Catnip sends cats around the bend. But why does it do this, why do they love it, how do you give it to them and most importantly, can cats eat catnip?
Can Cats Eat Catnip
Cats can eat catnip, they will eat it and they’ll enjoy it. The main benefits of catnip come from sniffing it. This tends to send them a little crazy and has an almost stimulant effect. If they eat it then it has the opposite effect and makes them very relaxed and dreamy.
From a human perspective, think something along the lines of cocaine or meth if they sniff it and cannabis or opiates if they eat it.
So, in answer to “can cat cats eat catnip?” the answer is most definitely “yes”. As for whether cats can overdose on catnip and why they react the way they do, read on.
What Does Catnip do to Cats
Firstly, not all cats will respond to catnip. It doesn’t do anything in kittens and they need to be between 3 and 6 months old before it begins to have an effect. However, even in cats that are old enough catnip doesn’t always work. They need to have the right gene, otherwise they’ll probably just sniff it curiously and then turn away.
To learn if your cat responds to catnip just expose them to some and watch them. If they start acting a little loopy then you have your answer. If not, and if they are old enough, then there’s a good chance that it’s never going to do anything to them.
Why do Cats Like Catnip?
Cats seem to have an instinctive love of the smell of catnip. They are drawn to it, and when they get close and breathe it in then they are releasing those feel good chemicals that will send them around the bend. The chemical in catnip that makes cats “high’ is “nepetalactone”. This is steadily released from dried catnip and catnip oils, but cats will also chew the leaves in order to release more of this chemical.
How to Give Cats Catnip
You can get catnip in many different forms. It is available as a spray that you can spray on their favorite toys. This will be inhaled and will likely products a stimulant effect, assuming you cats are susceptible to the oils in catnip. You can also buy dried catnip leaves, which you can sprinkle on their toys to be both sniffed and consumed.
It is very cheap and often comes bundled with toys bought from the pet shop. Just bear in mind that it loses its potency over time. So, if the toy has been sitting on the shelf for a while or you have had it in your cupboard for a few months, then it might not be as potent and effective as it once was.
Can Cats Overdose on Catnip
Catnip is very safe, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t do harm. We often get asked “can cats overdose on catnip?” and while many might dismiss this with a shake of the head and a grumble of disbelief, they actually can.
That’s the bad news, the good news is that a overdose in this sense is unlikely to be fatal. For one thing, a cat seems to know when they have had enough. For another, many of the symptoms of catnip overdose will clear up of their own. They may get sick, they may have a few digestive problems and then, eventually, they will be okay.
Just make sure you oversee their consumption and stop them if you think they are starting to eat too much of it.