This Guy Gave Catnip To Lions And Tigers And The Result Is Unbelievable

Giving catnip to a cat can lead to some pretty hilarious shenanigans. One trip with the feline devil’s grass and your cat will be face-deep in the living room carpet, bustin’ a move like he’s in a 1980s nightclub. But that begs a serious question: do big cats react the same way?

Apparently, visitors of one cat animal sanctuary in Florida wouldn’t stop asking staff members if the resident lions, tigers, and panthers (oh my!) enjoyed gettin’ down with ‘nip. Curious, the staff decided to conduct a bit of an experiment…

Chris Poole, is a big cat lover! In fact, he’s a senior keeper at Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Florida, devoted to rehabilitating injured or abandoned cats like lions, tigers, and leopards. Over the years, he found that guests would often ask him the same question.

“Do big cats like catnip?” Of course, anyone who’d seen a house cat on ‘nip had to be curious if those effects were the same with their wild cousins. So, how did the green stuff affect bigger cats?

“Well,” as Chris put it, “there’s only one way to find out.” So, he nabbed a big tub of catnip, grabbed a handful, and tossed it into a brown paper bag. From there, it was time for a little experiment…

Big Cat Rescue / YouTube

First up: Reno the leopard. To begin, Chris tossed him a bag of ‘nip and watched as the rescued former circus cat approached it with caution. Would he freak out like a tamed house cat? Or would this powerful feline resist the allure?

Within mere moments, Reno gave in to the pull of that premium catnip. Like even the smallest house cat, he was on the ground, rolling around with his face in the catnip-filled bag. It didn’t end there, however…

Big Cat Rescue / YouTube

After a minute of nose-surfing through the herb, Reno succumbed to a light-headed crash face-down in the brown paper bag. He was no better than a house cat, and by the looks of it, he was in heaven. What about the other big cats, though?

Next up was Alex the tiger, who’d been rescued from a convicted exotic cat collector. Alex took the next hit of the ‘nip and, with the herb kickin’ around in his skull, he was in for a good time!

Perhaps Alex fell victim to the munchies—why else would he so hungrily rip at the bag containing the premium ‘nip? While he didn’t roll around with quite the fervor as his leopard counterpart, he did have quite the experience…

Big Cat Rescue / YouTube

In fact, you could practically see the exact moment when the catnip kicked in. Either that, or he suddenly remembered an embarrassing moment from last year’s annual tiger Christmas party.

After the two big cats, Chris mixed it up a little bit, giving catnip to two lynxes named Willow and Natasha who’d been rescued from fur farms in Canada. How would the lynx duo behave?

Big Cat Rescue

Right away, they rolled, nibbled, and delivered lackadaisical bonks to their counterpart’s skulls! What exactly was going on in these lynxes’ brains to make them behave like this?

Big Cat Rescue / YouTube

Well, just like smaller cats, one whiff of the mint-family herb sent a shock of nepetalactone through their brains. Still, Chris had to wonder if Zabu the Siberian Tiger would be into it, too.

Even a big beast like Zabu—another cat rescued from a cirus—couldn’t resist the effects of the allure of some catnip! Similar to the others, she rolled around in ecstasy. You could practically hear the purrs as she licked her lips!

Science tells us that if a cat eats the catnip instead of smelling it, they would fall into a mind-numbing sleep as opposed to rolling around like crazy. So would Sabre the black leopard take a bite of the stuff? Or would he inhale like the felines before him?

Big Cat Rescue / YouTube

Take a guess. Sabre—who’d been abandoned at the rescue in 1995—was as big of a ‘nip sniffer as the rest of ’em. With the bag between his paws, he just lost it when a bit of herb hit his system.

Big Cat Rescue / YouTube

Next up for a sniff of the ‘nip was Amazing Grace, a female ocelot, who spent her earliest years locked in a cage. She arrived at Big Cat Rescue a year after Sabre. Surely, an older feline would resist the high of a bag full of what basically amounted to cat LSD… right?

Big Cat Rescue / YouTube

Nope. When the bag hit the floor, she, too, could not resist it. It seemed catnip affected each and every big cat that rubbed his or her nose in it! Well, except for one: the stalwart lion, Joseph. How would the king of the jungle react?

Big Cat Rescue / YouTube

Years ago, Big Cat Rescue rescued Joseph from a group of people who’d been raising lions and tigers to be used in photographs. Amazingly, this majestic fella had a totally different response to the catnip…

Big Cat Rescue / YouTube

For Joseph, the bag of catnip may as well have been a library book or a VCR: he simply was not interested! With his tongue pressed placidly between his lips, this was a cat who just said “no” to drugs!

Big Cat Rescue / YouTube

There may be no seedy feline underworld where catnip is exchanged for a few licks of some Friskies treats, but there very well could be! Hopefully, no catnip black market started up at the Big Cat Rescue…

Though catnip may have a hold on most felines, that doesn’t mean they’re any less intelligent. Many cats prove to be quite clever when it comes to getting what they need, and this homeless kitty is no exception.

For five years, one unnamed Korean woman from a local pet shelter made it her business to distribute food to all of the feral cats that lived in her neighborhood. She bonded with many of them, but one definitely stood out from the pack…

The cat, whose name was Dongsuk, appeared regularly to get her meals just like the other feral cats. However, unlike her feline friends, she turned up her nose at a bowl of fresh dry food. 

Worried that Dongsuk wasn’t getting the nutrients she needed to survive, the woman tried offering her feline friend different varieties of dry food. She even went so far as to offer the cat a can of wet food. It was no use—Dongsuk wouldn’t bite!

That’s when the woman decided to try something different. Instead of offering Dongsuk opened food, she decided to try wrapping it up in a plastic baggie. Sure enough, it worked like a charm! The cat immediately grabbed the bag of food and mysteriously headed off somewhere.

Soon, this became the new routine for both the plucky volunteer and for her friend, Dongsuk the cat. The volunteer made sure that she always had a special bag of food prepared for her, and the cat would eagerly take that bag and wander away with it. But why?

While the volunteer was thrilled to have figured out a way to get the cat to eat a hearty meal, she was still incredibly puzzled by her behavior. Why on Earth would the cat prefer food that was undeniably more difficult for her to eat?

In addition to wondering why Dongsuk preferred that her meals were served in this unconventional way, there was also the question of where exactly the cat was taking the food to once she received it. Most of the other cats simply ate in front of the volunteers…

To get to the bottom of this, the volunteer and her friends decided to follow Dongsuk, but they knew this would be very tricky. While the cat was very sweet, she was still feral, and chances are she wouldn’t take well to being followed. The last thing they wanted to do was scare her away from her primary source of food.

So, the volunteer and her friends decided to trail Dongsuk from a distance. As they did so, they became baffled when the cat led them to a special spot just above the entryway to an old building. What was she doing?

The cat seemed a little worried. She was pacing back and forth with the bag of food in her mouth like she was waiting for someone. The volunteer and her friends couldn’t understand. If Dongsuk wasn’t eating the food, what was she doing with it?

In a couple of seconds, they had their answer. In response to Dongsuk’s meows, a tiny ginger kitten came scampering up to meet her. Immediately it became clear that the reason Dongsuk would only take the wrapped food was that she was a mom!

The mother cat sat and watched on contentedly while her young kitten ripped into the bag and happily ate her share of the food that her mother had delivered. The volunteer and her friends were nearly in tears!

From that point on, the kind woman and her fellow friendly volunteers knew that they had to do something. They did a little digging, continuing to follow Dongsuk and asking locals who might know her for information about her story…

In the process, they learned something heartbreaking: Dongsuk originally delivered a litter of five kittens. Unfortunately, life on the streets wasn’t easy, and because they had no one to protect them while she ventured for food, Dongsuk was left with just this one surviving kitten.

The volunteers knew that if they wanted to help Dongsuk and give her the life that she and her kitten deserved, they were going to have to intervene. Starting small, they returned to the site where they spotted the two and left a warm quilt to help make them comfortable. This was only the beginning of their plans…


The team of volunteers returned to the spot each day to try and help Dongsuk and her kitten. They hoped their presence would make the pair feel more comfortable being around people. Dongsuk seemed to understand that pretty quickly, but her kitten needed some convincing…

Thankfully, even the kitten warmed up to the team before too long, and it’s a good thing that she did! Otherwise, when the volunteers arrived and greeted the kitten and her mother with equipment like this they might have run away!

Luckily, once they earned the animals’ trust, the team was able to pack them together into a carrying box with exceptional ease. They didn’t like the net, but they didn’t fight it too much, either. Now, they’re on the path to finding the new forever home they both deserve. Their story wasn’t over just yet, though…

While they waited to be adopted, this mother and daughter were able to live in a house of their own instead of skulking around the shadows and hoping for scraps. Now, their food comes in big, overflowing bowls—not in little plastic bags. How nice is that?

The story of Dongsuk and the people who cared enough to look out for her in this way is a real inspiration. Not only is it a story of motherly love, but it’s a tale of the power of truly doing good. Watch the video below to see just how cute this mama and her baby are!

Recommended From Honest To Paws

Stay up to date on the
latest trending stories!

like our facebook page!