Is Catnip Safe? 5 Things You Should Know The Feline Drug Craze That's Sweeping The Nation

BY | June 11 | COMMENTS PUBLISHED BY
Is Catnip Safe? 5 Things You Should Know

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What is catnip? Does your cat like it? Cats act like drunken fools when under the influence of this herb. But is catnip safe?

Is catnip bad for cats?

Is catnip bad for cats? Stop worrying - it’s 100% safe and non-addictive for all cat breeds. There’s absolutely no ingredient in catnip that can harm your cat. The only danger of your cat eating too much catnip is that it might get an upset stomach. Other than that, there are zero reasons to worry if catnip is bad for cats. Below we cover exactly what catnip is, if it’s good for cats, and its various effects.

Catnip belongs to the mint family, and if you crush the fresh leaves, you can smell the scent. In fact, it’s the scent that intoxicates cats when they smell it. That’s why cats roll and paw the dried herb. Bruising the leaves helps the volatile oil disperse into the air so your cat can get a good sniff. Even catnip toys like FC Kitty Hoots are becoming more and more popular.

But is catnip safe? What exactly is it about catnip that makes cats purr? Here are 5 things you should know about catnip:

What is catnip?

Nepeta cataria, or catnip, contains a strong-scented minty oil that’s easily released into the air. Cats can detect catnip oil in the air at saturations as low as one part per billion.

Which cats are affected?

Cats must inherit the tendency to react to catnip; not all felines do. Most cats must be at least six months old before they’ll react. Even then, about 1/3rd of cats won’t react at all, and another 1/3rd are moderately affected. Only about 1/3rd of cats react strongly to catnip.

How does catnip affect cats?

Catnip is a mild feline hallucinogen, but it is completely nontoxic to cats. It also resembles some properties of male cat urine, which may be why some cats react to the herb as though in the heat with yowling, rolling, and slobbering.

Is catnip SAFE?

Is Catnip safe? Absolutely, cats really enjoy this safe, non-addictive herb from the mint family. Effects only last 5 to 15 minutes. People used to use catnip to brew tea to soothe upset stomachs. Catnip doesn’t affect people the way it does cats, though. Other kinds of mint or honeysuckle may cause a similar reaction in sensitive cats.

Can catnip be over-indulged?

Your cat won’t want you to know this, but yes, you can wear out the catnip effect by offering it too often. A catnip “high” can be great fun for your cat and you, so it’s a good idea to only provide this treat no more than about once a week.

Is Catnip Really Safe For Your Cat?

Catnip is something that all cats enjoy. No matter the age, size, or demeanor, all cats go crazy when presented with catnip. Catnip is part of the mint family. Also known as catswort, catmint, and even Nepeta Cataria. The ingredient nepetalactone that’s found in catnip can trigger some unusual behavior in your kitty. This gives rise to the question of whether it is something that is safe for our cats. It’s not usually the taste of catnip that’s so endearing to cats but rather the smell.

How does catnip work? 

There is an oil that’s trapped in catnip leaves. To get to this oil, cats will usually kick, bite, chew, rub, and even roll in the leaves. After getting that oil out, you will witness a very unusual side of your cat. She will most likely spin, jump, climb, run, growl, and even flop. The effects only last for a couple of minutes. Cats are often forgetful, so they lose interest easily and wander away from the plant, only to return later for more of this miraculous oil they so crave.

How does catnip affect cats? 

Different cats have different reactions to catnip. Some will go really crazy when under the influence of catnip, while others are barely affected. Some will be deadly calm, and kittens and elderly cats usually don’t feel any different. Some cats experience the effects for longer periods of time than others. A cat’s reaction to catnip is something that she inherits from her ancestors.

Can catnip be toxic? 

Catnip is a herb and is not toxic to cats. But if your cat is exposed to catnip excessively, she may experience diarrhea and vomiting. Limit her exposure to catnip according to her reactions to it. If she is a cat who goes overly crazy from one sniff of catnip, then it’s wise to wean her off of it altogether.

What is the best way to expose your cat to catnip? 

Catnip is something that grows freely in nature. You could find a plant close to where you stay or even snip some leaves from the plant to bring back home to your cat. There are some toys available in the market with catnip stuffed into the core to entice cats. You can easily find these at your local pet store. 

It will be an absolute treat for your cat. You can also buy dried catnip in cans, bags, and even jars. There are many places where you can get this delight for your cat. There is even a spray that contains catnip that you can use to spray your cat’s favorite toys to her delight. 

There are many major pet brands that have products that contain catnip. Here are some of the most well-known ones:

If you want to make sure she’s getting the best catnip, you can grow catnip in your yard itself. Keep in mind that the fresher the catnip, the greater its potency.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you give catnip to cats every day?

You can give your cat catnip every day, but you don't have to. If your cat has never had the experience before, you should start off with a small amount of catnip and work up from there. You want to give your cat just enough that it experiences the positive effects of the plant without overwhelming them or making them sick. Once you've determined how much is "enough," then you can decide whether or not it would be best for you to continue giving your pet catnip every day.

Can you give a cat too much catnip?

Yes, you can give a cat too much catnip. Catnip is a plant that produces a chemical called nepetalactone. The way it works is that the cat will sniff the catnip and then rub against it. This rubbing behavior causes the release of serotonin in the brain, which makes your cat feel relaxed, happy, and playful. The problem is that if you give your cat too much of this stuff, it may not be good for them. Cats are known to get hyperactive when they have too much catnip, so they may actually hurt themselves if they run around too much after eating or sniffing it.

How much catnip should you give a cat?

There's no hard and fast answer to this question. Some cats respond best to a little bit of catnip, while others need to be given more. If your cat seems underwhelmed by the amount of catnip you give them, try giving them more. If they seem overly excited by the catnip, try giving them less. If you're unsure how much catnip is right for your cat, try giving them a small amount at first and see how they respond. You can always add more if they seem interested or take away if they seem overwhelmed.

When should you give your cat catnip?

You should give your cat catnip when they are young, as it will help them to become accustomed to the herb. The best time to give your cat catnip is after they have eaten, as this will help it to digest more easily.

What does a catnip high feel like for a cat?

The effects of a catnip high are similar to those of marijuana for humans. They include altered perception, increased energy, and sometimes even hallucination-like effects. Cats who have been exposed to catnip will often become excited and hyperactive, rolling around on the floor or rubbing their cheeks against things. They may also exhibit changes in their behavior. Some cats become aggressive, while others become more affectionate and calm.

Can I give my cat catnip for anxiety?

Yes, you can give your cat catnip for anxiety. It causes cats to become relaxed, hyperactive, or even sleepy.

Amy Shojai is a certified animal behavior consultant, consultant to the pet care industry, and the award-winning author of 23 pet care books.

 

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