The Maximum Amount of Catnip You Should Give a Cat

Although many cat owners may want to experiment with giving their cats catnip, it can be hard to know how much is too much.  

Fortunately, it is impossible for your cat to overdose on catnip, but they may be overstimulated by a large dose. You should try to stick to an amount that is quarter-sized.

Start with a pinch and see your cat’s reaction and slowly go up from there if needed.

Using catnip can be an easy and fun way to add some excitement and variation to your cat’s life, and you don’t have to be a pet expert to know how to use it. In fact, catnip is a natural herb that is completely safe for your cat.


What Is the Correct Catnip Dosage for My Cat?

It is difficult to find dosing information when it comes to catnip for your cat. The most likely reason for this is that catnip is not known to be dangerous in large quantities. When treating your cat with dry catnip, a best practice is to start with a pinch and monitor your cat’s reaction.


What Is the Normal Cat Reaction to Catnip?

If this is your first time giving your cat catnip, you can expect at least one of the following reactions:

  • Rolling head and body excessively on catnip or group (please can you clarify what group is?)
  • Intense licking
  • “Zoomies” back and forth across the floor
  • Stalking and hunting behaviors
  • Drooling
  • General hyperactivity
  • Nibbling


Can My Cat Overdose on Catnip?

Considering catnip is non-toxic to cats, and its effects, even in large doses, are pretty benign. However, it has been reported that cats who receive a larger-than-normal quantity of catnip may fall victim to vomiting or diarrhea.


Is Catnip Healthy for My Cat?

We know that catnip is harmless, but does that necessarily mean that it’s healthy?

The answer to this may be yes, however inadvertently. Some veterinarians point to the possible benefit of catnip encouraging physical activity in your cat, which may encourage weight loss.


Why Do Cats React to Catnip?

This is the ancient question — second after only whether the chicken or the egg came first. However, unlike the latter question, a cat’s attraction to catnip is much easier to explain.

Have you heard of cat pheromones? You may be familiar with their use in diffusers that are designed to calm cats down. “Pheromones” make your cat feel happy and at-ease.

Catnip leaves contain something called “nepetalactone,” which is responsible for activating your cat’s ability to perceive pheromones. This results in one very happy kitty.


Why doesn’t my cat react to catnip?

If your cat doesn’t seem to have any reaction whatsoever to catnip, fret not. Your cat is in good company. In fact, it is estimated that up to one-third of all cats have no reaction to catnip whatsoever. Much like humans, cats are made different by their genetics. Sensitivity to catnip is in fact, linked to a feline gene.

If you would like to explore alternative stimulants for your catnip-averse kitty, you should consider silver vine, or a blend of silver vine and catnip.

Silver vine is a cat stimulant popular in Asia but lesser-known in North America. Like catnip, it is safe for use with cats. Unlike catnip, it contains not just one natural cat attractant but two!


How long does catnip last on cats?

This depends on the cat, but the average catnip experience lasts between 5 and 15 minutes. When your cat has had his or her fill, he or she will let you know by simply walking away and making it obvious that the interest has faded.


My Cat Is Naturally Aggressive. Can I Still Give Him or Her Catnip?

Catnip can act either as a sedative or a stimulant, so it can be quite a gamble when it comes to a cat that exhibits aggressive behaviors.

However, it is hard to answer this question as it will depend on the individual cat. If you find that catnip may be resulting in aggressive behavior from your cat, it may be possible that it’s not the right activity for them.


Can I Use Catnip to Train My Cat?

Certainly. Catnip can be used to train your cat to use a new scratching post or bed.

However, it is not recommended that you use catnip to train your cat how to use a litter box — not only is this a natural behavior in cats that does not need to be trained, but it may cause your cat to consume litter if they smell catnip on it.


What Is Catnip?

As stated earlier, catnip (or catmint or cat wort) is a natural herb. It is closely related to mint and is found naturally all over the world, from Europe to the Middle East to China. Although it is most famous for its popularity among felines (hence its name), it also has human uses.

For example, it has traditionally been used in tea or as a repellent for insects. However, taste-wise, it is said that the flavor of catnip is very strong and therefore not appealing.


Where Can I Buy My Cat Catnip?

It’s easy to find catnip at any average pet store or on most online retailers, but are all types of catnip made equal? If you are looking for the best quality catnip, look out for products that have one or more of the following attributes:

  • Organic
  • Preservative-Free
  • Harvested/picked during “peak season”
  • Easily sealable container


Is It Better to Use Dry or Fresh Catnip?

Whether or not dry or fresh catnip has a better pay-off for your cat is a matter of debate. While dry catnip is often more economical, there is reason to believe that the fresh variety is much more potent to a cat’s nose. After all, the effects of catnip are brought on when your cat sniffs it, not when they taste it.


Can I Use a Catnip Spray?

If you have been in the market for some catnip, you may have come across catnip sprays. Additionally, you may have wondered if these can be just as effective as dried or fresh catnip.

The good news is that catnip spray can certainly be effective on cats. Although its effect may not be felt as strongly as dried or fresh catnip, it’s a mess-free way to add a little spice to your cat’s life.


Can I Grow My Own Catnip?

Yes, you can grow your own catnip!

In fact, catnip seeds can be found at most basic gardening stores. There is little skill involved in successfully growing a catnip plant. Not only will catnip plants flourish under a variety of sun coverage, but they also do not require fertilizer (every plant owner’s nightmare).

So why not give your green thumb a try? Your cat will thank you.


What Is the Shelf Life of Catnip?

Do you have some old catnip sitting around in your cat drawer that you are wondering about the potency of? The good news is that catnip stays viable for quite some time — about two years!


Does Catnip Have an Effect on Big Cats?

If you have entertained yourself by watching your cat tumble over itself after a taste of catnip, you may be wondering if your cat’s larger feline cousins, like lions or tigers, react to catnip as well.

Like house cats, “some big” cats have a reaction to catnip, and some do not.


Writer: Rachel Cribby

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