Catnip is safe to give to your cat regularly. It is non-toxic, and cats that respond to catnip love it. Too much of catnip can cause your cat to get a mild upset stomach.
Some cats will respond to catnip by being too playful, while other cats remain calm. Fresh catnip is better than dried catnip.
As a cat parent, you have probably heard of catnip and its effect on cats’ behavior. There are wild tales out there, of how this stuff can transform a couch potato cat into an active fellow.
If you are wondering if you should give your cat this special herb, and if it is safe, you have come to the right place.
I will give you all the details regarding catnip, how it can affect your cat, and if there are any side effects. Read more, to learn why your cat acts all silly after a catnip episode.
Catnip is Not Harmful to Your Cat When Given Daily
Catnip is a healthy addition to your cat. Outdoor cats usually consume greens on their prowls. An indoor cat may miss out on this. As a natural member of the mint family, catnip provides your indoor cat with the dose of greens it needs to stay healthy.
If your cat gets hyper when playing with catnip, this can help it exercise more and keep fit.
Cats respond to catnip by chewing it, pawing on the source of catnip, and rolling on it. Not all cats respond in the same way. While some cats will get aggressive or playful, others will remain calm.
There is no ingredient in catnip that can harm your cat. Catnip is non-toxic and safe to your cat. According to the ASPCA, “there is no evidence that catnip is harmful to cats.” When ingested, it acts as a soothing sedative.
It can also be used to enforce certain behaviors in your cat, such as training it to use its scratching post.
Catnip is a natural mood booster. Your cat may start chasing at objects in the house or become affectionate, rubbing itself against your leg.
The effects last for about 10 minutes. After this, you will have to wait for a few hours before your cat can respond to catnip again.
It is estimated that about 80% of cats will feel the elating effects of catnip. So, as you introduce it to your cat, here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Give your cat catnip in small doses
It doesn’t take a lot of the herb to stimulate your cat’s senses. Plus, keep in mind that too much of it can make your cat cranky.
If your cat eats a lot of catnip, it may experience an upset in the stomach leading to vomiting and diarrhea, but it will soon return to normal.
However, no case of an overdose of catnip has ever been reported. If you suspect your cat has taken a lot of catnip, simply take it away from its sight.
Your cat will feel alright in no time.
2. Don’t give catnip to aggressive cats.
As a personality trait, some cats are bullies and will seem to enjoy making trouble for other animals in the house. Giving catnip to a cat with this personality can lead to increased aggression.
The cat will feel like it can get away with any kind of behavior. When under the influence, your cat might fight other cats, especially if it is male.
3. Give your cat fresh catnip
The dried form of catnip is readily available at pet stores. As such, many cat owners choose to use this form, especially when introducing it to their cats. However, you might not know how long it was on the shelves for, before you picked it up.
It’s easy to give fresh catnip to your cat. By purchasing pre-gown catnip plants usually available at farmers’ markets and grow your own. Ensure it is well-watered and has adequate drainage.
It grows quickly in a sunny window. The benefit of home-grown catnip is that you can re-grow it.
Keep in mind though, that fresh catnip is more potent than the dried one and can excite your cat a little bit too much, causing it to knock the plant pot over. Just to be on the safe side, stick to plastic pots.
4. Not all Cats Respond To Catnip
Studies suggest that a cat’s response to catnip is genetic. If one or both parents of a cat are responsive to catnip, then their kitty should also be responsive. Other cats will act crazier than the rest who will be more passive or just stare into space.
Dr. Nancy Dunkle points out that she has seen cats that become extremely playful under the influence of catnip, while others will just sit on it.
Cats will have to reach the age of sexual maturity, which is about 6 months, to be able to respond to catnip. Kittens don’t respond to catnip.
5.The best time to give catnip to your cat, is when you want to encourage certain behavior
If you are bothered by how lazy your cat has become, then a little bit of catnip will go a long way in encouraging it to exercise. The same applies to overweight cats. But if your cat has a certain medical condition, be sure to consult with your vet first..
Cats that have a destructive habit of clawing into furniture, or curtains, can be trained to scratch a scratching post. Sprinkle a bit of catnip powder on its post.
If your cat reacts to catnip by going into a dreamy state, then you can use catnip to make it relax. After all, there is no need to let your cat burn excessive energy by running around the house.
Happiness Reloaded- The Ingredient in Catnip is the Cause
Now you understand that it is safe to give your cat catnip,aren’t you curious of what exactly is in catnip that makes your cat go bonkers for those few minutes?
You may have wondered about this as you watch it roll, meow, growl, or run around the house. The answer lies in an ingredient.
Catnip contains an active ingredient known as Nepetalactone, essential oil in the plant which stimulates the sensory neurons in your cat. It then triggers happy receptors in your cat’s brain, causing it to act out of its normal character.
It is kind of similar to how a human would react to a hallucinogenic drug. But, the cat is not having a hallucination; it is just happy.
How to Purchase Catnip
- Look for a catnip that has only leaves and flowers. The stems do not affect your cat.
- Purchase catnip that is pesticide-free.
- Avoid catnip sprays as they don’t have enough Nepetalactone to appeal to your cat.
Most cat owners have trusted catnip as a harmless way of entertaining their cats. If your feline friend responds to this herb, even seems to be addicted, there is no need to worry. It is non-toxic and safe to give to your cat every day.
Just remember to give it in moderation to avoid stomach upsets. If you have more than one cat, separate them when introducing catnip, to monitor how each one of them will react.