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How Much Catnip Can I Give My Cat? Vet-Reviewed Facts & FAQ

Written by: Patricia Dickson

Last Updated on February 22, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

Gray Cat Enjoying Fresh Catnip_Anna Hoychuk_shutterstock

How Much Catnip Can I Give My Cat? Vet-Reviewed Facts & FAQ


Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo


Dr. Paola Cuevas

MVZ (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

While most pet owners have given their feline pal catnip before, it’s hard to know how much you should give your cat or even what a safe amount is. Cats cannot overdose on catnip. However,  even if there is no specific amount of catnip to give to your cat, you should only feed it to your cat in moderate amounts.

As with anything else you give your cat, catnip can have side effects. It can lead to upset stomach, diarrhea, and vomiting if ingested in large amounts. It is thought that feeding your cat catnip in moderation won’t harm them, but you want to avoid feeding it to them excessively.

divider-catclaw1 What Is the Correct Amount of Catnip to Give to Your Cat?

There is no specific amount of catnip that you should give a cat. Every cat is different. That said, if a cat is given catnip in large quantities, it can cause side effects. You can consult your vet if you’re unsure how much catnip to give your cat. They should be able to tell you how much to use based on your cat’s weight, size, and health issues.

cat playing with catnip toy
Image By: Ellie Burnett, Shutterstock

Can a Cat Overdose on Catnip?

While cats can’t overdose on catnip, too much of it can cause difficulty walking, vomiting, diarrhea, and dizziness. In general, fresh catnip is much more potent than dry catnip, so you won’t need to give your cat as much as you usually do. It’s also recommended to avoid catnip oils that are highly concentrated because of their high potency.

What Types of Catnip Are There?

You can get catnip in a few different forms. Some, of course, are better than others.

Ideas on how to give catnip to your cat include:

If you don’t want to deprive your cat of catnip, but they get an upset stomach every time you give them some, the catnip spray might be a good choice. You can spray it onto the cat’s toys, scratching post, or tower, so the cat isn’t ingesting it but still enjoys the effects.

Cat scratching post sisal rope
Image By: Svetlana Rey, Shutterstock

Does Catnip Work for All Felines?

Studies have suggested that about 60% of cats have a behavioral reaction to catnip, so it doesn’t work for all felines. If you give the catnip to your cat and it doesn’t seem to work for them, don’t worry; they just aren’t susceptible to its effects like some other cats are.

The effects you can expect from most cats when given catnip include:
  • Mild sedation
  • Napping
  • Jumping
  • Playing with toys
  • Running through the house

This shows that catnip affects cats in different ways. Some cats will become relaxed and affectionate, piling up on you to take a nap. Other cats will become hyper, running through the house and wanting to play with all the toys in sight. Rarely, some cats might display aggressive behavior. It’s thought that how a cat reacts to catnip is passed down through genetics, but that hasn’t been proven.

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How Long Does Catnip Stay in a Feline’s System?

Depending on the cat, the effects of the catnip usually last for about 10 to 15 minutes. The catnip will lose its potency over time, so keep it in an airtight container when not in use.

cat eating catnip
Image By : Piqsels

Is Catnip Safe for Cats?

In moderation, catnip is safe for cats and may even help their digestive system. However, this doesn’t mean you should give your cat large quantities of the substance, as it could lead to digestive upset.

divider-catclaw1 Wrap-Up

If you’re considering giving your cat a bit of catnip, there’s no specific amount you should give them. Instead, use your judgment, but make sure not to give the cat massive amounts of the plant all at once. While cats can’t overdose on catnip, large amounts can cause them digestive issues.

Remember, not every cat reacts to catnip, and not every cat reacts similarly. Your cat may be different, and you’ll have to wait and see. Like everything else you give your cat, it’s best to provide them with catnip in moderation for the best results.

Featured Image Credit: Anna Hoychuk, Shutterstock

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