This is just one of my inspirational hubs, written entirely to a search term found in Google Analytics.
It wasn't even a question. It just said "catnip plant deter rats", from which I assume that someone told someone else than planting catnip plants in their garden will, indeed, deter rats.
As a catmint plant grower, and writer, I can say here categorically that the catmint plant does indeed deter rats.
This is not because of some scent exuded by the plant, but by the fact that catnip is highly attractive to cats.
When I say "highly attractive", that is somewhat of an understatement.
Cats LOVE catnip. Not all cats, mind, but most, including large wild-cats like tigers and lions.
Catnip is the feline equivalent of cannabis, except of course, most of us are not attracted to marijuana.
The effects are similar.
Watch a cat walk up to the catnip plant in your garden. It will either notice it, or completely ignore it.
If it notices it, expect it to stop, then alternately purr and meow, roll in it, rub up against it, stretch out in it and generally act like a kitten even if it is an old cat.
Not saying that humans do that with the old waccy, but you never know!
This display of what may be considered to be [extreme] affection may go on for as long as 20 minutes, after which the cat will just get up and walk away as if nothing at all had happened.
There are no recorded cases of rats being affected by the catnip plant in the same way as cats are.
However, if you have a rat family in your yard, they will very quickly smell the cats, especially around the catnip plants.
Like mice, rats will just leave home, rather than hang around where cats are present.
So yes, it can be said that the catnip plant does indeed deter rats, but not in the way you might expect.
But I don't have a cat?
Cats are nocturnal creatures, and plenty of house cats are allowed to wander free at nighttime.
You'll have heard of a common routine as people getting ready for bed.
Cocoa drank, dog walked, cat put out, door locked, lights off.
Having a six foot high wall around your yard will not prevent those nightly visits from both domestic and stray cats.
You may never even be aware that a cat has visited, but as a catnip grower, you may think your plants look a bit flattened come the morning, and assume there must have been a wind through the night.
It wasn't a wind. It was cats.
There may at one point have been 100 cats rolling and pawing through your catmint plants through the night.
The good news is, those rats that were bothering you have left home!
Watch this documentary cat and catnip plant video
IzzyM (author) from UK on June 29, 2015:
As far as I can see, it is the same plant, Dolores. Possibly different names for different areas.
Doubt if they are true mints with their invasive ground roots, but they do spread.
Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on June 29, 2015:
So are catnip and catmint the same plant? We have a little pot of catnip started. I love the pretty blue flowers on catmint so would be happy to see that this is so. Though most mints can sort of take over.
poetryman6969 on April 25, 2015:
A rather cool and interesting way to deter rats. I like plausible, nonlinear logic.
IzzyM (author) from UK on August 20, 2012:
LOL, it was foaming like mad, wasn't it? I don't have a cat here to test it on (though I have one at home), but we have a couple of strays who wander into the garden. I saw one do the stretchy-rolley thing in front of the catnip, but I didn't see it chewing or sniffing it. The other totally ignores it.
Sherri from Southeastern Pennsylvania on August 20, 2012:
I've always grown catnip and all my cats have had the reactions you describe. However, not all cats who are affected by catnip are affected in this way. Although it's rare, some will become aggressive.
The video was wonderful! I can't imagine what mind space that foaming kitty traveled to. :)
IzzyM (author) from UK on April 07, 2012:
Oh my goodness! Just as well you didn't buy a catmint plant now that you know what it does! Still, to get rid of cats from your garden, plant some catmint somewhere else in the neighborhood to keep the cats amused elsewhere.
Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on April 06, 2012:
Great hub but I need a plant to keep the cats away! I have a cat, 17 years old but there are so many strays I worry about her health and they spray everywhere! Great idea though. Interesting and useful.Glad I passed on that catmint plant yesterday!
IzzyM (author) from UK on March 18, 2012:
Catnip and catmint are the same plant. Catnip is a member of the mint family (and can become just as invasive). Where it gets confusing is when they have catnip grass which carries the same name - nepeta cataria - as catnip or catmint, yet they are different plants?
Mary Hyatt from Florida on March 18, 2012:
I'm confused. Is catnip the same as catmint? I loved the video. Great Hub.
IzzyM (author) from UK on March 18, 2012:
Jen, I hoped it was a funny hub or at least funny to folk who appreciate the angle I am coming from, so thanks :)
All my life whenever a mouse dared to enter a home, I have known that the answer was a cat, even if it was the most useless mouser ever, mice aren't so daft, they move out. That video I linked is incredible! It is so well made, and captures the whole essence of the cat/catnip relationship so well!
jenubouka on March 18, 2012:
Oh Izzy, if you only knew my twisted humor, then you would understand the "funny" vote. After watching that video I am literally wiping tears from my eyes, they were foaming at the mouth!
In all seriousness though, this is great info, I just got done with a mice home invasion, I think, it has now ceased, however they are nasty creatures that leave unwanted remnants of their existence, and the clean up is rather a pain. I would rather watch a dozen cats get it on with a plant versus a dead mouse any day. Awesome!!