When Can Kittens Have Catnip?
So you just adopted a new kitten, or maybe you got yourself one of those fancy Craigslist Kittens, right? And it’s no secret that cats LOVE catnip, right?. But what about kittens? When can kittens have catnip and is it even safe for them?
It’s normal for parental instincts to kick in when you get a baby animal to take care of. Even something as simple as catnip can make new kitten parents worry about what’s healthy and safe for their new fur baby.
We’re here to address all of your concerns!
Kittens and cats like catnip because the active ingredient makes them feel good and euphoric. Catnip contains nepetalactone and for some reason it causes cats to feel just absolutely amazing!
Scientists aren’t quite sure why this chemical makes cats and kittens feel the way they do, they believe it may be a pheromone or hormonal response. Kittens that are too young will not have developed the necessary tools in their bodies that’s needed to process this active ingredient in catnip.
Is Catnip Safe For Kittens?
Catnip is safe for kittens when used in moderation. None of the active ingredients in catnip will harm your kitten. The only catch here is that kittens have sensitive stomachs, so catnip might upset their tummy if they ingest too much of it.
Adult cats can tell when they’ve had enough catnip and will always stop. Kittens may not be able to tell when they’ve had too much catnip so it’s important to monitor them while they enjoy it.
When Can Kittens Have Catnip?
Most kittens will not react to catnip until they reach at least 3-6 months old. Some may not enjoy catnip until they reach 1 year of age. Whenever they’re young they simply haven’t developed the traits needed to become sensitive to the active chemical compounds in catnip.
Kittens have sensitive tummies so if your cat is under 6 months of age then please be mindful of how much catnip you’re giving them.
If you’ve got a young kitten who doesn’t enjoy catnip right now, that doesn’t mean they won’t enjoy it when they get older!
Can Kittens Have Too Much Catnip?
Yes, depending on their age it is possible for kittens to have too much catnip! Adult cats have built in regulatory control that lets them back off whenever they feel like they’ve had enough catnip. Kittens do not have this same regulatory control.
Additionally, kittens have very sensitive stomachs and catnip may upset their tummies. If your kitten is under 6 months old then it’s important to regulate how much catnip you’re giving them!
Kittens older than 6-12 months should be fine with self regulating, but it doesn’t hurt to keep an eye on them just to be safe. Kittens 3-6 months old should be monitored a bit more closely. Kittens under 3 months old might need to wait until they get older to enjoy catnip!
Can Kittens Eat Catnip?
Catnip can be enjoyed many ways: kittens can simply smell it, rub their faces in it, chew it, or outright eat it. All of these methods will release the nepetalactone in the catnip so that it can enter your cat’s system and start making them feel good.
I know we keep mentioning this a lot, so please excuse us for sounding like a broken record, but kittens have sensitive tummies so please make sure they do not eat too much of it!
Are Catnip Toys Safe For Kittens?
Catnip toys are safe for kittens as long as toys with strings and feathers are not left out unsupervised.
Kittens will often chew and swallow feathers off of toys which can upset their digestive tract. Kittens also might not have the motor skills necessary to untangle themselves should they get wrapped up in the rope of a toy.
Kittens are very energetic and curious and when they’re awake they require a lot of mental and physical stimulation, as is the case with just about all baby animals! So naturally you want to make sure your kitten has plenty of toys, as long as they’re safe!
The catnip found in toys for kittens is just as harmless as the catnip you might find being sold separately. Also, assuming the kitten doesn’t chew the toy open, you don’t have to worry about your kitten overdoing it on the catnip and getting an upset stomach!
How Much Catnip Should You Give A Kitten?
The amount of catnip you give a kitten depends on their age. If they’re 6-12+ months old then they should have the ability to self regulate and you never have to worry about giving them too much.
With kittens 3-6 months old you will want to start out small. Start off by giving them just a little pinch, maybe no more than a teaspoonful, and see how they react. Do they enjoy it? Does it upset their stomachs in any way? If they like it and it doesn’t make them sick then it’s okay to give them another teaspoon or two worth!
Kittens under 3 months old will show no interest in catnip and it can likely make them if they get too much. Until your kitten is 3 months or older, it’s best to just let them enjoy playing with other things for now!