Is catnip considered a psychoactive substance? Cats are restless in Britain as Parliament is considering the passage of the Psychoactive Substance Bill. The bill will ban so-called “legal highs” and is being widely criticized as too sweeping.  The bill contains an “exempt” list that contains legal substances that will be allowed such as caffeine, nicotine, alcohol and human medicinal products – but there’s no mention of catnip (Nepeta Cataria) in the exempt list.

A petition has even popped up by concerned pet owners asking David Cameron and Parliament to add catnip to the exempt list so that cat owners can be assured that they will not face fines and up to 7 years in prison… (British cats ask that you support them by signing their petition)

Nerissa’s Life (Twitter @nerissathecat) wrote a thorough and entertaining blog about the topic if you’d like to learn more. Admittedly, I haven’t had the time to read the entire 47-page bill, but the exemptions are contained on Schedule 1, page 37 with no mention of catnip.  The exemptions are quite general, and it’s not clear if catnip would fall into one of the categories.  For the sake of Britain’s cats, I sure hope it does.  Or else let’s hope that Parliament comes to their senses and adds nepeta cataria to the exempt list!

If this is true, David Cameron and Parliament have gone off their trolley!

Update: In May 2016, the Brits did in fact pass a law which would effectively ban catnip… but most people do not believe that police will go after cats and their catnip. It would be great to hear from some of our British friends on this… is catnip outlawed in Britain?