Catnip is a perennial herb that produces a mild, narcotic effect on cats. It is typically used to make cats more playful and social with humans. However, there are some things you should know before giving your cat this plant.

Cats are not the only animals that can ingest catnip, but they are the most common. Cats that consume catnip will often experience a euphoric reaction as their brain releases endorphins and dopamine. However, there is no known research on the long-term effects of catnip consumption by cats so it is best to avoid giving it to them if you want to keep your pet healthy.

While many cat owners are acquainted with catnip, you may have wondered whether cats can consume it. Is it safe for my cat to eat it? Is there such a thing as giving too much to my cat? If you’re thinking about feeding your cat some catnip, it’s a good idea to know what it is and how it affects cats.

Catnip’s mechanism of action

The plant Nepeta cataria is most often known as catnip. The oil nepetalactone is found in this plant, which belongs to the mint family. When breathed or eaten, nepetalactone oil causes a chemical reaction in the brain of a cat. This may induce a variety of responses in cats. You may find that your cat has become calm and silent. It’s also conceivable that your cat may become agitated, playful, and even violent. 

It’s worth noting that catnip may only be effective in 50-70 percent of cats. This implies that between 30 and 50 percent of cats may not respond to catnip at all. It’s possible that this is due to hereditary factors. By the time your cat is 3-6 months old, you’ll probably know whether he or she responds to catnip.    

Catnip’s health benefits

Catnip may be beneficial to cats. Catnip has a number of health advantages, including decreasing tension and enabling your cat to rest. Catnip may be helpful in promoting play and exercise if your cat responds to it in a fun way. It may also be used to assist cats with skin irritations. 

Another advantage of using catnip is that most pests despise its smell, thus it may be used to keep mosquitos at bay.  

After eating catnip, what happens to the brain?

When your cat smells or eats catnip, it attaches to receptors in his or her nose and mouth, which transmit signals to his or her brain. Catnip is believed to mimic heightened hormones in felines and, as a result, lead your cat to act as if they are in heat. Both male and female cats exhibit this effect. 

Within the first 10-15 minutes of breathing or swallowing catnip, most cats will start to feel its effects. These effects may last anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes before they start to fade. Your cat may not respond to catnip again for a few hours after the effects have worn off. 

How much catnip should a cat be given?

How much catnip should you feed your cat is an essential issue to consider. While catnip is harmless and safe, it’s a good idea to check with your veterinarian before giving it to your cat for the first time. Too much of a good thing may become a terrible thing, just like everything else. 

Is catnip harmful to cats? No, that is not the case. While catnip will not hurt your cat, if you give it too much at once, it may cause stomach discomfort. Starting with tiny doses to observe how your cat reacts may be helpful.

Catnip’s dos and don’ts

There are many dos and don’ts when it comes to utilizing catnip. When using catnip with your cat, keep these helpful tips in mind to keep your cat safe.   

Do: Make a modest donation.

When giving catnip to your cat for the first time, start with a tiny quantity. If you’re not sure how much to start with, you may always ask your veterinarian for a recommendation. Your cat may vomit or have diarrhea if you give it too much catnip. As a result, you should begin slowly until you have a better understanding of how it will effect your cat. 

Do: Keep catnip in a secure location.

Cats can climb just about anything, as we all know. It’s critical to store catnip in a secure location out of reach of your cat. When they’ve gotten their fill of catnip, most cats will stop eating it; however, you can’t always trust your cat to know when to quit. We all know that too much catnip may cause tummy discomfort, so putting it in a place where your cat can’t get to it can help protect them from overdoing it.   

Give catnip to a cat that like it.

Once you’ve chosen to expose your cat to catnip, you should constantly keep an eye on them. You want to observe their conduct to ensure that they are having fun. Continue to use catnip if your cat seems to be having a good time. However, if your cat gets violent or starts to behave in a bad way, you should avoid catnip and look for a replacement.

Do: Catnip is a great way to get your cat to play.

Encourage your cat to play with catnip as one way to enjoy it. Introduce interactive toys or climbing structures, such as this rechargeable laser pointer or Whisker’s cat pyramid. These may assist your cat burn off excess energy while also giving them the space they need to rest and play.  

Don’t: Consume a lot of food.

As previously said, too much of a good thing may really be harmful. If your cat eats too much catnip, it will vomit and have diarrhea. Your cat will most likely be sick for a while and then be well. However, if the symptoms do not go away, you should call your veterinarian. The Litter-Robot 3 Connect may help you track your cat’s litter box use via an app, enabling you to spot any unusual potty patterns. 

Don’t: Always have fresh catnip on hand.

There are many kinds of catnip to choose from, including fresh, dried, and sprayed varieties. Dried catnip is preferred by some cats over fresh catnip. Whether you have fresh catnip, you may wonder if cats can eat the leaves. While catnip leaves are okay to eat, you should keep an eye on your plant to make sure your cat isn’t eating too much. It is believed that fresh catnip is gentler for your cat’s tongue. It is, however, a living plant that will need some maintenance. 

Don’t: Give catnip to cats that have a negative reaction to it.

Catnip has the potential to make certain cats aggressive, especially if they are already aggressive. When introducing catnip, keep an eye on your cat to ensure that their activity is pleasant rather than aggravating. 

Don’t: Overfeed your cat with catnip.

Catnip should be provided as a reward on a regular basis, ideally several times a week. If you give your cat too much catnip, it will begin to build up in their system, increasing their tolerance. As a result, the impacts will be limited.

Alternatives to catnip

If your cat does not respond well to catnip, or at all, you may try a different option to see how they react. The following are some alternatives to catnip:

  • Silver vine: This plant is native to China and Japan, and it contains compounds that are similar to those found in catnip, such as nepetalactone. Silver vine may induce an allergic response in cats that are not allergic to catnip.
  • Valerian root: This herb may be used to stimulate or soothe your cat if they are anxious.

Is catnip harmful to cats?

Is it true that cats can consume catnip? You now know that catnip is non-toxic and harmless. It has a favorable behavioral effect on the majority of cats. It’s conceivable that your cat will have a bad reaction. When introducing catnip, it’s essential to keep an eye on your cat to make sure it’s something they’ll like. If they don’t like it, you can always try something else! 

When feeding your cat catnip, it’s also essential that they have a place to rest and/or play. Cat shelves or a cat tower, such as those offered by Whisker, may be a wonderful way to give your cat its own space to consume catnip.

Is it possible to use catnip to alter a cat’s feeding habits?

While catnip’s mellowing impact is less likely to influence a cat’s feeding habit, it is conceivable that it will induce a reduction in hunger. It’s essential to avoid feeding your cat too much catnip all at once, since this may cause stomach discomfort.

Is it possible for cats to get addicted to catnip, particularly after consuming a big amount?

Catnip is not addictive, according to science. Ingesting too much catnip, on the other hand, may result in vomiting and diarrhea.

bengal cat sniffing pile of catnip - can cats eat catnip?




Cats can eat catnip. There are some precautions to take when giving your kitty too much catnip, but cats will not die from it. Reference: can too much catnip kill a cat.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can cats eat straight catnip?

Cats can eat straight catnip, but it is not recommended. It can cause a variety of health issues for your cat, including vomiting and diarrhea.

Should I let my cat eat catnip?

It is not recommended to let your cat eat catnip as it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and other side effects.

How much catnip do you give a cat?

I am not a cat, and I do not know how much catnip to give a cat.

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