Can cats overdose on catnip?

Some cats can’t get enough of catnip, but some just don’t seem to react to it at all, but is it completely safe for cats to enjoy?

What is catnip?

Catnip comes from the leaves of a plant, Nepeta Cataria, which proves irresistible to some cats when dried. It often acts as a stimulant, creating a temporary euphoria causing cats to purr and roll around happily.

Catnip doesn’t affect all cats. Some don’t seem to be bothered about it at all, it depends on their genetics. Very young cats aren’t affected by catnip either, so your brand new kitten may not react to a catnip toy.

Is catnip safe for cats?

Catnip is perfectly safe for cats and not addictive. The effects of the plant can vary depending on the cat, making them more excitable, or just more mellow and sleepy, but it doesn’t usually last any longer than 15-20 minutes

If you’re giving catnip to your cats, make sure you store it away from the reach of children or other members of your household. While it’s not a toxic substance, it can cause headaches and stomach upsets if eaten by humans.

Grow your own catnip

Sow the seeds outdoors in the early spring, in lots of sun. Seeds take one to two weeks to germinate. Catnip can also be grown from cuttings placed directly in the soil. After a plant has flowered, cut off four to eight inches. (The plant will grow back and might return the next season if the winter isn't too severe.)

To dry catnip, strip off all the leaves and discard the stems. Spread the leaves two inches deep on trays. Set them in an area with good air circulation. "Stir" the leaves twice a day for two to three weeks. When leaves become brittle, crumble and make flakes, store them in an airtight container. To let your cat enjoy it, sprinkle it on the floor—perhaps at the base of their scratching post—or tie some up in an old sock for a quick toy.

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