When your cat gets into the catnip, it’s obvious that he or she has gone on a trip. As you watch your cat go about his or her business in what seems like an alternate universe, you might wonder how much catnip it takes to actually cause harm to your beloved pet.
Let’s find out if cats can overdose on catnip by looking at why they react to this herb in the first place, then figure out what would happen if they consumed too much of it.
What is catnip overdose in cats?
When a cat ingests too much catnip, it can experience what is known as an overdose. The symptoms of a catnip overdose are usually mild and include vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, and lethargy.
In severe cases, a cat may have seizures or collapse. Although it is rare, death from catnip overdose is possible. If you think your cat has ingested too much catnip, contact your veterinarian immediately.
There are no antidotes to counteract the effects of catnip overdose, but treatment can help reduce the severity of symptoms. A vet will often recommend treatment with activated charcoal to remove any toxins that might still be in the stomach or intestines.
An IV drip may also be used to treat dehydration if necessary. Patients who vomit or have diarrhea may need intravenous fluids to combat dehydration and prevent kidney failure.
Medications such as benzodiazepines (e.g., Xanax) may be given to control agitation caused by catnip overdose, while sedatives (e.g., Valium) may be administered to control seizure activity.
Rarely, cats who are experiencing difficulty breathing due to respiratory depression caused by the plant might require oxygen therapy administered through nasal prongs or a mask until their condition improves.
Why does your cat like catnip so much?
Cats love catnip because it contains a chemical called nepetalactone. This substance is similar to chemicals found in valerian root, which is another plant that’s popular with cats.
When cats smell nepetalactone, it binds to receptors in their brains and causes them to feel happy and relaxed. Some cats may even roll around or rub their faces in catnip as if they’re in a trance!
The effects of the nepetalactone usually last about 15 minutes, so you might notice your cat coming back to normal after just a few minutes. It can take up to three hours for the effects of the nepetalactone to wear off entirely.
And while some cats will experience an immunity to its effects over time, other cats will always be susceptible to the euphoric feeling caused by nepetalactone. So it’s important not to give too much catnip at once or risk an overdose.
In fact, most vets recommend limiting your cat’s exposure to just one pinch per day. That way you’ll still get plenty of cuddles from your furry friend without having to worry about any side effects from the nepetalactone.
You should also keep in mind that many cats are allergic to catnip and should never be exposed to it! You’ll know if your kitty is allergic when she has hives on her skin or starts scratching herself raw.
Signs of catnip toxicity in cats
Cats who have overdosed on catnip may exhibit some or all of the following symptoms: lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, and uncoordinated movement. In severe cases, a cat may experience an increased heart rate and seizures.
If you think your cat has overdosed on catnip, contact your veterinarian immediately. The vet will be able to assess the severity of any signs of toxicity by performing a physical exam, taking blood samples, and possibly running tests to determine liver function.
Treatment options include activated charcoal to help prevent further absorption if given within 2 hours after ingestion and intravenous fluids in more serious cases. Cats with milder symptoms can be treated with supportive care such as IV fluids and supplemental oxygen.
A small percentage of cats are sensitive to catnip, so this is something pet owners should monitor closely. Owners should keep their cats away from fresh catnip plants until they’re 12 months old to ensure they’re not sensitive to it!
Some cats get overstimulated when they eat too much of it, while others don’t react at all. It’s best to give them just a pinch and see how they react.
How to keep your cat from getting sick from too much catnip
Just like with any other substance, it’s possible for cats to overdose on catnip. The good news is that there are a few easy ways to keep your cat from getting sick from too much catnip.
First, monitor the amount of time your cat spends rolling around in the catnip and come up with a limit based on how long you think is safe. Some people recommend 30 minutes per day.
Second, try mixing the catnip in with some dry food so they’re consuming it slowly throughout the day rather than all at once in one sitting.
Third, try planting some extra pot plants around your house so your pet has a choice between natural and artificial plant sources of his favorite treat!
Finally, make sure to give your kitty plenty of playtime and affection after he indulges in his new toy or snack. Cats can overdose on their favorite catnip by ingesting too much at once.
To prevent this from happening, watch out for signs such as listlessness or trouble breathing and take them to the vet if they show any symptoms.
There’s no need to worry though if your cat appears uninterested in their favorite feline treat, just mix it into their food. A little goes a long way when giving your pet pleasure!
Treatments for cats who have overdosed on catnip
If your cat has overdosed on catnip, the first thing you should do is call your veterinarian. They will be able to advise you on the best course of treatment. In most cases, treatment will not be necessary and your cat will recover on their own.
However, in some cases, your vet may recommend giving your cat fluids or other medications to help them recover. Another option is to give your cat a few hours away from anything that contains catnip.
There are also special dietary supplements that can help reverse the effects of an overdose. Talk with your vet about what they think would work best for your particular situation.
For example, if you have multiple cats who love catnip, then it might be better to remove all sources of it in order to prevent any future overdoses.
But if your cats seem fine after they come down from the high caused by catnip, then talk with your vet about whether it’s worth removing this treat completely. Cats who live with humans can become dependent on getting things like catnip, so it could be dangerous for them to go without it completely.
It’s up to you as a pet owner to determine how much time your cat spends using these recreational substances and make sure they’re never left alone when they’re inebriated.