Can Nursing Cats Have Catnip?

Catnip can make your cat get playful and crazy. Although catnip has no detrimental effects, you might wonder if it's okay to give to nursing cats. After all, as a pet parent, your top concern is making sure that your cat remains happy and healthy. We did the research to bring you the answer.

Yes, nursing cats can have some catnip. But you have to be careful not to give them too much. You need to consider the present condition of the nursing mother cat. You should check if there are signs of allergic reactions or unusual behavior after giving her catnip. If you are unsure, you can always ask for advice from your vet before giving catnip.

Even though catnip can help your nursing cat get active, it would be best to give it to her only in moderation. Aside from catnip, you also need to provide the proper nutrition to your nursing cat. In this guide, we'll talk more about catnip and nursing cats as well as kittens. Without further ado, let's get into it.

Mother cat is breast feeding her kittens on the grass. Can Nursing Cats Have Catnip

Is Catnip Safe For Nursing Cats?

Catnip is safe for nursing cats. Most cats like to eat or sniff the plant as an herb, or you can infuse it in cat toys. No matter what form of catnip you give to your cat, just be sure to give it in small doses.

Remember that your nursing cat must have the energy to take care of her kittens and recover from post-pregnancy conditions.

It would also be beneficial for your nursing cat to eat some catnip to help repel fleas. You can potentially help the mother cat and her kittens avoid flea anemia.

If you are still hesitant, be sure to speak with your veterinarian about giving your nursing cat catnip.

Ginger cat breastfeeding her little kittens. Motherhood, parenting, care. Orange cat nursing kittens at plaid blanket and blue rustic wood background

What To Feed A Mother Cat After She Gives Birth?

The first few weeks after your cat gives birth are crucial to both mother and kittens. The mother cat should regain her energy with the extra nutrients she needs.

You have to feed your nursing cat the right types of food. You can let her take high-quality kitten formula food that should continue until the kittens have been weaned.

If you have cats who are picky eaters, you can feed them canned tuna, chicken, or salmon. Everything in the nutrient-intense diet of the mother cat help her to produce milk for her kittens.

Some nutrients to look for in cat food for your mother cat include:

  • Vitamins and nutrients for vital organ functions
  • Antioxidants to strengthen the immune system
  • Prebiotics for good digestion
  • DHA to help in brain development
  • Protein to get support for bones and muscles

You may also check out some cat food recommendations for your nursing cat.

How Often To Feed A Nursing Cat?

Aside from deciding what type of food to give your nursing cat, it will also help to plan how often to give her food. A nursing cat must get more nutrients to recover and produce milk for the kittens. The mother cat's appetite increases from 1/2 to double her usual intake.

It is best to let your nursing cats free-choice feed themselves. By doing so, your mother cat can eat as much food she wants. You can also feed the cat every 3 to 4 hours with normal servings of food. Place food and water that your cat can have unlimited and easy access to it at all times.

After a month, when the kittens wean, the mother cat will come back to her normal eating habits.

How Many Weeks Do Cats Nurse?

The period for nursing the kittens will take at least 3 1/2 to 4 weeks. During the nursing period, the kittens depend on their mother for the nutrition they need. Your kittens will nurse every 1 to 3 hours for the first three weeks after birth.

After your kittens reach 1 month old, they will start weaning.

As much as you can, help your kittens and the mother cat as they go together through the early development stages of life. Your involvement will also help form strong bonds with your cats when they grow older.

Is Catnip Safe For Kittens?

shot of an adorable tabby kitten sitting on a soft blanket in a basket

It is generally safe for kittens to eat catnip. Just be careful not to give them too much dried or fresh catnip. The side effects of catnip overdose include vomiting or diarrhea.

Aside from the health issues, your kittens can also get hurt if they run around the house. Furniture and other objects can create hazards for kittens.

If you want to introduce catnip to your kittens, you can give it as a fun reward. To be safe, give catnip in moderate servings. Cats lose interest in catnip if you give it to them very often. If you give too much, your cats can self-regulate themselves and ignore catnip.

While your cats are still young, you can use catnip-infused toys instead of the fresh or dried forms. But with time, your kitten may ignore the toy. Read through a related post about catnip-infused toys here: How Long Should You Let Your Cat Play With Catnip?

At What Age Can Kittens Have Catnip?

You can give catnip to cats of all ages. Most kittens will respond to catnip when they are at least 6 months to one year old. Some cats might respond earlier if introduced to catnip at an earlier age. Some slowly get sensitive to it as they grow older.

The reason why kittens can have catnip depends on the development of their sense of smell. If your kittens are 3 months old and below, it is highly likely that they will not react to catnip. But you can try giving your kittens small amounts of catnip to check how they respond to it.

How Does Catnip Affect Kittens?

Catnip makes your kittens act crazy and energetic by triggering the feline "happy" receptors. Although catnip can uplift your kitten's mood, some might also feel sleepy and sluggish after ingesting some.

Your kittens may feel the effects of catnip for around 10 minutes to an hour. But the euphoric feeling may stay for a couple of hours more. Once the effects of eating or sniffing catnip fade, your kitten might respond again to another dose.

The common effects of catnip on kittens include:

  • Rolling or flipping
  • Rubbing on surfaces
  • Zoning out
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Hyperactivity
  • Meowing and growling at the same time

Some kittens don't respond to catnip. According to the Humane Society of the United States, about 50 percent of kittens may have inherited genes that make them snub catnip. Hence, the effects will vary for different kittens.

Pet animal; cute cat, baby cat with adult cat. Can Nursing Cats Have Catnip

In Closing

Catnip is safe for your nursing cats and their kittens. You can give catnip to mother cats to help repel fleas and keep them active.

Even though catnip is beneficial to mother cats, it is still important to prioritize proper nutrition. Your nursing cat must be able to recover so she can take care of her kittens.

Kittens nurse until they reach 1 month. Also, most kittens may not respond fully to catnip until they are at least 6 months old. Although it's safe, only give small doses of catnip to the mother and her kittens.

Read these related articles about catnip:

How Often Should You Give Your Cat Catnip?

Can I Put Catnip In My Cat's Food?

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