Can cat overdose on catnip? Is your cat crazy for catnip, and you want to know why she loses her mind over this herb?
First, we will find out what catnip is and why cats can’t tolerate their perennial herb desire.
To most cats, catnip is like a crack. What is it that makes your loved one go so nuts for it? Every time you give them catnip, you are dosing her by providing the psychoactive drug.
Catnip is coming under the mint family, and it has a leafy appearance. It has an essential oil called Nepetalactone, extracted from the plant Nepeta Cataria.
It has the power to make your lazy kitty to a cracked furball. Catnip is sensitive to only 50 to 70 percent of cats. The others do not react at all. But once you make her inhale catnip, the reaction will be the same for all cats. When your kitty inhales catnip, its smell stimulates the neurons through which all information will pass to the brain. Once it reaches the brain, it will make some sort of changes in the hypothalamus. As you know, the hypothalamus is the part of the brain which regulates the motions.
Your cat will be rolling on the ground, rubbing, sniffing, headshaking, and do all sorts of craziness.
So you can see that your cat’s motions will get changed after smelling catnip. Merely saying your cat will go nuts.
But if your cat eats it, then things will get upside down. Just opposite of smell, here she mellows out being sedative. Whenever you come near your kitten with catnip, she becomes hyperactive and aggressive. The reason is that it enhances the “happy” receptors in the brain.
Cat’s sensitivity to catnip is hereditary. There is a theory that it is some kind of a generic trait that gets passed down.
Let’s discuss this in the following topic.
Why do cats like catnip?
Does your cat love catnip? Probably your answer will be yes. Why are cats attracted to catnip?
For example, in self-grooming brushes, catnip is present to make your cat attracted to it. Most of these kinds of products use catnip to get the attention of cats. So this says all.
Let me tell you the reason behind the catnip, which makes your kitty go crazy. As I mentioned, catnip has a chemical known as Nepetalactone, similar to the cat’s pheromones. What is a pheromone? It is a chemical that acts like hormones secreted by individuals to impact others’ behavior.
So in the case of cats, pheromones help communicate with each other, sending different meanings and messages.
You will understand it better if I give an example of ants following other ants. They can follow each other correctly due to the secretion of each one of them. Your cat will show different types of behavior while trying to share to deposit pheromones, such as rubbing, scratching, rolling, etc. which you might have seen many times.
If you give her catnip and watch, you can see her doing the same. So this might be the reason why researchers came up with the conclusion that Nepetalactone is like pheromones.
I will explain to you clearly this concept. When you give catnip, and your kitty smells it, it stimulates three parts of her brain. The first one is the Olfactory bulb, this processes scent. Second one Amygdala processes emotions. Third and the primary part hypothalamus processes sexual response.
As I said, some cats won’t get attracted to the catnip. Mainly those are small kitties who come below six months. They won’t respond to catnip till they become sexually mature. But your kitty won’t get addicted to it. The only thing it gets more sensitive to catnip. So if your cat loves catnip, don’t hesitate to give but with conscious.
What happens if a cat has too much catnip?
Did your cat had too much of catnip? If the answer is yes, don’t worry because the catnip is completely safe. Your cat will have fun with catnip, and it’s stimulating too. But if your cat has too much catnip, she will go crabby as well as a sedative. In all cases, your kitty will be back to the normal mind within 15 minutes.
If your cat looks like she had enough and more what is needed, then just take away the catnip. However, if she eats more catnip, you may see her vomiting, or in some cases, she may have diarrhea. But as i said before, catnip is safe and harmless. No cats get overdosed on it.
However, if you offer her catnip habitually, she may not respond to it. So it will be good to provide her catnip once every two or three weeks.
Catnip is non-addictive, so don’t need to get concerned about it. It is harmless too.
Some problems may cause to her in certain situations.
Not all cats will behave in the same way after having it. Some will show aggressive behavior. So if you are worried about it, I would recommend you not to give your cat a catnip.
Some will be depressed or altered, but these neurologic signs will be only short-lived.
Don’t ever give catnip to your kitty if she is pregnant. The main reason is that catnip is a uterine stimulant. It is also not suitable for epileptic cats because it can increase seizures. So please be sure that your kitty doesn’t have epilepsy before you give catnip to your kitty.
If your cat already overate the catnip, it can be toxic. Toxic does not only mean that it makes cats deadly; catnip can make your cat show uncomfortable symptoms. The symptoms will be similar to the reaction when poisoned.
As a cat owner, you should always be aware of the quantity of catnip given to your furry friend.
How to give catnip to cats?
You can give catnip to your cat in several different ways. I will discuss here some useful techniques and methods to provide catnip.
You can buy catnip in the form of the fresh plant, in dried format, as flakes, as pellets or in spray form. You can also grow catnip in your home.
The best way to use catnip is to buy refillable toys to put inside fresh catnip. When you give fresh catnip, just crush it a bit, more scent will be released. Your cat will be immediately attracted and will start enjoying it. If you can, make simple toys of your own and fill it with some catnip.
Fresh catnip can also be used in scratching posts by rubbing on it. When you do this, your feline friend will get attracted to the appropriate scratching spot. You will be maybe surprised to know that catnip can be used as a training aid also. Just rub catnip on areas where you need your kitty to be.
Another way of giving catnip is in spray format. The spray can be a worthy product for you. It is not like dried catnip, and it won’t make the place untidy. But catnip spray is not that much powerful when compared to dried catnip. You can just use it to spray where you need your kitty to get attracted.
There is also one fun way to give catnip to your furry friend. It is catnip bubbles. Catnip bubbles are available in the market. It’s the same as the bottled fluid and a wand. You might have seen children enjoying it by blowing bubbles. In this case, the catnip essence will be present in the bottle. You can blow it, and your kitty loves to play with it.
You can gift your loved one with solid catnip balls stuffed with the herb, and your cat will love to tire it off. Mainly your kitty’s focus will be on the catnip. Solid catnip balls are large, and she can’t bounce it also. This type of stuffed balls is excellent as your cat can play, smell, and enjoy it.
How often can I give catnip to my cat?
Well, this is a good question. Your cat will be happy to enjoy catnip, but what are the limits? There are no rules that says exactly how much and how often you should or shouldn’t give a catnip. But based on our research and many cat owners’ experiences, you can provide catnip two or three times a week.
Many cat owners are giving catnip on a daily base. If you do it as well, your cat will be insensitive to catnip. Prolonged use won’t have any effect on your cat.
Even though catnip is like a drug, there are no withdrawal symptoms. So if your kitty has catnip too much, try to reduce and make it once or twice a week.
It is effortless to be away from the catnip because the catnip’s effect will last only for 10 or 15 minutes. After this period, your cat will be back in the usual position.
So don’t get worried about what now the current situation is. If you are giving catnip regularly, you can still moderate it without any difficulty.
Is catnip toxic to cats?
No, not at all. Catnip will never harm your cat. It is an entirely non-toxic drug. However, cats have a unique trick by birth to limit everything on its own.
When your cat feels it’s enough, she will stop and return to her regular activity. That’s the magic of catnip.
Minnesota Poison Control System says that catnip is not toxic; it is impossible. I’ll explain to you why it is so.
According to Minnesota, fresh catnip contains 0.3 to 1.0 volatile oil. The oil will cause changes in the behavior of your kitty. In fact, it will last only for 15 minutes, not more than that. So there is no need for treatment if its effect goes beyond the maximum. The critical mannerism of catnip lasts for only 10 minutes, but its influence will please her for several hours.
When you give catnip to your kitty for the first time, she will go cracked. Probably your cat will go back after having a sufficient amount.
Some cats can show reactions like she had something toxic. But there is no need to get upset. Sometimes particular cats will have vomiting or diarrhea, but it won’t last too long.
Catnip’s effect depends on your cat’s age, health, or several other conditions such as pregnancy, or some health complications.
Other than this, all conditions catnip won’t do any injury to your furry friend. Consequently, you can provide your kitty catnip without any fear.
How much catnip can a cat consume?
To be frank, the quantity of catnip varies based on the cat’s nature. Scientifically it has not mentioned the amount of catnip to be given to your cat. In my opinion, you can give her about 1tablespoon or approx—0.5 oz of catnip.
You can give her twice every two or three weeks. Dosage of Catnip differs in certain factors such as age. If your cat is too young, give her only two or three pinches and check whether it causes any issue.
Based on her behavior, you can change the dosage. Normally small kitties won’t react to catnip.
Another factor is your cat’s health. If your cat is not much healthy, try to give a small portion. Cats who are not fit will not be able to afford catnip’s effect to an extent. So be alert in this situation.
If your cat is pregnant, aware of providing catnip, the reason, as I said before, is that catnip is a uterine stimulant.
Some cats have aggressive behavior after having catnip. In such cases, also do not give them any dosage.
If you cannot decide about the quantity, you should give it to your kitty, then consult a veterinarian. He will help you out based on your kitty’s health, age, and all related effects.
Catnip is a harmless stimulant, so even though you also give more, that won’t cause any serious issue to your feline friend. Therefore you don’t give too much concern on the appropriate dosage. Try with a little amount of catnip, and then increase based on her requirement.
What are the symptoms of catnip poisoning in cats?
Have you ever experienced your cat vomiting or having diarrhea after having catnip?
If yes, then it may be due to the consumption of more amount of catnip than needed.
Catnip usually won’t poison your kitty, and it’s safe. However, there is still a chance to have an overtreatment.
Your cat’s body might fight with the quantity of catnip you gave. The same thing can happen if your kitty is not matured.
Some cats may become cranky or nauseous, that’s also because of too much exposure.
If the symptom of an excess persists, contact your veterinarian and diagnose it. Mostly all these kinds of cases will be okay within 15 to 30 minutes.
So far, there are no other symptoms observed.
The catnip is a recreational drug, as well as non-addictive, so it won’t make your feline friend poisonous to a great extent.
How to treat an overdosed cat?
To be precise, catnip will not overdose your kitty. There is no concept like overdosing in the catnip. In the same way, there is no real treatment for it too.
Overdosing of Catnip usually won’t cause any significant issue to your kitty. If your cat behaves unusually, don’t worry because you will see her back to the normal position within a quarter of an hour.
Some cats will get depressed or will take a nap. Well, it’s okay. But some will have diarrhea and vomiting, and in that case, you should keep an eye on your cat.
The vomiting and diarrhea happen due to body reaction. When your cat had more catnip than needed, the body will itself try to remove the effect. It will eliminate through the process of vomiting or diarrhea and by passing waste products that are consumed. This is what generally happens.
But if your furry friend is not doing these two processes and shows any discomfort. Then it’s your turn to help her.
Now you have to provide her veterinary attention to prompt her to vomit. After doing so, she will vomit and remove all the catnip consumed. Moreover, your veterinarian will give her all sorts of medicinal support to replace the fluids.
If your cat doesn’t stop vomiting or having diarrhea for an extended period, then also you should show her to a veterinarian. Vomiting can cause dehydration to your kitty and can lead to more health issues. She will get exhausted due to this.
So always be alert of overdosing of catnip. Treat it immediately if you feel that your cat is facing some risks.
Can cat overdose on catnip? Conclusion
As a cat owner, you should know about catnip, its benefits, and its disadvantages. Before using it, you should have a rough idea of how to use it.
You should also have an idea of how often you can provide the catnip to your cat. As well as keep in mind the quantity. I would suggest you stimulate your cat with catnip toys, instead of oral consumption.
Providing catnip is something extra you can do for your cat, whether you want to stimulate or make your furry friend happy. Although it won’t make your cat addicted and won’t hurt the health, I do not see any reason to give it every day. As I’ve already said, everyday consumption will lead to insensitiveness.
Catnip has some negative parts, but the best thing is that all of the negatives will vanish within 10 to 15 minutes. Catnip is a stimulating drug, but at the same time, it is a non-toxic and not addicted. You can give your kitty catnip without fear because it is very safe.
All in your hands. Give your kitty what is needed and not more. Keep in mind all the points mentioned above and then go ahead. She will get all the benefits of catnip. You and your cat will enjoy the catnip. Be Focused and Be Safe.