Can cats eat catnip? The question “Are cats supposed to eat catnip?” may arise in your mind as a cat parent. Catnip is safe for cats to ingest, to put it briefly. However, before giving catnip or any other novel food to your cat, you should discuss it with your vet.
Catnip, or Nepeta cataria as it is clear in the scientific community, is a member of the mint family. The plant’s bright green leaves and lavender blossoms are a hallmark of its native North American habitat. Humans use catnip in a variety of ways, including as calming teas, cough medicines, and all-natural bug sprays.
Can Cats Have Catnip?
So, can cats eat cat nip? Catnip has no addictive properties and is safe for cats to smell or consume in moderation. If you’ve ever seen a cat consuming catnip, you may notice them displaying some peculiar behaviors, such as excessive playfulness, tenderness, or tranquility. There’s usually no reason to worry about these behavioral reactions, as most of the time they last only about 5–15 minutes.
Some cats (often males) may become hostile when you expose them to catnip. They show hissing, snarling, or even attacking other animals or people. Do not give catnip to your cat again if you see any negative side effects, such as misbehavior. Cats do not need to respond to catnip; in fact, some felines choose to avoid it altogether.
Every cat has its own unique reaction to catnip, so this is perfectly normal. About a third of all cats eating catnip will exhibit no sensitivity to it. Despite the common belief that all felines go absolutely crazy whenever they smell catnip, some felines just don’t give a whit. How a cat responds to catnip is likely dependent on hereditary factors.
Is Catnip Safe For Cats?
So, can a cat eat catnip? Exciting news! Catnip has no addictive properties and is safe for cats to smell or consume in moderation. To what extent does catnip actually help cats? Is it safe for cats to eat?
Nepetalactone, an aromatic oil found in catnip, is the principal chemical responsible for producing behavioral reactions. Catnip oil has been shown to temporarily alter feline behavior. Some cats may act as if they are “in heat” while enjoying the substance because the aroma mimics feline sex hormones (pheromones). These side effects can happen to either male or female cats.
While some cats become more active after sniffing catnip, others may become calmer after ingesting it. Catnip has sedative effects, so consuming it may cause your cat to relax and become lethargic. Catnip tea has been in use for centuries for its calming effects on humans.
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Feeding Catnip To Cats
Now, you know can cat eat catnip? Catnip is safe for felines, but excessive doses can be harmful. Catnip, keep in mind, is a herb and not a food. Overconsumption of catnip can cause gastrointestinal distress, vomiting, disorientation, and incoordination in feline owners’ pets. If it worries you that your cat eating too much catnip, you can give them toys that smell like catnip instead.
When To Give Catnip To Your Cat?
Although some cats may become too energetic or agitated after consuming catnip, for the most part, it is a harmless treat that may be given to cats at any time. Alternate cat treats should be considered if your feline friend starts acting aggressively.
The effects of catnip on cats are typically most pronounced within the first 10 minutes following administration. Any behavioral effects typically fade out after 10 minutes. Depending on how long your cat was in the car, it could take up to an hour for its system to reset and make it receptive to catnip.
It’s important to watch how much food your cat gets because overeating might make them sick. Keep in mind that the feline members of our family are carnivores if you’re wondering if catnip is healthy for them.
FAQs: Can Cats Eat Catnip?
How Much Catnip Can I Give My Cat?
You just need a tiny bit of catnip to have a big impact, so be sparing. Only a small pinch, around the size of a quarter, will do. Since cats don’t consume catnip toys, there is no such thing as giving them too much.
What Does Catnip Actually Do To Cats?
Cats enjoy catnip because it has a calming effect when eaten and a stimulating effect when inhaled. Catnip contains volatile oil (an oil that evaporates into the air) that has a calming effect on felines.
Is Catnip The Equivalent Of Drugs For Cats?
In a nutshell, no, catnip is not a drug in the medical or scientific sense. It is not necessary for your cat to swallow it or metabolize it to have an impact. Why? Because catnip relies solely on smell to induce its effects.
Does Catnip Make Cats Sleepy?
Sniffing causes a cat to become lively and playful, and it may even tumble about on the ground. However, ingesting catnip can have a calming effect on felines, eliciting drooling, purring, or even sleepiness.
Can Cats Eat Catnip Leaves?
Your cat shouldn’t consume more than 10–20 grams of fresh catnip per day due to the high nepetalactone content.
Parvaiz Yousuf is a senior SEO writer and editor with an experience of over 6 years, who also doubles up as a researcher. With an MSc zoology degree under his belt and possessing complete Search Engine Optimization (SEO) knowledge, he works as a science journalist for a US-based website and Asian Scientist (A Singapore-based magazine). He also works as Director of Wetland Research Centre, Wildlife Conservation Fund YPJK since 2018. Besides, he has several publications to his name on cancer biology and biochemistry in some reputed journals such as Nature & International Journal of Molecular Sciences, & magazines such as Science Reporter, BUCEROS BNHS, and has an abiding interest in ornithology. He also worked as a Research Associate for JK Policy Institute.