Can Cats Overdose On Catnip?

We all know that cats love catnip. Watching a cat go crazy off the scent is very amusing, and catnip is an invaluable tool when trying to train your cat to use something such as a scratching post.

However, can our beloved pet get too much of a good thing? If one was to be too excessive with the catnip, could it end up harming our cat?

In this article we will take a look. But first, some background…


So what actually is Catnip?

Catnip is a plant. The ingredient within the plant that causes the extreme reaction in cats is called Nepetalactone.

This essential oil is found in the leaves and stems of the plant. A Cat’s sense of smell is very receptive to this scent, picking it up one part to a billion parts air.

A Cat’s Reaction To Catnip

Once a cat inhales the aroma of catnip, well you’ve seen it before I am sure. They literally become beside themselves.

Reactions do vary mind you – some cats may rub against it, run around in circles and jump on furniture. Others may be more subdued, but will still be drawn towards the scent, licking and smelling it.

A catnip “high” does not last long however. After  five or ten minutes, the reaction to the scent will subside. If you use spray more catnip just after this time it will not have the same impact again. It will normally take the cat more than an hour to be fully susceptible to the scent once more.

Can a cat have too much catnip?

Like almost anything that is safe to use on our pets, moderation is always key. A small amount of catnip is harmless to your cat.

However, an “overdose” is technically possible. Especially if your cat becomes exposed to the actual catnip plant. Left unsupervised they may overeat the fresh catnip. This could lead to your pet vomiting or to have diarrhea.

Beside this caveat however catnip is nontoxic and presents no real danger. If you are over indulgent with the catnip spray it is likely that you will feel nausea due to the scent, long before your cat does.

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