Everybody knows that cats love catnip. Even if you haven’t given catnip to your cat, you have probably seen videos on social media showing happy felines playing with catnip toys or rolling around in a pile of the dry herb itself. Catnip is a great treat for your pet, but you’re probably wondering how much catnip to give a cat. Fortunately, the answer is simple.
Cat owners don’t need to worry about how much catnip they give their cat because the feline body naturally regulates its catnip intake. There is a biological reason behind this that we will take an in-depth look at in this guide. We will also discuss the difference between popular catnip products and how they affect your cat.
How Much Catnip To Give a Cat
Believe it or not, you generally don’t need to worry about measurements with catnip. First of all, most catnip products do not require you to measure anything, as it typically comes in catnip toys. Your cat engages with these products through their sense of smell, and they cannot “consume” excessive amounts of them. It is important to note that cats can also eat dried or fresh catnip, but we will discuss how those products work later in this guide.
Cats do an amazing job of regulating their catnip experience all by themselves. Actually, they don’t have a choice because your cat’s body will automatically stop responding to catnip after about 10-15 minutes of exposure to it. To explain this phenomenon, we have to give you a short little lesson on how catnip works.
Catnip affects cats through their sense of smell and taste. The catnip herb contains an essential oil called nepetalactone, which happens to be similar to certain feline pheromones. Cats react to nepetalactone by exhibiting playful behavior, often rolling around with a catnip toy and rubbing it around their nose and mouth. However, after about 10-15 minutes of exposure to catnip, the cat loses interest in the catnip because they experience olfactory fatigue or nose blindness.
When Can Cats Have Catnip?
There are no restrictions on when or how often you can give your cat catnip. However, if your cat has interacted with catnip within the past 15 minutes, they will still be dealing with olfactory fatigue, so they won’t react to it. It usually takes about 1-2 hours for the cat’s nose blindness to go away (as long as they aren’t continuously exposed to catnip).
This is also a good time to mention that not all cats react positively to catnip. Most cats do, but an estimated 20-30% of the feline population exhibits no response to the herb. That’s because cats have to have a certain gene in order to react to nepetalactone.
The gene is hereditary, and if your cat has it in their family, they almost certainly love catnip. Other cats that don’t have the gene will not care about it, no matter how often you give it to them. Therefore, we recommend only buying one small catnip product at first and making sure your cat responds to it before investing a lot of money in pricey catnip items.
How Long Does Catnip Take To Kick In?
Catnip kicks in almost immediately, as soon as the scent of catnip’s essential oil kits the cat’s olfactory receptors. If your cat has the gene that triggers the nepetalactone response, you should see them rolling around with the ‘nip as soon as you give it to them.
Can Cats Overdose on Catnip?
No, cats cannot overdose on catnip. However, if your cat eats a large amount of catnip in a short period, they may experience an upset stomach. We want to emphasize that cats only need a little bit of catnip to experience pleasure (they don’t build long-term tolerance to it – only the 10-15 minute nose blindness). Therefore, you should only give a pinch of it to your cat (this will also make your supply last longer, saving you money!).
It’s important to keep in mind that the catnip plant is a natural thing. Catnip plants (also called catmint or catwort) are members of the mint family, and you might even have some growing in your yard. You can actually try catnip for yourself. Ancient Europeans drank catnip tea hundreds of years before the Roman Empire was founded! In all those centuries, neither cats nor cat owners have identified any severe side effects from this herb.
Furthermore, most catnip products only contain the herb itself, or its essential oil (nepetalactone), keeping things clean for your kitty. We encourage you to choose organic catnip products to ensure synthetic pesticides won’t contaminate them.
How Much Catnip Is Too Much?
Neither veterinarians nor cat owners have been able to determine exactly what amount is too much catnip. It appears to differ from one feline to the next. It is always wisest to use a small pinch of catnip because, again, a little goes a long way. You don’t need to sprinkle any more than a quarter-sized patch of it.
There is no such thing as “too much” for catnip toys because your cat does not ingest these products. Speaking of catnip products, it’s time to talk about different catnip delivery systems. These will affect how your cat interacts with catnip, but every method is safe and reliable.
How To Give Cats Catnip – Catnip Products for Cats
There are so many different catnip products on the market that shopping for the right item can sometimes feel a little overwhelming. There is no such thing as “right” or “wrong” when it comes to catnip products. It just depends on what your cat responds best to. It’s a good idea to offer them catnip in a few different forms, giving them a variety of options so that you can determine what they like most.
With that in mind, let’s dive into some of the different kinds of catnip products that are widely available. One great thing about catnip products is that you can find them in any pet supply store in person or online because of their popularity. Some items are more common than others, but you should have no trouble finding any of these popular catnip products:
You can buy dried crumbled catnip leaves to give your cat. Sprinkle a small amount of loose catnip (no larger than a quarter) in front of them and watch them play. Your cat might roll around in the catnip, or they may eat it.
When cats eat catnip, it affects them differently than when they smell catnip. When catnip affects their scent receptors, it acts like a cat stimulant. On the other hand, it has a deeply relaxing effect when they eat it. It’s not uncommon for cats to take a long nap starting 5-15 minutes after eating catnip. This is normal behavior, and you shouldn’t mistake a deep nap for an overdose.
Catnip-infused toys are the most popular of all catnip products. They come in many forms, from simple balls to toy mice. These are just like regular cat toys, but they are filled with catnip rather than a standard plush wadding like polyfill.
When you give your cat catnip toys, you can expect them to respond immediately. Usually, this involves the cat rolling around with the toy, cuddling it, rubbing it around their face, and even licking it. After nose blindness kicks in, the cat may lose interest in the toy for a few hours or continue playing with it because, catnip or not, they love their toys. It’s safe to leave catnip toys out at all times, and you don’t need to restrict your cat’s access to them to prevent “overexposure” (which isn’t an issue with smelling catnip).
You can also find catnip in spray form, which is a liquid solution combining nepetalactone extract and water. Catnip spray is an easy way to attract your cat to certain objects. For example, nobody wants their pet to claw the couch and carpets, so most cat owners buy a scratching post. However, cats don’t always recognize the importance of a scratching post right away. Giving it a spritz of catnip spray will attract your cat to the post and prompt them to utilize it.
CBD Catnip Spray
Some catnip sprays contain cannabidiol (CBD), a natural compound of hemp plants widely known for its wellness benefits. With CBD-infused spray, your cat can experience relaxation, relief from discomfort, natural sleep, and more, on top of the regular benefit of catnip.
There are many other CBD products available for cats at the HolistaPet shop. Be sure to check out our full selection. Remember that a good number of cats do not react to catnip. If your feline friend is not a fan of it, they can still enjoy benefits from other CBD products.
Catnip bubbles work like any typical bubbles you’d blow (think back to childhood summers). However, they are infused with nepetalactone extract, so when they pop, they release a burst of catnip pleasure for your pet. This is a great product because it lets you get in on the fun with your cat and take a hands-on role in their playtime!
Final Thoughts – How Much Catnip To Give a Cat
So, now we know that you shouldn’t fret about how much catnip to give a cat. It is a safe and natural compound that both felines and humans have enjoyed for centuries. The worst side effects that could come from catnip are fatigue and a mild upset stomach. However, these only occur if your cat eats a large amount of the herb itself.
Most catnip products don’t require you to measure them, and your cat will naturally control their catnip intake because their body only reacts to it in short bursts. Bottom line: catnip is for fun, and nothing needs to get in the way of your cat’s enjoyment. Check out our store today to further support your pet’s overall wellness.