It’s important to know what you’re giving your cats, especially when it comes to foods and treats. Although catnip is such a common thing to give your cats, a number of people are still questioning… well, what is catnip? Is it a drug? Is it food? Is catnip natural? Is it synthetic? What is it about catnip that makes cats go crazy? Most importantly, is there a problem with feeding your cat too much catnip and can they overdose?
What Exactly is Catnip?
Catnip is a natural herb that actually stems from the mint family. It is assumed that catnip was nicknamed “catnip” because of the number of cats that would gather around the herb.
How Does Catnip Work?
Catnip has an active ingredient which is called nepetalactone, which alters the behaviour of your cat.
My Cat Acts Absolutely Crazy When They Eat Catnip… Is that Normal?
That it is! Cats actually experience catnip differently. The most common reactions include becoming more playful, wanting to hunt, wanting to cuddle more, and becoming urged to roll around.
Are Humans Affected by Catnip?
They absolutely are, however they aren’t usually affected in the same way that cats are. Commonly humans will become tired while drinking catnip tea. Catnip is actually very safe for humans to consume, however, I would never try eating or making tea out of cat grade catnip as it’s not really the freshest. I would either grow my own catnip, or I’d look for a supplier who can provide both a human grade and organic product.
Would Catnip Ever Be Beneficial?
Yes and no. From a health perspective, no, however, if you’re trying to get your cat to exercise more it may be the perfect fit for you. I know our cat Kalista is such a huge fan of catnip (her favourite toy is currently a homemade catnip toy that our friend sent us). If Kalista is looking like she’s bored or is acting out, we often give her a small catnip toy to keep her occupied until we can pull out Da Bird! and play with her.
How Long Does Catnip Usually Last For?
Catnip only lasts for about 10-minutes, then you should give your cat a bit of a break before giving them more. After a cat gets “high” they will become “immune” to the catnip for a little while.
So Does That Mean That Over Time Your Cat Won’t Be Affected By Catnip?
It’s hard to say. There have been no studies that show that cats build a tolerance to catnip, other than the tolerance that they build immediately after consuming the nip.
Does Every Cat Like Catnip?
Absolutely not. In our lives, half of the cats have enjoyed catnip, and the other half absolutely don’t care for it. What’s odd are, the feral cats we adopted aren’t affected, while the cats who were born into human households are. Now, this doesn’t mean that feral cats don’t like the nip, but it was interesting that things happened this way. Statistics do say that about 50% of cats are affected by catnip.
Is Catnip Safe For Kittens?
Yes, it is, but you probably don’t want to give your kitten catnip. Cats develop their “catnip gene” later in life, so you probably don’t want to start giving them catnip until they are about 9-months old. Some folks are also worried that catnip harms the development of kittens, although this has never been scientifically proven. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, but in general… you’re probably not going to get a response from a kitten… so why use it?
Can Cats Eat Catnip?
Absolutely. Most cats will know their limits, but I would check out this article for more information.