Can You Mix Catnip With Cat Food? [Is It Safe?]

We’ve all heard the saying, “cats are finicky.” They can indeed be picky about their food, but there are ways to get around this. One of these is by adding catnip to your cat’s food. This article will go over what catnip is, how it affects cats, and whether you should try mixing it in with your kitty’s next meal!

Catnip is perfectly safe to sprinkle over your cat’s food, but you shouldn’t add huge quantities, or you may find your kitty gets an upset stomach. On the other hand, a small amount of dried or fresh catnip sprinkled on top might increase your cat’s interest in its food dish, although not all cats like catnip.

Can I Add Catnip To My Cat’s Dinner?

Yes, you can safely sprinkle a little catnip on top of your cat’s bowl of food whenever you feel like spicing things up a bit. Catnip has an interesting effect on most cats, and some will appreciate the addition to their meal.

Many cats are more relaxed when they smell catnip, and lots of others become playful or excited. If your cat likes catnip, you may want to try sprinkling some on its food one day, although it’s a good idea to check out its reaction to catnip before you do this.

HillsPets suggests that in vast quantities, catnip might be able to cause an upset stomach, but it’s unlikely that your cat would eat this much catnip anyway. 

Most cats will only eat it in small quantities and will then stop. So don’t add a lot to the bowl, and you’ll have nothing to worry about!

Can Cats Have A Negative Reaction To Catnip?

Interestingly, cats can have very varied reactions to catnip, so it’s always a good idea to see how your cat responds to catnip before you start adding it to your cat’s food. If your cat does not seem to like the plant, don’t put it in the cat’s bowl, or you might have wasted food and a stressed cat on your hands.

In general, if your cat has an adverse reaction, it will show this in the form of aggression. According to HillsPets, some male cats respond with aggression because catnip is related to mating behavior. Your cat might also get excessively excited and possibly destructive or hyper, in which case they may not eat their food.

Not all cats respond to catnip at all, and around thirty percent of cats seem to have no reaction. They are not apparently interested in the herb and will not react to it in any noticeable way, either in their food dish or elsewhere.

Whether a cat responds to catnip or not is a genetic trait, although why this should be the case is not yet clear. Young and old cats also seem to have less response to the herb, and most cats won’t pay attention to it until they are at least three months old.

There’s a lot that we still need to learn about how cats react to catnip, and you’ll need to experiment with your kitty and see whether it likes catnip or not. You may even find that the response varies depending on the context in which it encounters the herb.

What Is Catnip?

You might be wondering what catnip is and why it prompts a reaction from many cats. It’s a member of the mint family, and the plant is native to the Middle East, Europe, and Asia. 

Your cat reacts because of the smell of one of the compounds in the herb. This is called nepetalactone, and its scent is very similar to a pheromone that cats’ bodies produce. This may be a mating pheromone, which might explain why elderly and very young cats do not respond to it, and why it causes aggression in some males.

You may observe that catnip makes your cat seem frisky and playful and keen to hunt things that aren’t there. It is thought that the herb has a slightly hallucinogenic effect, which could explain this. 

You might also see displays of extremely affectionate behavior, playfulness, or kitten-like gestures. Don’t be surprised if your kitty just wants to snuggle up to you!

You may also find that your cat becomes more relaxed and dreamy. Don’t worry if it just gazes off into space and blinks peacefully – it’s completely normal behavior with some cats.

Catnip should not have a long-term effect. It usually only lasts for around ten minutes, and then the plant will have minimal impact for a few hours until the “mood” has recharged and your kitty is ready to show its funny behavior again.

Will Catnip Make My Cat Eat More?

ASPCAPetInsurance suggests that eating catnip might make your cat sleepy and relaxed, while sniffing at it could make it more energetic. However, it is thought to have a mildly sedative effect, so your cat might want a long nap after it has eaten some of this herb.

There isn’t any evidence suggesting that catnip makes your cat more likely to eat a certain kind of food or to increase its quantity. However, sprinkling catnip on top of the food may increase the cat’s interest in the bowl, encouraging it to eat.

This is not by any means guaranteed, but if you are struggling to get your kitty to eat enough, it’s worth trying this as a way of encouraging it.

How Much Catnip Should I Use?

Catnip is a pretty potent herb, and you will probably notice that a little goes a long way. Your cat does not need piles of catnip to respond with enthusiasm; it will notice the scent even just rubbed on your fingers.

If you want to put catnip in your cat’s food, make sure you limit the quantities. Although catnip shouldn’t hurt your cat even if it eats a fair bit, a lot of this herb could give your cat an upset stomach, and there isn’t any need to give them a lot because it has such an effect.

Try taking a small pinch of dried catnip, crumbling it in your fingers, and then sprinkling it on top of the bowl and seeing what your cat does. If the cat does not respond positively, discard the food, wash the bowl, and offer something else without the catnip.

If it likes the catnip, it’s OK to do this from time to time, although you probably shouldn’t do it every day. You don’t want your cat to become dependent on having catnip in its meals.

You can also give your cat catnip in toys or buy it some catnip as a plant – although it may try to munch this to the point that the plant dies. 

Catnip sprays are also available.

Can You Put Catnip In A Kittens Food?

Never feed a kitten younger than six months of age catnip, as it can cause an upset tummy, diarrhea, or vomiting.

Kittens six to twelve months old can have a little catnip, but only if given in minimal quantities.

Final Word

Yes, you can mix catnip into your cat’s food without causing any risk to your cat. Felines often nibble this plant while playing with it (both in its fresh and dried form), and it is perfectly safe to sprinkle a little bit over your cat’s biscuits or meat.

However, don’t add large quantities to the dish; just a tiny amount will be acceptable. You can even use it as an occasional treat for your feline friend!

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