How Often Should You Give Your Cat Catnip?

Cats enjoy sniffing or eating catnip. It's apparent that cats get a sense of euphoria when they so much as smell catnip. But how often should you give your cat catnip? We did the research to bring you the answer.

Even though cats feel happy and playful with catnip, you should not give your cat catnip more than once a day or more than three times in a given week. The effect of catnip will last around 10 minutes, but the elated feeling can last for several hours. Also, take note that not all cats will have the same reaction to catnip.

Although catnip has numerous benefits, you should only give it in moderation. Anything too much is also dangerous. You have to observe how your cat tolerates catnip, and from there, you can gauge how much you can give. If you want to learn more about catnip, keep reading below.

beautiful cat is sitting in the garden and eating fresh catmint. How Often Should You Give Your Cat Catnip

How Much Catnip Do You Give A Cat?

You might observe that your cat's behavior improves after giving them some catnip. So it can certainly be tempting to give them even more.

You should give your cat approximately 1 tablespoon or 0.5 ounces of catnip. One serving of catnip is already more than adequate.

Take note that the law of diminishing returns applies. If you give catnip at frequent intervals, the effects of catnip slowly reduce as your cat gets used to it. Your cat might ignore the catnip altogether after some time.

Although there are no specific amounts to follow, you should give catnip in moderation. So when you want to introduce catnip to your cat, start with smaller quantities and see how your cat reacts.

In the case of kittens, most of them will have little to no reaction to catnip. Cats usually respond to catnip when they are 6 months to a year old. Aside from the cat's age, genetics has a significant influence on their response to catnip.

To be safe, you shouldn't give your cat catnip more than once in a given day. It is best to give catnip at least 1 to 3 times a week.

Can You Give Your Cat Too Much Catnip?

Siamese tabby cat flipped over a container with catnip and and sprinkled it all over

When giving catnip to your cats, the rule applies that there can certainly be too much of a good thing. The chemical in catnip is naturally non-toxic but can be dangerous to your cat's health, especially if given in large amounts. Fresh catnip given in larger doses can bring more harm than dried catnip.

If you give too much catnip to your cats, their instincts can control when to stop eating or sniffing it. Even though they can self-regulate their addiction to catnip, there are a few that become overdosed. The side effects of too much catnip can range from mild to severe.

The effects of catnip poisoning will last for a few hours. As long as you stop your cat's exposure to catnip, your cat will recover. Veterinarians suggest that you have to let your cat drink plenty of water to eliminate the chemical. If the symptoms persist, bring your cat to the vet.

If you want to avoid future catnip poisoning, it would be best to limit or stop giving catnip to your cat. You should only give enough the amount of catnip to keep your cats safe. You can ask your veterinarian about the right amount of catnip to give to your cat.

Benefits Of Catnip For Cats

Catnip is great for your cats. Cats become playful, relaxed, and happy after having some catnip. The effects of catnip will depend on whether it's consumed or sniffed. Eating catnip gives a calming effect while sniffing stimulates the cat. But the benefits of catnip do not stop there.

Here are some positive effects catnip can have on your cat:

  • Reduces anxiety and stress when in unfamiliar situations (like trips to the vet or outdoors)
  • Helps your cat in becoming physically and mentally fit
  • Provides quality sleep
  • Keeps your cat entertained and engaged with their surroundings
  • Soothes irritated skin brought on by allergies or other skin conditions
  • Makes bath time more pleasant
  • Uses as a repellant against pests and insects
  • Suppresses some behavioral problems like aggression or irritability
  • Heals wounds for injured cats with homemade catnip paste

Just be careful when giving catnip to your cats. Read further about some of the side effects of catnip.

Side Effects Of Too Much Catnip

Aside from the benefits, there are some things to consider. You must be careful when giving catnip to your cats. If your cat consumes too much catnip, it affects the digestive and nervous systems. As a result, your cat might experience the following side effects:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Aggression
  • Sluggishness
  • Trouble walking

To avoid the negative consequences of catnip, you also have to be mindful of how you use catnip.

Precautions When Using Catnip

Be cautious when you let your cats play with catnip-infused toys. Cats might eat some strings or small parts that cause digestive irritation.

You also have to avoid letting your cats drink catnip tinctures, solutions, and sprays. Liquid catnip is not suitable for ingestion. Find out if you can add some catnip to your cat's food in this post: Can I Put Catnip In My Cat's Food?

How Long Does Catnip Last On Cats?

A cat experiencing the effects of catnip

The effects of catnip last from 10 minutes to an hour. The effects also vary due to the conditions of the cat. Catnip "high" can be short, but the feeling of euphoria can last for several hours more. When the effects of catnip are gone, your cat will default to their normal behavior.

Read more: How Long Should You Let Your Cat Play With Catnip?

Do Cats Prefer Fresh Or Dry Catnip?

Cats can eat both fresh and dried catnip. There is nothing wrong if your cats eat or smell a preferred form of catnip. Yet, most cats prefer dried catnip instead of fresh. Your cat's response also depends on the form of catnip.

In terms of efficacy, fresh catnip is stronger than dry catnip. You don't have to give too much fresh catnip because of the high concentration of nepetalactone. For store-bought dry catnip, its efficacy diminishes over time. You may observe that your cat loses interest if dry catnip becomes stale.

When it comes to versatility, you can use dried catnip for a wide range of catnip-infused toys to scratching posts.

As long as you use the catnip before the expiration date, your cat will enjoy playing with it. If you notice that your cat does not enjoy playing with the toy, maybe it is time to replace the catnip.

Read about catnip toys in this post: How Often Should You Replace Catnip In A Toy?

If you plan to stock up on catnip for future use, keep reading to learn how to preserve them.

How To Preserve Catnip

A stash of catnip is good, especially if you have lots of cats in your house. You also don't have to worry if your catnip loses its potency after some time. You can preserve catnip by following these tips:

  • Keep fresh or dry catnip in a sealed container. Place the container in a dry and dark place in your kitchen cabinet or pantry. As much as possible, prevent direct sunlight exposure and keep away from your cats.
  • You can also freeze dry catnip by placing it inside ziplock bags or an air-tight container.
  • Avoid buying catnip in bulk. You will waste on stale catnip that your cat won't like.

In Closing

Catnip is a great way to stimulate your cat, but there be careful not to give them too much of it. Start out by giving your cat small amounts of catnip to see how they react. And remember—you can give them catnip only once a day but no more than three times per week.

Does your cat like catnip? Let us know in the comments!

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