Catnip is a plant made from the perennial herb made from the mint family. The actual name catnip is thought to have derived from the reaction that cats have to the plant. Within the herb is an active ingredient called nepetalactone. It is an essential oil that causes a sudden change in a cat’s behavior.
However, not all cats will react to the oil. Only around half to two-thirds of cats will respond to it. Catnip is not harmful to your cat and is not the same as conventional drugs. So you don’t have to worry, because your cat will not overdose on it. Cats are known to refuse catnip if they have had enough of it.
For kittens, however, the drug may not work – read below to find out why.
- Is catnip good for kittens?
- Does catnip work on kittens?
- What are the benefits & disadvantages of catnip?
- What are catnip side effects for cats?
Is catnip good for kittens?
As mentioned in the introduction, catnip is safe for cats across the board, regardless of age or development. In fact, cats know when they have had enough and will actively refuse catnip when offered. Therefore, catnip is safe for kittens.
However, with that said, not all cats will respond to catnip. The active ingredient requires a certain amount of mental maturity before the cat felts a reaction. That means that very young kittens, under three months, are very unlikely to be able to feel the effects of catnip despite taking it.
There is no way around this, and you will not change the result by altering how the catnip is administered.
To be able to enjoy the effects of catnip, your kitten must be at least three months old. However, it can also differ from kitten to kitten as development speeds vary. Sometimes it can take as long as six months. So it is recommended to wait at least until the kitten is three months before trying catnip.
In sporadic cases, catnip can make your cat ill. However, this can be only in case your cat has ingested a large amount of catnip in a short time. But, do not fear because the symptoms are not severe. And they will completely disappear just as long as you take the catnip away from the cat. In a short time, the kitten will be back to normal.
Does catnip work on kittens?
As mentioned previously, catnip does not work on all adult cats. Only a half to two-thirds of cats will actually respond to catnip. The reason is developmental differences in the brain. As well it is the effectiveness of the essential oil in catnip.
Before you try and give the kitten catnip, you should wait at least three months of the kitten being born. The reason is that the majority of kittens will not have developed the necessary neural pathways in their brain that the active ingredient acts upon. Even then, differences in development speeds may cause some kittens to have to wait six months before catnip has any effect on them.
If you find that catnip does not work on your kitten, then you will have to wait until the kitten has sufficient development. There is no way to bypass this. Even if you change the method of supplying catnip to your kitten, it will not change the result.
For those kittens that catnip is effective on, you must make sure not to give too much. It can lead to a rare overdose. The symptoms are not severe. They are reversible just as long as you remove the source of the catnip from the cat and leave the kitten alone in a safe space.
What are the benefits & disadvantages of catnip?
It can be hard to know whether catnip is best for you and your cat. Read below and find out the pros and cons of using catnip.
What are the benefits of catnip for cats?
Firstly, catnip is a great way to give your cat a god time. If your cat eats catnip, then the catnip will tend to have a sedative effect on the cat.
However, if the cat sniffs the catnip, then the cat can become hyperactive-rolling around and flipping over. It is great fun for the cat and great fun for the owner as well. Nowadays, you can find a lot of different interactive toys for cats that contain catnip. Catnip toy is one of the most preferable by cats.
Another major pro is that catnip is tried and tested and is absolutely safe to use. Testing on the long term effects of catnip on cats has found that it poses no long term effects at all.
Cats will not become addicted to catnip. And the only result of using a lot of it is that your cat will become desensitized to its effects. In fact, many cats will reject catnip if they feel they have had enough of it.
Another pro is that the effects of catnip will go away after 10 or 15 minutes. As mentioned in the above paragraph, catnip has little long term effects. You can use it once, and you can be sure that the effects will wear off.
What are the disadvantages of a catnip for cats
The disadvantages of catnip are limited. However, there have been cases of cats who have essentially overdosed on catnip and have begun to feel ill. It can be reversed simply by not taking the catnip; however, the short term symptoms are not pleasant.
Another is that catnip provides little benefit to your cat other than making it go crazy. It offers zero nutritional benefits. So in case, you decide, removing it from a cat’s diet, there won’t be any effect.
What are catnip side effects for cats
There are side effects to catnip, and you should know about these if you are to give your cat catnip still.
The first is this. Catnip given regularly and in large doses can desensitize your cat to the effects of catnip. It means that in the future, you will need to use more catnip to produce the same result. The best way to avoid this side effect is to cut down on your cat’s usage of catnip and make sure that you only give your cat catnip as a treat and in small doses.
Another common side effect is an increase in aggressive behavior. Not all cats react to catnip in the same way. Some will respond in the usual way- with hyperactivity; however, others will react with aggression. Usually, this is manageable if your cat does not show excessive aggressive behavior. However, if your cat is overly aggressive, then this aggressiveness may become unmanageable, and catnip will not be a good option for you.
Although this is rare, a cat can overdose on catnip. If a cat is repeatedly given high doses of catnip over a short space of time, then the cat may begin to feel nauseous and ill. It will subside if you stop giving the cat catnip. However, the experience is not a nice one, and it is better to avoid it.
Apart from these, there are minimal side effects to a cat taking catnip. Catnip is a perfectly healthy thing to give your cat, assumingly it is provided as a treat and in small doses.