Can I Give My Cat Fresh Catnip?

CatChannel expert Jeanne Adlon, professional cat sitter, discusses the benefits of fresh catnip for cats.

CatChannel expert Jeanne Adlon, professional cat sitter, discusses the benefits of fresh catnip for cats.

Q: Is fresh catnip OK to give my cat?

A: Sure! I am always surprised that people will give their cats catnip toys but not the real thing. I would guess that 95% of my clients don’t think about it until I ask them. I always carry some dried fresh catnip in my backpack and with my client’s permission, give some to the cats I care for during my visits.

My own cats absolutely love catnip — so much so that it’s a really fun time in my house when I have to refill the catnip in my backpack. I keep catnip in a large container in the refrigerator, which helps it last longer. When I am ready to do the transfer, I try to do it when my cats are snoozing on another room. No matter how quiet I am, however, my cat Roscoe usually comes running into the kitchen (followed by my other cats) and makes it quite clear he wants some right now. Once I even closed myself in the bathroom to transfer the catnip but we all know cats are always one step ahead of us. All the cats were all lined up waiting for me when I opened the door. Caught red-handed, each cat got a small amount to play with.

Catnip is fun for most cats and the response is nearly the same for all. First they sniff it, then they might lick it and finally they might start rolling around in it. Some cats salivate, and other cats will groom with gusto — or groom each other! All if this is fine. Not only are they having fun but it fun to watch, the affects don’t last long. Soon they will soon go off to inspect something else, or take a well-deserved cat nap.

Catnip is not expensive and comes in dried leaves and blossoms and even a non-aerosol spray. I also like to give my cats a “nip rug” to play with. This is a small piece of rug that I put the catnip on. They play with it, scratch it and I like to think it saves my furniture! As always I welcome your stories and comments.

Visit my website and follow me on Twitter @jadlon_catcalls for my daily cat tip.

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