Nepeta cataria is a short lived herbaceous perennial, growing 50–100 centimetres (20–39 in) tall and wide. It resembles a typical mint family member in appearance by having the characteristic square stem that members of the Lamiaceae plant family have, but with brown-green foliage. The coarse-toothed leaves are triangular to ovate.
The small bilabiate flowers can be white and finely spotted with pale purple or pink. They are showy and fragrant. The plant blooms from late spring through autumn.