How Often Should You Replace Catnip In A Toy? The Expert’s Answer

Got a cat that's head over tail for catnip-filled playthings? You're not alone. Many cats are suckers for these intoxicating toys. But here's a question you may be pondering: How often should you replace catnip in a toy?

Well, we've tapped the brains of pet industry specialists for some insight. We'll explain the science behind catnip's magical hold on your pet, the art of replenishing catnip in toys, and whether it's wise to leave such toys within your cat's reach.

A cute ragdoll kitten playing with his catnip toy on a white background

When To Recharge Your Cat's Favorite Toy?

Catnip toys tend to last about a week before needing refreshing or replacement because your pet can get accustomed to the plant’s active chemicals over time.

But the optimal effects of catnip will only last about 10 minutes for each use. It's best to separate your cat from the catnip toy before the end of that period to maximize its benefits.

Next, we’ll tackle more details about the frequency of replacing catnip in your pet’s toy. We’ll also share valuable and relevant information, such as how to put different types of catnip in toys and if it’s a good idea to leave catnip toys out.

How Long Does Catnip Stay Fresh In A Toy?

Although catnip toys don’t expire, your cat can become immune to the plant’s effects over time. It takes about 10 continuous days for your household feline to enjoy the effects of their catnip toy before they become bored with it.

So it's confirmed. You should refresh the catnip in your pet’s toy at least once a week to maximize the plant’s offered benefits.

The Humane Society notes that the most intense experience from nepetalactone, the active chemical in catnip, happens from the first whiff.

A Maine coon cat yawning while playing with his small catnip mouse toy

At this point, an active kitty might become temporarily beady-eyed but lethargic. Another occurrence that may happen is that a relatively lazy cat might become a ball of energy.

But after a few minutes, your pet should return to his usual demeanor. Over time, your cat’s catnip gene will become used to nepetalactone, making it seem like your pet is no longer interested in playing with their toy.

You should desensitize your cat from the catnip for a few days before reintroducing fresh catnip to them.

It’s best not to let your pet play with catnip toys every day to extend the optimal effects of the plant.

Check out this Petstages catnip toy on Amazon.

How Do You Put Catnip In Toys?

Many toys for cats allow pet parents to place catnip in or on the plaything for their kitties to enjoy. But the application method can depend on the type of catnip product.

Here are the methods you need to follow to apply catnip to your cat’s toy:

Fresh Catnip

Some cat toys have zippers that you can open and close easily for convenient catnip refilling. These playthings will either have the plant already in the products or the catnip will come in separate containers.

Check the Petlinks catnip toy on Amazon.

Dried Catnip

The main difference between fresh and dried catnip is that the former tends to be more potent than the latter. However, if you find it difficult to find fresh catnip in your area, dried variants can still be suitable options.

Thankfully, the application of fresh and dried catnip to cat toys is roughly the same.

Check out this SmartyKat Catnip Kiss Cat Toy on Amazon.

Catnip Spray

Many cat parents prefer using catnip sprays to fresh or dried variants. This is because these products tend to be more versatile than others.

Applying catnip spray to cat toys is as easy as placing a few spritzes on relatively any surface that you would like your kitty to find attractive. Therefore, you can turn relatively any of your cat’s playthings into catnip toys with this spray.

Aside from putting catnip spray on a cat toy, you can even apply it on other objects, such as a cat bed, making it an economical purchase. If you want to learn more about applying catnip on your pet’s bed, check out our post on Should You Put Catnip In A Cat Bed?

View the Pet Craft natural catnip spray on Amazon.

Catnip Oil

You can turn catnip oil into a spray by placing the liquid into a spray-on bottle. Otherwise, you can place a small amount on your fingers and dab the residue on your cat’s toy.

Like the catnip spray, the oil model is quite versatile, allowing you to place it on relatively any surface you wish.

However, make sure to wash your hands after applying catnip oil to your bare skin. Otherwise, your cat might find your fingers to be their next chew toy.

Take a look at the Petstages dental catnip toy on Amazon.

How Do You Refresh Catnip Toys?

It can be quite easy to refresh a catnip toy if your feline's plaything has a zipper or an easy-to-open container.

But if you don't have access to that type of catnip toy, you can still refresh it with catnip using the following steps:

  1. Acquire fresh or dried catnip. Put the plant’s bits into a large glass jar. Make sure that the container has a tight seal so your pet can’t claw or bite their way into the plant.
  2. Put your cat's toys into the jar. Shake the container so that the active chemical in the catnip can latch onto the playthings.
  3. Leave the jar upside down for about 24 hours while the toys are still inside.

Take one of the toys out of the jar if you want your cat to play with the newly refreshed catnip toy.

Return the toy to the container after playtime so that it doesn't lose its efficacy quickly.

Take a look at this Yeowww Catnip Tub on Amazon.

How Long Should Cats Play With Catnip Toys?

Cats shouldn’t play with catnip toys for more than 15 minutes. Furthermore, you should take the toy away from your pet’s claws and teeth after about 10 minutes of play. Otherwise, your indoor kitty will lose interest in the plaything fast.

For more information about this particular topic, check out our post on How Long Should You Let Your Cat Play With Catnip?

Should I Leave Catnip Toys Out?

Don't leave your catnip toys out for your pet. Otherwise, your cat can take advantage of the situation, leading to extended periods of play.

Failure to take away the catnip-filled plaything after a few minutes of playtime will make your cat bored. If so, don't let your pet play or sniff any catnip product for a few days to help their senses recover.

A cute little cat licking his nose and playing with his catnip mouse toy

Is Catnip Safe For Kittens As Well As Adult Cats?

Catnip is generally safe for most felines regardless of age. But kittens may not react to the plant’s active chemical until they reach 6 months of age.

Plus, cats don’t usually know when to stop sniffing or chewing on catnip.

However, some felines might exceed the recommended amount of catnip consumed, leading to some mild adverse effects like nausea and vomiting.

Final Words

Replace the catnip in your cat’s toy after about a week with 10 days being the maximum period to refresh the plaything.

Although the plant doesn’t expire, your pet can become desensitized to the active chemical produced by the plant.

If you don’t supervise and limit your cat’s playtime with the catnip toy, it’ll lose its efficacy quickly.

A cute domestic cat playing with his small little toy mouse on the floor, How Often Should You Replace Catnip In A Toy?

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