How To Give Your Cat Catnip – Top Do’s and Don’ts

Catnip is a herb affecting about 70% of cats. Sniffed, it gives feelings of euphoria and eaten, it reduces anxiety. It can be used fresh, dried, or as a spray. Read on for how to give your cat catnip.

Introduction

Many cat owners like to give their pets catnip because the cats seem to enjoy the feeling. Catnip is an easy to grow herb which can be used dried, fresh, or in spray form. The effects are almost instantaneous and don’t last very long. To reduce anxiety or to boost appetite, catnip can be eaten in small quantities. Cats might get sick if they eat too much because of the amount of fibre in the plant. To induce a feeling of euphoria it can be sniffed. Not all cats are affected by catnip and some cats become aggressive. Read on as I explain further and provide some Do’s and Don’ts.

What is catnip?

When you look for toys for your cat, you’ll often see catnip toys. Many cats seem to be attracted to catnip. Catnip is a herb from the mint family. Like mint, it is very easy to grow, so it might be worth growing some instead of buying it. That way you know it will be fresh. If you want to know how to grow it, see this article. The active ingredient in catnip is called nepetalactone and somehow, it changes the behaviour of cats. It does not affect all cats and it does not affect kittens at all.

My cat was actually one of the 30% of cats that was not affected. I bought some and my cat Jessie completely ignored it. One of my friends bought three different brands and her tabby cat ignored two of them. It might be worth trying again if your cat ignores it.

cat and catnip, how to give your cat catnip
If your cat is anxious, you might find that catnip helps your cat to relax.

“Dried catnip leaves are widely used as a stuffing for pet toys so cats can enjoy the fragrance all year round. Catnip is edible and useful for humans, too: the leaves and flowers can be used for flavouring dishes and to make into tea, as an insect and pest repellent. The only drawback with growing catnip is that it is almost guaranteed to entice neighbourhood cats into your garden.”

gardenersworld.com/how-to/grow-plants/how-to-grow-a-catnip-plant

What does catnip do to a cat?

Catnip seems to be a drug for cats. You might notice that your cat’s pupils become dilated and your cat rolls around on the floor and rubs their head against the catnip. It seems to produce a feeling of euphoria, but sometimes a cat may drool or get agitated and violent. Some cats might even get the zoomies after sniffing catnip.

Why do people give cats catnip?

We want to make our pets happy and some cats definitely seem to enjoy fresh catnip. But there are other reasons for giving it to a cat. If your cat is anxious, you might find that catnip helps your cat to relax. Whenever you buy something new like a bed or a scratching post, sprinkling a little catnip on it may encourage your cat to use it. It can be so annoying when you buy a new bed for your cat and the cat refuses to even look at it. A little catnip might at least get your cat to acknowledge the existence of the item. For cats that are not very active, a little catnip may encourage them to play or move more. Lastly, adding a small amount of catnip to your cat’s food may stimulate their appetite.

catnip
Catnip is a herb from the mint family and is effective in a number of areas. It can decrease anxiety, boost appetite, encourage play and movement, and be used in training.

What is catnip good for?

Catnap is effective in a number of areas. It can decrease anxiety, boost appetite, encourage play and movement, and be used in training.

How To Give Your Cat Catnip – Top Do’s and Don’ts

●    Do store your catnip in an airtight container, so it will stay fresh. See this article to learn How To Properly Store Catnip For Long-Term Use | ShunCy – Love the green.

●    Do store your catnip in a safe place that cats can’t access.

●    Do use a fresh plant if possible.

●    Do warm up the catnip in your hands if you are using fresh leaves or a catnip infused toy before giving it to your cat. This will increase the effects of the catnip.

●    Do give it as a treat from time to time if your cat enjoys the effects.

●    Don’t give catnip to kittens since they cannot feel the effects of it.

●    Don’t mix catnip with food unless you are trying to boost your cat’s appetite. This is important as your cat will not be able to tell when it has had enough if it is mixed with food.

●    Don’t give a large amount to your cat. Cats can become desensitised to catnip so it is better to start with the smallest possible amount.

●    Don’t give it to your cat too often to avoid desensitisation.

●    Don’t throw away old catnip toys because you can refresh them with a catnip spray.

●    Don’t use catnip if your cat becomes aggressive.

cat and catnip, how to give your cat catnip
Cats can feel the effects of catnip almost immediately and the effects don’t last very long.

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FAQs about Catnip:

Can you give cats catnip directly?

You can give your cat fresh plants to sniff or to eat. You can also sprinkle dried catnip for them. Your cat will choose how it wants to experience the catnip and it is not at all dangerous to give your catnip to your cat directly. Another way for cats to enjoy catnip is with catnip infused toys.

Are cats supposed to eat catnip or just smell it?

It is possible for cats to sniff catnip or to ingest it, but the effects will be different. If your cat eats catnip it will probably have a sedative effect on your cat. The euphoria that cats seem to feel is as a result of sniffing the catnip.

How much catnip should you give a cat?

A small amount of catnip can have an effect on your cat. A teaspoon of the leaves should be enough. If your cat ingests catnip, it might cause a digestive upset and your cat will start vomiting or might have diarrhoea since cats are sensitive to fibre.

You don’t have to worry about your cat getting addicted to catnip. What usually happens is your cat will walk away when it has had enough.

catnip in a garden
If your cat is eating catnip, you have to be careful because it can cause digestive problems.

How long does catnip take to hit cats?

Cats can feel the effects of catnip almost immediately and the effects don’t last very long. For most cats, the effects will last for about 10 minutes. After that, they will not be interested in more catnip for a few hours. For more information, see How Long Does Catnip Take To Kick In? How Long Does It Last? – Excited Cats.

“After ingestion, cats are immune for about 2-3 hours before they can experience the effects of catnip again.”

excitedcats.com/how-long-does-catnip-take-to-kick-in

Is it OK to give cats catnip every day? 

In general, allowing your cat to have catnip on a daily basis is not a problem. However, if your cat is eating catnip, you have to be careful because it can cause digestive problems. Cats don’t need fibre in their diets since they should only eat meat. For more information about how much fibre cats need, see this article. If you are using a spray or toys then it is no problem, but your cat might become desensitized and then the catnip will lose its effect, so it’s much better to use catnip sparingly.

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Conclusion

Many cats enjoy sniffing or eating catnip and it can be used to improve the well-being of your cat. For those who enjoy catnip, it can be used as a treat or as a tool to get cats used to new objects in their environment. For cats that are anxious or do not have a good appetite, eating catnip can be beneficial. It is important not to allow your cat to eat too much as the fibre may make your cat ill. Catnip should not be used in large quantities or too often as it may result in your cat becoming desensitised to it. By following the do’s and don’ts in this article you can ensure the best chances of your cat benefiting from catnip.

Have you heard of or used catnip before?

I actually don’t think there are many cat owners that have tried it, especially after asking my friends and family of their experiences, if any.

Thoughts?

Reference List:

1.   ‘How to Grow a Catnip Plant’. 16 June, 2022. Accessed online at https://www.gardenersworld.com/how-to/grow-plants/how-to-grow-a-catnip-plant/ on 17 Feb, 2023.

2.   ‘Why Do Cats Get the Zoomies and When to Call Your Vet’. Jackie Brown. Updated 13 Feb, 2023. Accessed online at https://cats.com/cat-zoomies on 17 Feb, 2023.

3.   ‘How To Properly Store Catnip for Later Use’. Laura Crone. Updated 9 Jan, 2023. Accessed online at https://shuncy.com/article/is-it-possible-to-dry-catnip-for-later-use on 17 Feb, 2023.

4.   ‘How Long Does Catnip Take to Kick In? How Long Does it Last?’. Cassidy Sutton. Updated 18 Jan, 2023. Accessed online at https://excitedcats.com/how-long-does-catnip-take-to-kick-in/ on 17 Feb, 2023.

5.   ‘Answers: Do Cats Need Dietary Fiber?’. Eliza Katz. Updated 4 May, 2019. Accessed online at https://feline-nutrition.org/answers/answers-do-cats-need-dietary-fiber on 17 Feb, 2023.

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