Can Cats Eat Catnip?

Catnip is a great toy, but what if your cat eats some? 🌿

can cats eat catnip

Let’s face it — your cat’s obsessed with catnip. But if you notice him swallow some loose leaves during playtime, you might be wondering whether or not to panic.

After all, can cats eat catnip?

We spoke with Dr. Chyrle Bonk, a veterinarian working with Excited Cats, to find out what happens if your cat snacks on some catnip.

Is it safe for cats to eat catnip?

It’s perfectly safe for your cat to eat catnip in the event that he does lick some up. And while sniffing catnip can drive your pet wild, eating it will actually mellow him out.

“Ingesting catnip can actually have a sedative effect on your kitty, so they may want to nap after doing it,” Dr. Bonk told The Dodo. “This typically doesn’t cause any lasting effects, and your cat should wake up completely normal.”

But just because your cat can eat catnip safely, that shouldn't be the main use for it.

“Rather, use catnip as a toy, giving them just a little to roll around or play in,” Dr. Bonk said.

How much catnip is too much for cats to eat?

When you’re giving your cat catnip, make sure you’re not giving him much more than a tiny pinch.

“Catnip should be treated more like an herb than a food,” Dr. Bonk said. “Just give your kitty a sprinkle of it rather than a pile.”

If you give your cat more than that and he eats it all, it could cause some mild tummy trouble.

“If a cat makes a meal out of catnip, they may get an upset stomach, maybe a little vomiting or diarrhea that shouldn’t last longer than a day,” Dr. Bonk said.

Can cats eat catnip as a treat?

Cats can safely eat catnip, but it doesn’t make those loose leaves an ideal treat.

“Catnip isn’t toxic to cats who like to eat it, but it shouldn’t be used as a snack or treat,” Dr. Bonk said.

Catnip-flavored treats

That being said, there are a lot of popular catnip-flavored cat treats on the market if your cat likes the taste of catnip.

Temptations — you know those top-rated treats that are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside — makes a treat that’s chicken-, catnip- and cheddar-flavored as part of its MixUps variety pack.

We even had our own cats try out Temptations MixUps, and they really enjoyed the catnip option.

Get Temptations MixUps from Amazon for $7.98

Feline Greenies, which is a super popular brand of cat dental treats, also makes a catnip flavor.

Try Feline Greenies from Amazon for $2.34+

So cats can eat catnip and be totally fine, but it’s definitely way more fun to play with. And if you still want your cat to enjoy a catnip-flavored snack, there are plenty of popular treat options.

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