- If your cat likes catnip,there’s no harm in letting them eat it occasionally 🌿✔️
- You can also use catnip as an enticing addition to their meal 🐱
- While smelling catnip causes cats to “go crazy,” eating it will calm them down and make them go to sleep 😴
- Keep an eye on your pet and make sure they’re behaving normally after eating the plant. Too much can cause stomach upset, and some cats love catnip to the point of overeating ⚠️
What Is Catnip?
Catnip is a herbaceous flowering plant with square stems and toothed leaves. The flowers are white, pink or lavender, and produced in whorls around the stem. The name catnip is derived from the words cat and nip, which is a variant of nep, as in Latin nepeta (“catnip”). The plant grows to about 3 feet tall and has a sweet, minty smell.
Benefits of Catnip for Humans
The leaves and flowering tops are used as a medicinal herb to calm the nerves, promote sleep, and ease anxiety in people. Catnip can also be used to make a tea that is drunk to relieve colds and flu symptoms. Cat owners aren’t the only ones who swear by it!
Catnip is a safe herb for both children and adults. It can be taken daily without any adverse side effects. But can cats eat catnip? And what are possible adverse effects on our feline friends?
Effects of Catnip on Cats
Cats react to catnip in a number of different ways. Some people say that cats become more playful after consuming catnip, while others say that they become more vocal. One thing that’s known for sure about catnip and cats is that it’s a stimulant for them – it makes cats feel good.
How Does It Work?
This is due to the fact that catnip contains a compound called nepetalactone. This is what causes the effects that we see in many cats who are given catnip. When the substance enters a cat’s system, it binds to certain receptors in their brain called olfactory receptors. These receptors are responsible for sensing smells, and when they’re activated by nepetalactone, they cause cats to feel good. It’s often said that nepetalactone behaves like cat pheromones.
Pheromones are chemicals that are released by animals in order to communicate with each other. They often play a role in sexual attraction, but they can also be used for other purposes, such as marking territory or communicating danger. In the case of catnip, the pheromone-like effect of nepetalactone may be why cats become more playful and vocal when they consume it.
Can Cats Eat Catnip Safely?
Now, let’s get back to our main question. Can cats eat catnip, or should you discourage it? The good news is that it’s completely safe for felines to ingest catnip leaves, both fresh and dried.
Your cat’s reaction to catnip can be wildly different when they eat it rather than smell it. Ingesting catnip may make them feel sleepy or relaxed, and they might start drooling and purring as they fall asleep. Just make sure they don’t eat a lot – this could give them a bellyache.
Editor’s NoteNot all cats respond to catnip in the same way. Some may not show any reaction besides sitting like a sphinx (or loaf), while others have a very active response. This has to do with how their genes are programmed. For most cats, the effects last for about 10 minutes, but it may take an hour until they can respond to it again.
Does Sniffing the Catnip Plant Work on Kittens?
Kittens only start being affected by catnip when they turn 3–6 months old. This is probably because young kittens aren’t sexually mature yet, and catnip oil mimics pheromones, which are molecules linked to sexual response. It’s been proven that kittens don’t prefer catnip toys or scratchers over regular ones.
How Much Dry or Fresh Catnip Is Safe For Cats To Eat?
Can cats eat catnip? Yes. But some cats get upset stomachs after eating large amounts of catnip, while others may not have any negative response to it. If you’re concerned about your cat eating too much catnip, it’s best to stick to fresh leaves rather than dried. As a general rule, it’s recommended not to give your cat more than 1/4 teaspoon of dried catnip or 2 teaspoons of fresh catnip per day.
It’s impossible for your cat to overdose on catnip to the point of serious harm, but too much of it can cause them to become very sleepy or have digestive problems. Signs that your cat may have had too much catnip include:
- vocalizing more than usual;
- being hyper and restless;
- having diarrhea.
If you notice any negative response to catnip in your pet, it’s best to speak to your veterinarian and limit their access to the herb.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Cats Supposed to Eat Catnip or Just Smell It? 👃
In general, cats should only eat catnip occasionally and in small amounts. Eating too much of it can cause stomachache and diarrhea. But nibbling on a few leaves while “under the influence” of catnip is completely normal.
How Much Catnip Can I Give My Cat? 🌿
A good rule of thumb is to limit your cat’s intake of catnip to 1/4 teaspoon of dried leaves or 2 teaspoons of fresh leaves at a time. It’s also a good idea to throw away any leftover catnip after it has been left out for several hours, as this will reduce the risk of your cat eating stale or moldy leaves.
Do Cats Feel High on Catnip? 🥴
The effects of catnip are not like those of a traditional drug, such as marijuana. That being said, many cats do seem to have a “high” effect after they’ve eaten some catnip. Their behavior may become more relaxed, affectionate, and vocal.
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