioural quirk for their species. Such a scene can also be used to subvert the snobby, uptight stereotype often associated with cats. Bonus Points for anthropomorphic cats smuggling/hiding catnip as if it were an illegal drug. If a normal human can get high off the stuff, it may serve to enforce an Animal Motif or give an impression of general quirkiness (Truth in Television, Catnip can have a soothing effect on humans and has often be brewed into tea and, yes, even smoked).
- Many furry works use catnip as a stand-in for pot.
- Was part of a Christmas-themed Petco commericial a few years back.
Cat: I smell catnip!
- Happens about halfway through this video. The cat sees three of his kitten companion, his POV is wavy colors, and he may or may not have pooped in one of his owner's shoes.
- Queen's Blade: Hide 'n Seek. Done to Elina by Nyx to comedic effect when she surprises her with catnip powder, after learning Elina was susceptible to it. The accompanying flashback even reveals that her sisters used to use it to keep her under control. Sadly for Nyx, it backfires when Elina attempts to MOLEST her while under the influence.
- A filler episode of Inuyasha has a villain incapacitate Kirara with catnip.
- Happens in the dub of Digimon Adventure 02, when Gatomon picks some catnip to heal Hawkmon. A few scenes later, Hawkmon is alert and active.
Gatomon: I found catnip; it cures it all!
- This gag appears in one of the Maiden Rose bonus comics, where a chemical weapon attack against the cat side is actually bombing them with catnip, to great effect.
- In Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew, Alley-Kat-Abra/Felina Furr actually gets a catnip high, tells her team-mate Captain Carrot/R. R. Rabbit that he is "really cute, but would be cuter if he was a cat," uses her magic powers to turn him into one, and offers him some catnip. No, this comic wasn't from Vertigo...
- In Shrek 2, guards capture Shrek and friends and one finds a bag of catnip on Puss In Boots' person. Puss denies that it's his.
- The joke is repeated in Puss in Boots. Puss claims it's for his glaucoma.
- A scene in Cats and Dogs 2: The Revenge of Kitty Galore has the heroes visit the house of a Crazy Cat Lady. Turns out a) cat ladies are such enablers for catnip addiction, b) cats on catnip act like comedic-variant stoners.
- Occurs in Super Diaper Baby 2: The Invasion of the Potty Snatchers.
- In Tailchaser's Song, a naive Tailchaser overdoses and passes out.
- Referenced in Red Dwarf - Cat comments on how the unreality pockets in "Out of Time" are worse/weirder than triple strength catnip.
- In an episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch Salem claims that a party got out of hand when "someone brought catnip". In another episode a female talking cat at a witch gathering got drunk off catnip.
- Used several times in Garfield.
- One Garfield Sunday strip takes a more literal approach to this: Garfield (looking visibly stoned) silently stares at his waterbowl as strange things appear entering and exiting it. The last panel has Garfield saying "That was some good catnip". Not surprisingly, the strip was never published, though it was featured in the 25th anniversary book for the series.
- Get Fuzzy has this a few times.
Bucky: Have you ever, like, really looked at your paws? Like, really looked at them? Whoaa...
- In Gene Catlow, the eponymous character avoids catnip for this reason.
- El Goonish Shive has the mini-arc "Catnip"; also, the plant itself reappeared later.
- Sinfest has the Author Avatar's cat getting high on catnip, even saying "that's some good stuff".
- Subverted, oddly enough, in Two Lumps, which is actually about two cats, where the cat that appears to be high on catnip has actually been drinking vodka.
- In Sinfest, Percy on catnip. with quite strong reactions.
- Played with in an episode of Cat Face. The title character rubs himself against some catnip, following with a close-up of his dilating eyes and psychedelic music, implying he's going on a trip. Then it automatically zooms out and Cat Face tells Box Cat to stop playing the "crappy music". After yelling at his friend, Cat Face flies up and purrs until he runs into a lit lightbulb. It Makes Just As Much Sense in Context.
- Parodied in the "Cat Orgy" episode of South Park. Mr. Kitty brings her tomcat friends in the house, dumps catnip on the floor, and one of the cats snort it.
- In Codename: Kids Next Door, catnip causes the Cat Lady's cats to have a sudden dance party.
- The Swat Kats episode "The Metallikats" opens with a gang of mobsters smuggling, well, catnip. Specifically, it shows a gang member who has clearly just tested his shipment proclaiming it "the good stuff" and rubbing powder from under his nose.
- One Terry Toons short was about a cat who goes through a Disney Acid Sequence after sniffing some catnip.
- An entire episode of Father of the Pride centered around Larry and Kate's assumptions that their daughter was smoking catnip. They ended up accidentally ingesting it themselves, and rather... pot-like effects took hold.