Are Catnip Toys Safe for Cats?

By John Martin - April 3, 2022

Cat playing with pink catnip toy

Let us guess – you too are thinking about trying out the catnip with your cat, aren’t you? We don’t blame you. After all, catnip is and always will be one of the most effective de-stressor you can get for your kitty.

Probably this is why the popularity of catnip toys is also growing so faster. But are catnip toys safe for cats? Well, let’s find that out.

The Good Sides

Before giving your cat any toy, you’d probably think of its good sides first. We bet you’d do the same when it comes to catnip toys as well. So, let’s check out what catnip toys got on the ‘advantage’ part.

Makes the Cat Relaxed and Calm

One of the substances existing in catnips is called Nepetalactone. It works like a good, mild sedative and helps the cat be a bit more relaxed.

Besides, it makes the cat feel relaxed and lowers the anxiety. Plus, it doesn’t contain any toxic properties, making it safe for the pet.

Brings No Change to the Cat’s Behavior

Lots of cat owners probably think that using catnip toys can bring changes to the cat’s behavior. Well, that’s not true if you’re keeping the consumed amount limited as per the instruction of your veterinary doctors.

Helpful in Training

Like the treats, catnip toys can also be useful in training the cat. After all, their responses to them are always repetitive as they find it irresistible.

On top of that, catnip toys have been proven effective in making the cat more active. This is why some cat owners prefer using catnip spray on their belongings along with the toys.

Besides, catnip toys keep the cats from scratching walls, furniture, or anything. After all, the toys themselves become their scratching posts.

Harmless to Kittens

If you’re seeing your kitten avoiding the catnip or this kind of toy, then it’s because of the strong odor. But that doesn’t mean they avoid it due to the presence of any kind of harmful elements within.

Actually, catnip is ineffective on cats below 6 months of age. Or, in a different way, you can say they don’t react to catnip until they’re sexually mature.

In case you’d ever see you’re kitten having a good time around it, don’t worry about it being harmful in any way. But make sure you’re not letting them have an overdose of the herb.

Also Read: Why Do Cats Like Rubber Bands?

The Bad Sides

If you’re serious about adding up catnip toys to the daily life of your pet, then you better know the downsides too.

Not Helpful for the Diet

Cats grab all their required nutrition from animal meat. Nothing else can bring in those proteins, and vitamins like that do.

So, if you’re thinking of getting catnip toys for your four-legged friend, we’d say the catnip within it won’t be helping out with their diet in any way.

Overdose Can Cause Health Issues

Catnips are harmless, as long as you’re keeping the amount meager. But once a larger amount goes in, be ready to notice some health issues.

Cats aren’t designed to live on herbs or vegetables as their digestive system doesn’t support it. The same theory applies to catnips as well.

So, when you’re letting your kitty play with a catnip toy, and they take in a large amount there, there can be issues popping up like –

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Gastrointestinal disorders

A Rise in Arousal

Once you hand over your cat a catnip toy, be ready to see a rise in their arousal. It happens mostly to male cats.

You’ll see them rolling around and growling, exactly how they do while coming to heat. Though it’s mostly seen in male cats, female cats too can show a similar reaction at times.

Premature Labor

Using catnip toys can lead to premature labor when it comes to pregnant cats. As the catnip stimulates the cat’s uterus, having premature labor is quite normal. Lots of veterinary doctors suggest avoiding catnip at this time.

There’s a common worry seen among cat owners for letting their cat have a catnip toy. They think it might make their cat addicted. But the real trouble isn’t actually there.

It’s the quality of the catnip that can cause the main problem. The ones with low quality can trigger gastrointestinal problems, especially catnips that were stored improperly.

Plus, the pesticides used can also lead to health issues. But what kind of reaction actually can be caused by catnips with inferior quality?

Well, the kitty might stop eating, drool, and even can end up with diarrhea. So, you better keep your hands off of black-market catnip if you want to avoid those issues.

Is a Catnip Toy Safe for Your Cat?

So, is letting your cat have a catnip toy safe? Well, the answer is – yes. As the mint-origin herb is totally non-addictive, it doesn’t cause any major issue to the cat, under controlled usage, of course.

The effect doesn’t last for more than 15 minutes. So, there’s no chance of seeing your cat out of control for too long.

Just make sure that you’re following certain tips while getting your cat used to the toy –

  • Try to use the toy as a treat
  • Don’t go for larger doses
  • You better not let your cats have it if they’re aggressive
  • If your cat is not into it, don’t force the toy on them
  • Keep the catnip always fresh and store it in the freezer if possible
  • Don’t give it to your cat if its age is less than 6 months

Also Read: Do Cats Like Blankets?

Final Words

Are catnip toys safe for cats? Well, we guess you’ve already got that answer. However, they do have certain advantages and disadvantages, which we have already mentioned above.

But this de-stressor can surely help the kitty a lot. Besides, due to being non-addictive and having a short-time effect, it doesn’t cause any trouble to the cat or cat owners.