Can Kittens Have Catnip
If youre like most cat owners, youve probably heard about catnip and how a taste or sniff of it can make cats roll around with ecstasy or make them simply lounge in a relaxed state. One of the popular questions many people often ask is if kittens can have catnip and whether or not it is safe for them. Keep reading to know more about catnip and whether you should give it your kitten.
How Does Catnip Work Its Magic On Cats
- May 29, 2007
Ramona Turner, a veterinarian specializing in feline care for 25 years, owns two Fresno, Californiabased animal hospitals. She answers this riddle about our furry friends’ strange behavior.
Cats, from our domestic companions to lions and tigers, are exquisitely susceptible to a volatile oil found in the stems and leaves of the catnip plant.
When cats smell catnip they exhibit several behaviors common to queens in season : They may rub their heads and body on the herb or jump, roll around, vocalize and salivate. This response lasts for about 10 minutes, after which the cat becomes temporarily immune to catnip’s effects for roughly 30 minutes. Response to catnip is hereditary; about 70 to 80 percent of cats exhibit this behavior in the plant’s presence. In addition, catnip does not affect kittens until they are about six months old and begin to reach sexual maturity.
Catnip plants are members of the mint family and contain volatile oils, sterols, acids and tannins. Native to Europe, Asia and Africa, the plant was brought to North America by settlers; nowadays, the plant is popular in herb gardens and grows widely as a weed. Catnip is considered to be nonaddictive and completely harmless to cats.
*CORRECTION: Initially, this phrase read “two almond-size neuronal clusters in the midbrain…” Almond-size refers to the amygdala in humans, not cats.
Giving Your Cat Catnip Toys
Read Also: How Old Is A 12 Year Old Cat
How To Use Catnip
Catnip is available in many forms:
Catnip sprays or bubbles
Toys stuffed with dried catnip
Catnip sprays are a good option for cats that get an upset stomach from ingesting the plant. You can spray your cats favorite toy or cat tree or cat scratcher. You can also sprinkle dried catnip on a cat tree, scratching post, or cardboard scratcher, or you can roll a toy in it.
Some of the top recommended catnip brands/products include:
Does Catnip Actually Get A Kitty High
The short answer? Yes. In humans, catnip can cause mild visual and auditory hallucinations so it is possible it does the same in cats, explains Angelica Dimock, DVM and Managing Shelter Veterinarian with the Animal Humane Society in Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN. Most commonly it acts as a stimulus for cats and they become more active or playful. Less commonly it can cause sedation or aggression.
Recommended Reading: Can You Become Allergic To Cats
How Old Should A Cat Be For Catnip
Most kittens won’t have any reaction at all to catnip.
Kittens under the age of eight weeks are fairly indifferent to this plant. It isn’t until their seventh month that cats seem to show a real appreciation to it. This is probably due to the possibility that the nepetalactone has an odor akin to feline;pheromones, which a cat does not really react to until she has reached sexual maturity.
To sum it up, catnip and catnip toys can be safely used as a recreational stimulant for your cat if used in moderation. Eating catnip is fairly safe, though it will have a sedative rather than stimulating effect. Always consult a veterinarian before making any drastic changes to your cat’s diet.
Feline Fine: The Benefits Of Catnip
For many cat owners, busting boredom in their feline friend is a sizable concern. Cats are notoriously choosy about their toys, and an under-stimulated cat might result in shredded furniture and shattered knick-knacks.
One way owners can capture their cats interest is with catnip. Dr. Lori Teller, a clinical associate professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, explains more on what this plant is and how owners can use it to enrich their cats environment.
Catnip is a member of the mint family, according to Teller.
Formally known as Nepeta cataria, catnip is a perennial herb that can grow to be up to three feet high. It contains a chemical called nepetalactone in its leaves and stems that can impact your cats behavior.
When cats are exposed to nepetalactone by smell, it acts as a stimulant, causing some cats to have an uptick in activity. When ingested, nepetalactone has a sedative effect. It is thought that this chemical mimics natural pheromones, acting on those receptors to elicit a response.
Catnip has a psychoactive effect, meaning that it can make cats high for about 15-30 minutes after exposure, Teller said.
Cats under the influence of catnip may roll around, dart across the room, flip over, and exhibit general hyperactivity. Others may be very chill. However, Teller warns that not every cat is susceptible to these effects.
Frequent exposure might also reduce the effect catnip has on your cat.
Recommended Reading: Why Do Cats Like Their Back Scratched
Can I Give My Cat Catnip Every Day
You can give your cat catnip every day without worry because it is not addictive and doesnt produce any harmful side effects or low that many drugs can cause. However, most experts recommend limiting exposure to once a day to prevent overstimulation and to reduce the risk that they might eat too much, resulting in stomachache, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Will Cats Poop Near Catnip
Cats can be taught to poop near catnip. This tactic is helpful when cats eliminate outside. Placing catnip in a litter box may confuse a cat. It may start inhaling or eating litter to gain its herbal hit.
If your cat prefers to eliminate outdoors, use catnip to attract them to a certain spot. The cat will gravitate toward the catnip. Once the herb is inhaled or ingested, the cat will react. It will likely eliminate in the area to claim it as territory.
This will not always be effective. Some cats avoid leaving any trace of their waste. They fear it will attract predators. In such a case, the cat will bury its poop. This may damage any planted catnip. Its worth a try to avoid cat poop on your lawn, though.
Also Check: What Does It Mean When Your Cat Nibbles On You
Q My Cat Absolutely Loves Catnip When I Get The Container Out Of The Cupboard He Starts Acting Crazy Before I Even Open The Lid Is It Really Ok For Him To Be A Catnip Junkie
A. Though I hesitate to say that anything is “completely safe,” catnip is about as safe as you could hope for in something that provides your cat with so much obvious pleasure. The cautious voice inside me says that even good things should be enjoyed in moderation but catnip? Even a daily dip into the ‘nip is unlikely to be a problem. So let your cat enjoy!
Your cat is among the lucky ones, by the way, since some cats dont react to catnip at all. The ability to appreciate the herb is genetic, with slightly more cats in the fan club than not. These hard-wired preferences aren’t immediately apparent, though, since kittens under the age of 3 months don’t react to catnip at all.
Among those cats who do like catnip, you’ll find two basic kinds of reactions: Some cats become like a lazy drunk, while others get a wired-up crazy. The reaction can be intense, but it’s relatively short lived and after its over the cat cannot get high again for an hour or so. Credit a substance called nepetalactone, which is found in the leaves and stems and causes the mood-altering behavior.
You can easily grow your own catnip. The plants are readily available in nurseries and can also be started from seed. Youll need to protect the growing plants from your cat, though: He may well pull them out of the soil, roots and all, if you dont. Once the plants are established, you can use fresh clippings and also dry leafy branches as a treat.
How Should I Give My Cat Catnip
I just bought catnip for my 1.5 year old cat and I’m wondering how I should feed it to her? Is it best to give it in the form of an edible or would just give it in the raw state be the best?
Also, how often can she have it? I don’t want her to become dependent on it and eventually show withdrawal symptoms. I want her to have fun with it but I don’t want her to have it too much as she probably chill the whole day and won’t get any exercise.
One of the best things about catnip is its non habit forming, so you won’t have to worry about withdrawal symptoms at all. Cats can build up a tolerance to it though, so I’ll usually give my kitty cat nip regularly for around a week then give him two weeks without any. The “trip” itself only lasts about ten minutes. My kitty usually takes a nap afterward, but it’s not much different than the nap he likes to take after eating, so I wouldn’t worry about your kitty lounging too much after having some. As for ingesting, the active chemical is taken in through their sensitive nose membranes. Rub some cat nip between your fingers to let some of the oil out and let your kitty sniff it, or sprinkle it over their favorite toy. I usually put it on his scratching pad, then he rubs his paws all over his face to enjoy the effects. Enjoy :3
Read Also: What To Do If Your Cat Eats Chocolate
How Do Cats React To Catnip
This depends on how your cat likes their catnip. When ingested orally, it produces a sedative-like effect. According to some experts, it mimics the kind of relaxed high that some humans experience after smoking marijuana
Catnip effects when smelling is completely different. Rather than a chilled out “high,” smelling catnip leads to hyperactive behaviours associated with stimulants like caffeine.
These effects last for around 10 mins. After that, the cat is immune to this plant for the next thirty minutes and, as far as we know, there are no unpleasant side effects or comedowns.
Not All Cats Respond To Catnip
The literature states that up to half of cats do not respond or react to catnip. This ability to smell or not smell catnip is hereditary.
Kittens do not respond to catnip until they are at least 9 weeks old. Some cats need to be older before they get pleasure from catnip.
In some cats, catnip is found to be a depressant rather than a stimulant. Its possible that more cats respond to catnip than previously thought.
In a recent study, researchers hypothesized that the cats who were exposed to catnip and simply reclined or maintained a sphinx-like position may have actually been in a hallucinogenic state.
Interestingly, one study found that cats who did not pick up on the catnip scent responded positively to silver vine or Tatarian honeysuckle . These plants also contain nepetalactone.
Don’t Miss: What Was Lovecrafts Cat Named
For Exercise And Training
Catnip can also be an effective exercise aid to help your pet stay healthy without her knowing shes having a workout. Alternatively, you can use it to train your cat. For instance, if you want to keep kitty for clawing the furniture, just place a small amount of catnip on scratching post to make it more appealing.
You can also use it as a means to encourage good behavior in place of a traditional food treat. So when next your feline behaves well, reward her with some catnip and she will soon be discouraged from bad habits.
Nepetalactone The Reason Catnip Is So Wonderful
The volatile compound;nepetalactone;has been identified as the chemical in;catnip;that makes cats crazy. The plant uses this chemical allomone to attempt to communicate with insects either by repelling insects or by attracting beneficial ones. Nepetalic acid is also present, but its effects are unknown.
Don’t Miss: Why Do Cats Lick When You Scratch Their Back
Does Catnip Help With Anxiety
While catnip does appear to relax and calm, many cat experts dont recommend treating anxiety because its effects are short-lived. It also produces hyperactivity in most cats which can be counterproductive. While it might provide your stressed-out cat with some temporary relief, most owners use it only as a treat, but It can be helpful to get your cat motivated to get some exercise, as it often makes them more playful and will cause some to run around frantically.
We Would Love The Opportunity Tocare For Your Furry Friends
Alexander Animal Hospital is a full-service animal hospitallocated in Severna Park, Maryland, serving the Severna Park, Pasadena, andArnold Areas. Our goal is educating clients on the needs of their pets andunderstanding the importance of individualized veterinary care in order tostrengthen the human-animal bond between owners and their pets.
We understand you have a choice when decidingon the care for your pets, and we strive to provide you with unparalleledservices including wellness exams, vaccines, lost pet microchip ID, dental care, surgical services, digital radiography, and in-hospital laboratory services and diagnostics.Other highlights of Alexander Animal Hospital are the separate cat and dogwaiting and exam rooms, as well as after-hours on-call emergency services.
Please take a look around our website and thengive us a call at 410-777-8678 to set up an appointment.
Were social! Follow us on,,and for all the latest updates!
Read Also: Can You Bathe A Cat With Dawn
Best Times To Give Catnip
There are a number of reasons why a cat owner may want to give a cat catnip. These are among the best times to give catnip:
- When an owner wants to encourage an otherwise lazy cat to get exercise. This applies to some overweight cats and lethargic cats; however, owners should consult with a vet before giving cats that suffer from medical conditions such as diabetes and arthritis catnip.
- When an owner wants to train a cat. For example, owners can encourage cats to claw at scratching posts instead of furniture by sprinkling the catnip atop the scratching post. Catnip can also be a reward after behavior an owner wants to see repeated, such as fetching a toy.
- When an owner wants to relax the cat. Catnip can cause some cats to lay back and stare in a dreamy state. While owners shouldn’t interrupt a cat’s natural tendency to run around the house even without catnipshe’s only burning off excess energyowners can give the cat catnip at other times in order to allow the cat some time to mellow.
Can Cats Overdose On Catnip Our Vet Answers
There is nothing quite like the amazing reaction many cats have with catnip. While individual cats responses to it can vary greatly, most cats will lick, rub, roll, vocalize, and become very hyperactive while playing with it! It really can make cats crazy! The effects are only short-lived, up to half an hour or so, but it can be a really fun part of interacting with your cat. Given the intense reactions that are possible with catnip, it is not unreasonable to wonder whether your cat can overdose on it. Here, we will explore the topic of catnip and answer this question for you.
You May Like: Are Zebra Plants Toxic To Cats
Are Catnip Toys Safe For Cats
Catnip toys are safe and recommended. Almost any toy from a pet store will be covered in catnip. This is what encourages felines to hunt and play with them.
If your cat has lost interest in a once-treasured toy, it has likely lost its catnip scent. This is easily resolved. Place the toy in a jar and surround it with catnip leaves. Leave the toy in this vessel overnight.
In the morning, remove the toy and brush off any loose catnip. Present it to your cat. You will likely find that the toy gives your cat a new lease of life.
What Happens If A Cat Has Too Much Catnip
Did your cat had too much of catnip? If the answer is yes, dont worry because the catnip is completely safe. Your cat will have fun with catnip, and its stimulating too. But if your cat has too much catnip, she will go crabby as well as a sedative. In all cases, your kitty will be back to the normal mind within 15 minutes.
If your cat looks like she had enough and more what is needed, then just take away the catnip. However, if she eats more catnip, you may see her vomiting, or in some cases, she may have diarrhea. But as i said before, catnip is safe and harmless. No cats get overdosed on it.
However, if you offer her catnip habitually, she may not respond to it. So it will be good to provide her catnip once every two or three weeks.Catnip is non-addictive, so dont need to get concerned about it. It is harmless too.
Some problems may cause to her in certain situations.
Not all cats will behave in the same way after having it. Some will show aggressive behavior. So if you are worried about it, I would recommend you not to give your cat a catnip.
Some will be depressed or altered, but these neurologic signs will be only short-lived.
Dont ever give catnip to your kitty if she is pregnant. The main reason is that catnip is a uterine stimulant. It is also not suitable for epileptic cats because it can increase seizures. So please be sure that your kitty doesnt have epilepsy before you give catnip to your kitty.
Recommended Reading: People Years To Cat Years