Can Cats Overdose on Catnip – Interesting Facts

can a cat overdose on catnip

Well, catnip is usually not harmful but an overdose of it can make your cat sick or bring certain changes.

Recently I once came across a question- Can cats overdose on Catnip?

The answer is yes, but before discussing more on the topic you must know what Catnip is and how it affects your pet?

This article is based on how catnip herb affects a cat and how should you use catnip for your pet.

Most people fear that catnip exposure can be harmful to your cat so they prefer avoiding catnip products. But it’s not true.

Here’s a complete guide on catnip.

What Catnip is and how it affects your pet?

The Catnip plant is basically a herb which is native to Africa, Europe and Asia and then it came to America and Canada as well.

The herb belongs from the mint family Labiatae. The plant contains an ingredient known as nepetalactone which is responsible for bringing such weird changes in a cat.

Its chemical compound starts extensive reaction if a cat has an overdose of catnip. The essential oil sticks to the stems and leaves of the plant the scent of which cats do pick up very fast and strongly. A little amount of smell of this oil can bring changes in your cat.

Reactions of too much of catnip in a cat

The main changes that are noticed if a cat inhales catnip are in his behavioral pattern. If you notice minutely, whenever your cat is near to catnip, his total behavior will start changing.

A variety of weird reaction may include the cat starts rubbing himself along the catnip, jump and run around crazily, lick the catnip, and sometimes even sniffing heavily after inhaling the smell for too long.

If a cat eats dried catnip, he may become highly aggressive and make crazy sounds. Note that a cat actually likes the smell of catnip plant that is the reason he can have catnip overdose. The more he inhales the fragrance of the leaves, the more he is extracting nepetalactone from the leaves of the plant.

Apart from this hyperactive behavior cats can even end up lying sedated on back. These reactions are not equal for every cat out there.

can cats have too much catnip?

Various behavioral changes were seen when cats react to catnip

You can see a variety of weird behavioral changes in your cat. It may include:

– Jumping and rolling down on the floor.

– Sneezing repeated times after getting close to the plant.

– End up feeding and even hunting.

– Some cats get into hyperactivity mode and become quite playful and cheerful. Playfulness may end up in chasing.

– Some cats tend to become too aggressive and can even harm someone nearby.

👉 Generally, the buzz of catnip stays for a good 5 to 10 minutes but doesn’t long more than that. After this period the cat cannot get further high on catnip at least for an hour.

Do all cats react to catnip?

Catnip is not reactive on kittens that are below eight weeks and on the other hand, there is no catnip effect on most aged cats.

Recently someone asked me that even his cat is in between this age group, his cat does not react to catnip. This can happen because there are cats which do not have any catnip gene. So you can say it’s kind of hereditary also. Hence not all cats react to catnip.

How much catnip can affect a cat?

Can cats eat catnip?

The fresh catnip leaves are edible. The flavor is the same as a mint. But most cats after eating it once do not prefer eating catnip again.

So rather than directly eating the leaves, the fragrance of catnip are more attractive for a cat. Well, there are exceptions though! As the catnip fragrance enters the body, it triggers the happy receptors of the brain.

👉 Catnip plants are not toxic but consuming the plant in large amount can have a poisonous reaction in the body.

A cat that has consumed a lot of leaves will definitely fall sick leading to diarrhea and vomiting. But it’s nothing different. If your cat eats too much of anything, he will probably have the same kind of effects going on in the body.

How much catnip can affect a cat?

Though there is no specific amount of catnip that can overdose a cat, but the more amounts the cat inhales the more intense will be the reaction.

Actually, some cats even don’t like the flavor of catnip so once inhaled and the buzz goes off, they are no more interested to smell or eat again.

Is catnip harmful to your cat?

Well, the answer is NO. Catnip just affects the happy receptors and brings temporary changes in your cat’s behavior.

Now coming back to the question- Can a cat overdose on catnip?

If inhaled little quantity then catnip does no harm to your cat.

👉 By overdosing it means if the cat overeats fresh catnip then he might fall sick and will result in diarrhea and vomiting. But this is technically not possible because the cat can sense when they have enough of catnip.

Further, some cats don’t even like the smell after having it for more than once.

But even if your cat gets sick, be sure this sickness is temporary and he will get over it soon.

Can I give Catnip to my cat?

Can I give Catnip to my cat?

Yes, of course, you can! If you want to lift up his spirit you can give him a moderate amount of catnip.

There are a lot of pet shops selling catnip infused toys.

Let’s see what catnip products you can get in a pet shop:

1. Fresh catnip plants that are grown for indoor.

2. Toys infused with sprinkles of catnip in it.

3. Dried up catnip powder for floors and toys.

4. Catnip spray cans that can be sprayed on toys and in rooms.

Note that in all these products, the catnip quantity is very less, so you’re cat won’t fall sick. It will cheer up his mood and make him playful.

If you are using dried catnip then just sprinkle a little of it on the floor and you will see your cat’s mood changing.


Maria is the Founder and Senior Editor at She is a lifelong feline enthusiast, self-educated pet care nerd and adores cats of all shapes! Currently parent of 2 adopted cats. She loves iced coffee, playing guitar and cat-cuddling! .

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