Are Catnip Sticks Really Safe For Cats/Kittens?(And Dogs)

Catnip is one of those substances that new cat owners sometimes have misconceptions about. The notion of cats getting high on catnip means that some people lump the plant in with CBD oil for cats and worry that they will do more harm than good. As a result, you will find cat lovers a little hesitant to buy treats like catnip sticks. So, is it OK to give cats catnip and catnip sticks more specifically? 

So, are catnip sticks safe for cats? A natural catnip stick with a good dose of the key ingredient is non-toxic and will provide a lot of pleasure to cats without them overdosing or dealing with any ill-effects. They are also a great option for cats dealing with Pica or excessive chewing of dangerous items.  

Before we look more closely at what these sticks are and how best to use them, be assured that this can be a safe and enjoyable treat for your cat when you choose the right product.

What Are Catnip Sticks?  

Catnip sticks are tried stems of catnip plants. Cats can chew on these to release the flavor and to enjoy the feeling that comes from chewing on the stick. There are also companies that create similar products with Matatabi, also known as Silvervine. Both plants offer a similar effect so you can try out both of these dried sticks to see which your cat likes best.  

What Does Catnip Do to Cats?  

We have this idea of catnip being like a drug for cats because they develop a “high” not dissimilar to humans taking their own similar substances. The theory is that the herb triggers an emotional reaction and release of chemicals that make the cat feel content and relaxed. This is backed up by the chilled-out behavior of a lot of cats on catnip. Those that have access to the plant will roll and lie in it for a while. Some noticeably zone out for a while too.  

How Long Does Catnip High Last? 

Typically, a catnip high only lasts for around 10 minutes. This is ideal from the perspective of a cat owner that just wants their cat to chill out for a little while, especially during a stressful situation like a thunderstorm of fireworks. This also means that the catnip sticks will serve their purpose for a short time without the cat becoming too obsessive. Just be aware that overuse of catnip can lead to higher tolerance levels where the substances don’t have quite the same effect.  

Can Too Much Catnip Kill a Cat?  

It would take a lot of catnip for a cat to ingest lethal amounts. With that said, there are cases of cats eating far too much of the stuff without guidance from their pet parent and becoming ill. Too much of a good thing, like with a lot of our own human treats, can lead to upset stomachs and maybe even a little vomiting and diarrhea. Therefore, it does help to use catnip in moderation. That is where a stick can help compared to growing a plant as you have a better idea of portion control.  

Are Catnip Sticks Safe For Kittens?  

Again, this all comes down to moderation. There is nothing dangerous or addictive about catnip to suggest that kitten will experience adverse effects long-term from exposure. Nor are there risks in the short term if your kitten decides to chew on one of these sticks for a while. They may experience a similar high and get additional dental benefits from the stick. If you are concerned about the potential impact of that high on such a young cat, you can supervise their playtime. But, a lot of the concern plays into the idea of catnip being a “drug” and kittens being “underage”. It is an overreaction.  

Are Catnip Toys Safe for Kittens?  

The safety of catnip and catnip sticks for kittens means that it is also perfectly safe to give other forms of catnip toys to cats. You can have great fun finding things that smell of catnip for your kitten’s mental and physical stimulation. However, it is important to remember that any form of catnip doesn’t really become effective for kittens until they are about 3 months old. Give them a little time to grow and mature before testing these cat toys out on them. If they aren’t convinced at first, wait another month.  

Are Catnip Sticks Safe for Dogs?  

The good news here is that you have nothing to worry about if your pet dog comes and sniffs out one of these catnip sticks. It isn’t going to do them any harm. This will be a weight off of the minds of some pet owners that may worry about curious pups pinching the toy from their relaxed feline friend. As long as the cat isn’t too bothered by it, there is nothing to stop dogs from having a sniff or a chew.  

However, the effect of the treat may not be what you expect. While your cat will go mad for the stuff and have great fun enjoying their happy rush for a while, dogs are a little more indifferent. It doesn’t seem to trigger the same sort of response in their brains. Instead, you might find that dogs get a little drowsier and may even settle down for a nap. Therefore, you could also find that these catnip sticks double up as a natural sedative during stressful times for your dog.  

Conclusion 

In short, there is nothing to worry about if you decide to give your cat these catnip sticks, or related silvervine sticks. The products are safe and you aren’t going to put your cat at risk of an overdose. In fact, these sticks could prove to be a more enjoyable way for cats to chew and play, while also controlling portions and access to the substance. Don’t be afraid to let your cat enjoy these treats and don’t panic if your kitten or dog gets hold of them either.