Last Updated : November 22, 2022

Can cats eat catnip?

From plain meat to seafood and vegetables to plants, there is nothing that cats would not like to eat or at least taste. Cats have this curiosity in their genes and they would eat anything that comes in front of them even if they haven’t seen that thing in their whole life. But some food items are not only eaten by cats but they love them as well. One of such highly liked food items includes the catnip.

Yes, you may have seen this plant or may not have even heard about it but it has a great place in cats’ lives. Although cats do indeed like eating catnip, the more important questions are; do cats eat catnip? Is catnip good for cats to eat? Are there any side effects of feeding catnip to your cats? Well, just continue reading this article as you will surely get all your answers in this short and comprehensive article.

Can cats eat catnip

What is catnip?

Catnip is a plant from the mint family and it has purple-spotted flowers along with downy leaves. The plant is also known as catmint, catwort, and catswort depending on different regions of the world.

The plant has a unique pungent smell that can attract cats to eat them. Although the native region is the Middle East and Central Asia for this plant, it is widely cultivated in other parts of the world mainly including Northern Europe, China, New Zealand, and North America,

Can you let cats eat catnip?

As a one-stop answer, Yes. Cats can eat catnip and you will not find a single case where cats have experienced any kinds of major health issues just because of eating catnip. You can feed catnip to cats in small quantities without any issues.

Even if your cats eat a bit more than the normal range, they may face health issues not more than diarrhea, upset stomach, and vomiting. Just make sure that catnip is not affected by external factors such as pesticides or pathogens.

Can cats eat dried catnip?

Yes, cats can eat both dried and fresh catnip as there is not a single ingredient in the plant’s composition that can have bad effects on cats’ health.

As far as liking is concerned, most adult cats like to eat catnip when it is dry because it is more tasty and enjoyable while fresh catnip’s texture is not much liked by cats.

So, it is better to dry up the leaves of catnip before you feed them to your precious cats.

Why do cats like eating catnip?

Nepetalactone is the active ingredient in catnip which will give you a clear-cut idea of why cats like eating catnip. Experts claim that catnip gives a boost to cats’ happiness and acts as a mood enhancer. You can say that catnip stimulates the cats to have fun and enjoy themselves.

The after-effects of eating catnip can be different from cat to cat. Some cats may start playing while running and jumping from one place to another. Other cats may just sit at a place, keep on staring at empty spaces, stay relaxed, show affection, and keep on meowing and growling all the time.

How much catnip can you give a cat?

The quantity varies depending upon the cat’s age, health condition, and other factors but we should start with an extremely small amount. Experts recommended only giving one teaspoon of catnip on the first try.

  1. Put the catnip in front of cats and let them lick and eat it.
  2. Analyze the outcomes to see whether your cat is acting normal or feeling too high.
  3. If your cat is too high relative to catnip’s quantity, you may start with even less.
  4. If cats are good to go, you may increase from one teaspoon to as much as one tablespoon.

Can cats have catnip every day?

No, catnip can only be given as a snack or treat, once in a while. You should stick to the rule of feeding such snacks in moderation and on an occasional basis.

Feeding too much or too often can have bad effects on cats’ health (short term or long term) while the catnip will also begin to lose its effectiveness if you give it without major gaps.

There is a low risk of overdosing on catnip, but you should not put your precious cat’s health at risk.

What happens if cats eat catnip?

When cats eat catnip, various positive or intended things begin to happen on an almost immediate basis.

You will surely like to have such things happen because this is probably the major reason why people feed catnip to cats.

The cats will become energetic and excited and will start playing with the full boost. The basic things that your cats may start doing include:

  • Rolling
  • Jumping
  • Running
  • Flipping
  • Meowing
  • Growling
  • Showing affection
  • Rubbing the source of catnip

If your cats eat a lot of catnip, it may have some bad effects. Although these bad effects will cause issues, they will be short term, such as:

  • Upset stomach or tummy
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Can catnip make cats sleepy?

Cats will not fall asleep if they have only sniffed or smelled the catnip but if they have eaten it, the result could be zoning out. The cats will start by playing around and once they get tired, they will tend to sleep and wake up after a relatively long time.

How long does catnip last on cats?

The effect of catnip doesn’t last for too long as the average lasting time of catnip is somewhere between 5 to 15 minutes for cats.

There are possibilities that some cats may have gotten boosted again after an hour or so for a few minutes but the actual period is not more than 15 minutes after they sniffed or ate the catnip.

Why does catnip make cats crazy?

There is an active ingredient in catnip known as Nepetalactne. This ingredient has the ability to get bonded to the receptors present at the top inner side of the nose.

The binding to the receptors stimulates the neurons that are leading into the brain. All these things act as a mood enhancer which makes cats excited and they start to act crazy as they enjoy playing around in the house.

How to give catnip to cats?

Various methods can be utilized to give catnip to cats. You can directly put the dried leaves in front of the cats but this may not be as effective because you should choose the one that suits you the best. You can go with any of the below-mentioned ways of serving catnip to your cats:

  1. Attach the catnip to the spot where cats scratch a lot.
  2. Spray catnip on different areas where cats will most likely go.
  3. Put catnip in between the toys and playing areas for the cats.
  4. Sprinkle catnip in the environment where cats don’t usually go. This will encourage them to move out and enjoy more.

If you are going on a long ride, you may spray the catnip in the cat’s carrier as it will keep cats relaxed in an enclosed car.

Benefits of feeding catnip to cats:

  • Make cats feel enjoyable
  • Reduces stress
  • Removes anxiety
  • Keep mosquitos away
  • Boost energy
  • Encourage cats to play
  • Improvise sleeping habits
  • Make distracted cats feel relaxed and loved
  • Various medical advantages
  • Helps in training

Is catnip effective on all cats?

No. Not all cats will experience the outcomes as you thought because cats vary in terms of species, genes, inheritance, and their reactive behavior as well.

A research study concluded that only about 60% of the cats experience the 100% effectiveness of the catnip while the other 40% either enjoy partial results or don’t feel anything at all.

If your cat is from the 40% part, you may go for other options such as silver vine.

What other foods are good for cats to eat?

Frequently Asked Questions

Does catnip get cat high?

Yes, cats get high when they eat catnip because this plant has the sole purpose of making your cats high. Your cats will be stimulated, energized, playful, and feel like their mood has been enhanced.

Can catnip calm cats down?

Yes. Catnip can reduce stress, depression, and anxiety which leads to calming down your cats. This is the reason that people spray catnip while going out on a long drive in a car so that their coats don’t start panicking.

Can kittens have catnip?

Yes, you can give catnip to kittens but experts claim that kittens will only start to experience the outcomes of catnip once they are older than 6 months or maybe a year. This time limit can be even bigger for some species of specific cats.


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