Catnip is one of those intriguing this that cats love and giving it to them gives them a sharp burst of energy and a boost.
Despite what many may think, catnip is not bad for these animals and it is actually perfectly safe for them.
But, what do cats do with catnip and how do they use it? What is the best way to give a cat some catnip, and do they eat it or just roll around in it?
Let’s find out…
Can Cats Eat Catnip and Should They?
Cats are particularly drawn to the unique smell catnip gives off and they have a strong nose and ability to smell things from far away, which is worthy of admiration by itself.
Normally when you want to give some catnip to your little kitty you can sprinkle some on the floor around it or in it’s bed or put some inside the cats favorite toy even.
It will make playtime even more fun if you involve some catnip and it is a great way to get a more lazy cat to be active again.
They will smell the plant and roll around in it happy.
It is adorable to watch and they are like little bundles of joy when they get some catnip to play with.
But, can and do cats eat catnip?
Most cats love to smell catnip or roll around in it on the floor, but to actually eat the catnip is a whole different thing.
If a cat eats catnip it works kind of like a mild sedative for it and it will feel tired and very calm after eating it.
This is still completely safe for a cat to do and eating catnip is safe for cats, but it will affect them differently than only smelling it would.
It is common for a cat who has eaten some catnip to want to nap for long afterwards, but cats do love to sleep anyway, who can blame them.
It is a real treat for cats and they are known to love it a lot and even go wild with excitement when they are about to get some catnip.
Is Catnip Safe For Cats?
Catnip is perfectly safe for cats and there is nothing wrong with them having it. But, if they have too much of it or eat too much of the leaves then they can get an upset stomach along with diarrhea or vomiting.
So the only thing to worry about is them having too much at a time but that is a rare thing to see happen.
It is safe to smell and also for cats to eat, and has no addictive qualities in it but a cat should not have too much of course.
Catnip is not considered something like cat food, and if a cat has too much of it, it would be similar to a human eating too much spices as it is a herb. It is not a good idea at all.
So it is all right in moderation but they should not overdo it or have too much of this good thing.
You can find some excellent catnip here, that is 100% natural.
How Catnip Makes Cats React
This interesting plant herb is recognized as a part of the mint family of plants and catnip activates the “happy” center in a cats brain and evokes feelings of energy and pleasure.
It is to put it simply a mood enhancer for felines and makes them incredibly happy and active for a short time.
When a cat gets catnip they might jump around happy or run around a bit, but after the energy boost has worn off they will feel calm and content, wanting to relax.
The unique scent of this plant takes over a cats “olfactory senses” which is why they may act a bit peculiar after smelling catnip.
They might look ecstatic and hyperactive, but there is no reason to feel concerned or worry because the cat is safe and just enjoying itself.
It is interesting, but while smelling and rolling around in catnip makes cats full of energy and blissful, eating catnip has the opposite effect and affects them very differently.
When cats eat catnip it makes them feel sleepy and calm, basically the exact opposite effect that smelling catnip gives them.
But, when they rub into catnip and only smell the plant they may start to act more like a young kitten, looking more playful and roll around rubbing their face in the mint.
They can also jump around chaotically and sprint around from room to room which is pretty cute to watch in action.
They may also just look incredibly relaxed and blink slowly or meow a lot.
This effect tends to only last a few minutes or from 5 to 15 minutes at a time.
Then after a few hours they may show some happy effects again, but it is still safe for them and has no harmful effects.
Why Do Cats love Catnip So Much?
There is an active compound in catnip called “nepetalactone.”
Cats are known to be very sensitive to some smells and they love and adore this scent in particular.
It is believed to be similar to the smells of cat pheromone and that is probably the reason why they love catnip so much and go wild for it.
What Catnip Is Used For
People give catnip to cats for many reasons such as to get them to be more active and to exercise more, and as rewards for good behavior.
But, mostly it is given as a fun treat and simply to make the cat happy and to cheer it up.
If you are trying to get a cat to use a new scratching post instead of your sofa or furniture to claw on, putting some catnip on the scratching post or rewarding it with catnip is a very effective idea to get things done and to see real results.
Also to get a cat to sleep in their own bed instead of somewhere unwanted. Catnip is good for this purpose, just sprinkle some on their new cat bed to get them to sleep there more.
Anxious cats could also benefit from the calming or happy effects catnip can give.
The same catnip leaves won’t last forever and you might discover that your pet has completely lost interest in them the next day or after a few hours.
This is because the smell of catnip has worn off and you will need to get more if you want to entice your cat with it again.
How Much Catnip Cats Can Have In A Day
You should not give your cat too much catnip and it is a good idea to always keep a close eye on them when you have given them some.
You don’t want them to have too much of it, and while they are not going to overdose or anything like that, they may get a sore tummy if they have too much.
Just like people would feel bad after eating too much spices or herbs at once.
But you should only give your cat up to one tablespoon in a single day of catnip.
Do All Cats Like Catnip?
No, it depends completely on the cat and its preferences.
Some cats will go completely wild when exposed to catnip while others may passively shrug disinterested or go back to sleeping as if not interested at all.
It is not like in the cartoons.
The idea that all cats love catnip is mostly a stereotype and a widely spread belief that does not hold true to reality.
It is believed that only around 50% of cats(1.) are really attracted to catnip while other ones don’t care about it or have no interest at all.
That is quite a higher number than you would think, but it is true. Not all cats like catnip.
Also, do keep in mind that the allure of catnip and this hold it has over cats does not take place until the cat is around 3-6 months old. Young kittens are not interested in catnip like adult cats are and it takes an adult cat to appreciate the plants effects.
But, it is safe for them and is good if you want to cheer up your cat or reward it for good behavior.
Also read: Best clumping cat litter to use.