How to Give Catnip to Your Cat
How to Give Catnip to Your Cat
Catnip is a mint-like herb that contains the chemical nepetalactone, which elicits a "high" in cats. Buy good quality catnip in plant, dried, flake, pellet, or spray form, or grow your own. Buy refillable toys to put fresh catnip in, or make simple toys for your cat to enjoy. Monitor your cat's behaviour and be mindful of how much catnip you give it. If necessary, use catnip to assist in training.
Buying and Storing Catnip
Purchase organic catnip.When shopping for catnip, opt for brands that are organically grown. In addition to being pesticide and chemical-free, organic catnip is generally fresher and more effective than lesser quality catnip. Organically grown catnip is sold in fresh, dried, flake, pellet, oil, and spray forms.
Buy loose catnip.Catnip is more or less potent in different forms, depending on the level of nepetalactone present. When you buy loose catnip, look for kinds that have fewer stems than leaves and blossoms. The latter contain more of the chemical and have a stronger effect.
- Dried catnip can be safely chewed or ingested by cats, and may be inserted into toys, or simply sprinkled around your cat's play area in a small amount (e.g. approximately one tbsp, or 0.5 oz).
- If you buy loose catnip, be sure to store it in a sealed container. Put the container in a high cupboard away from your cats.
Purchase a catnip spray.For a lighter concentration of catnip, purchase a spray, which will have lower levels of nepetalactone (a cat attracting chemical compound). Catnip spray can be used to steer your cat towards certain toys or furniture in an effort to keep it away from others (e.g. spraying your cat's bed to keep it away from the couch). Look for a spray that contains all-natural ingredients, and no chemicals or preservatives.
Grow fresh catnip.Buy a catnip plant to have a constant, fresh supply of the herb, or grow catnip indoors. If you have a garden, grow catnip plants outdoors. Make sure plants get plenty of sunlight and moisture. Cut off leaves as needed to give to your cat to chew, paw at, rub against, or eat.
Freeze catnip.To preserve the effectiveness of catnip, store it in the freezer. Freezing will prevent the herb's essential oil from drying up, which would reduce the effectiveness of the herb. Place catnip in a freezer bag or plastic container and seal it firmly before freezing it. Remove catnip from the freezer and thaw when needed.
Giving Your Cat Catnip Toys
Buy refillable toys.Instead of buying toys that are already filled or scented with catnip, purchase refillable toys at a pet store or online. Pre-filled toys may contain low-quality catnip that will lose its effectiveness quickly. You can fill refillable toys with good quality, organic catnip and continually replace it to make sure that the herb is always potent enough to have an effect on your cat.
Make a simple sock toy.Make a simple catnip toy using a clean, stray sock. Add a pinch or two of catnip to the sock and seal it tightly with a knot. Replace catnip every week or so to ensure that it is potent.
- Alternatively, sew the top shut with a needle and thread.
Roll up a simple paper ball.Cats often amuse themselves by playing with everyday household items, so stick to the basics when giving catnip toys to your cat. Put a pinch of catnip (in fresh, dried, pellet, or flake form) into a small paper bag. Crush it into a tight ball for your cat to play with.
- Crush the bag into a tight enough ball that it can't be opened up by your cat.
Monitoring Your Cat's Behaviour
Observe your cat's reaction.Your cat's reaction to catnip should happen very quickly after it smells it (one or two sniffs of catnip is sometimes enough to evoke a "high" in your pet). Note that sensitivity to catnip is hereditary, and approximately 1 in 2 cats won't react to the herb at all.If your cat does react, you will observe it:
- Licking and chewing the catnip
- Rubbing its chin and cheek
- Rubbing its body against things (e.g. the carpet)
Ration catnip for your cat.If you offer a cat catnip too often, the effects can wear off completely. Opt to offer catnip to your pet only once a week to maintain the "high" it experiences from the herb, which generally lasts for about 5-15 minutes. It may take up to two hours for your cat's behavior to completely return to normal, during which your cat will not be susceptible to the effects of catnip.
- In some cases, rationing will not matter. About 30% of all cats do not react to catnip, and kittens do not usually react to catnip until after they are 12 weeks old.
Use catnip for training.If your cat has the bad habit of scratching furniture and other important household items, use catnip to train it out of this behavior. Purchase a catnip spray (from your local pet store, or online) and spray a scratching post for your cat. When your cat feels the overwhelming need to scratch, it will opt for the alluring surface of the scratching post instead of the couch or kitchen table.
QuestionWe have a cat that loves to eat the organic catnip we grow for her, but she recently threw up after eating it. Has anyone else had this issue?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, my cat has stomach problems and she throws up the catnip. Instead, I make my own catnip bags. The cats go crazy over them. Take two pieces of soft fabric, sew them along the edges inside-out, fold it the right way, place in as much catnip as you want, and sew the top together. Of course, you could also buy these premade in the store, but what's the fun in that?Thanks!
Video: GIVING MY CAT CATNIP FOR THE FIRST TIME
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