Cats on catnip are one of the funniest videos on the internet. But what about ferrets? In many ways, ferrets are very similar to cats. So, can ferrets have catnip?
Catnip is safe for ferrets. However, they do not get as crazy as cats do. Many are indifferent. But each ferret reacts differently. Moreover, the ferrets that are affected last longer than cats.
This is not all, though. You still need to be careful. While ferrets can generally have catnip, you might see hyperactivity or aggression. In some cases, there are reports of them having seizures. Here is all you need to know about giving your ferrets catnip.
What is the Deal with Catnip?
First, can we all just forget about the question for a second? What even is catnip? We all know that it is almost like a drug to cats. And they go crazy any time they are around it.
I cannot be the only one who has seen those funny videos of cats going bonkers when their owners put some catnip on the ground. So, what is it? And is catnip a drug?
Well, catnip is not that mysterious; it is just a plant. Catnip is called many other things. Some call it catwort or even catmint. Catmint is a pretty appropriate name since catnip is a member of the mint family.
It is easy to grow in North America as well. Some even use the leaves to make tea. In addition, the flowers allegedly have some medicinal properties like cough relief. On the other end of the spectrum, it is the primary ingredient in some bug sprays.
Why Do Cats Go Bonkers around Catnip?
Okay, so catnip is just a plant with feathery foliage. So, why does it affect cats so much? Cats get very excited around catnip and start to show affection. They even act ‘high’ in some cases.
Interestingly not all cats are affected by catnip. However, 70% of cats have reactions to catnip. The reason for all this weird behavior is the infamous active ingredient in catnip called Nepetalactone. It is an oil which is found on plant’s leaves.
When the scent enters the cat’s nose through its special vomeronasal gland, it mimics the scent of feline sex hormones.
And since biology is a thing, both male and female cats can be affected by this scent. Therefore, you see the drastic (and sometimes absolutely hilarious) behavioral changes.
You will see different behavior changes. For example, some might show signs of affection and happiness. In contrast, others might show aggression or playfulness. In addition, catnip can also be used to treat separation anxiety for cats.
Now that you know what catnip is and how it works, let’s get into the question: can catnip affect ferrets?
Can Ferrets have Catnip without it Causing Issues?
Ferrets can have catnip without any problems. It is perfectly safe for them to be around and play with it. However, expect a slight reaction. Most ferrets are indifferent to catnip. It is just another plant to them.
Some ferrets might find the new smell interesting. But eventually, the effects will wear off. And it is just another typical day for the little long and cute furry creatures.
Catnip mostly affects cats in intense ways. So, it kind of makes sense, doesn’t it? So anyway, if you want to give your ferret some catnip, it is completely fine.
However, it is essential to remember that the effects depend on your ferret as well. Some say that their ferret loves catnip. They might get super excited and start hopping around and zooming inside the house. Other ferrets are not all that excited by it.
Be careful, though. There have been some cases of catnip-causing ingestion in ferrets. If you want to give some catnip to your ferrets, see how they react. If you notice any adverse effects, stop immediately.
How Long Does Catnip’s Effect Last?
The effect of catnip on ferrets lasts longer than on cats. Usually, cats stop caring about the catnip you gave them after about 30 minutes. On the other hand, the effects can last on ferrets for hours.
This is, of course, given that your ferrets like catnip in the first place. If you are giving your ferret catnip for the first time, it is best to keep an eye on them. Also, give them just a small amount.
See how they react. You are golden if nothing seems to be a problem and they like it. Otherwise, do not give it to them any further. In addition, since the effects last long on ferrets, avoid giving your ferrets catnip when you are not around.
For example, do not use catnip to keep them occupied when you are out of the house.
If your ferret becomes hyperactive and aggressive because of the catnip, it could tear cushions and sofas or attack other pets. This kind of behavior is also dangerous to continue for so many hours.
Can I Give My Ferret Catnip Toys?
I do not recommend you give your ferret toys with catnips. If you get your ferret hyperactive with catnip toys, they could start playing rough. Also, small pieces could come off the toy and choke them.
And that is another set of trouble you do want to deal with. It could cause them to stop breathing. Also, catnip toys might be made from foam or rubber.
These toys will be easy for a ferret to rip apart with their sharp teeth. They could then end up ingesting it and blocking their respiratory pathways. So, it is not worth it just to keep them occupied.
I suggest sticking with regular toys your ferrets already enjoy. They will be much safer. Also, you should check the toys your ferret has. Are they torn or damaged?
If you find any that are, buy them new ones. The small bits and pieces could be choking hazards.
Can I give catnip treats to my ferret?
I wouldn’t suggest giving ferrets catnip treats. Ferrets are similar to cats in some ways, but are not completely like cats. They are mostly indifferent to catnip. Some might like it, but most do not care. So, it is best to stick to plain and safe treats.
Do ferrets get high on catnip?
Unlike cats, ferrets do not get that sense of ‘high’ when around or ingest catnip. However, some might get over-excited or aggressive. But most do not care.
Is catnip toxic?
Catnip is not toxic. It is just a plant and is used in some teas as well. However, you should monitor your pet and see how it affects them since each ferret can react differently.
So, can ferrets have catnip? Yes, they can. It is generally safe for them. But still be careful, though. Ferrets do not like catnip as much as cats do. And cases also vary. Each ferret will react in different ways.
Some are indifferent. On the other hand, some ferrets can become hyperactive, aggressive, or even suffer from seizures. Also, you should not give your ferret catnip toys or treats. Sticking to plain treats and toys is best.
As an animal lover since childhood, Paul has an excessive amount of kindness for animals and really feels about them. Feeding stray dogs and passing time with them is one of the things Paul loves to do in his free time.
Paul studied Veterinary Medicine at Murdoch University. He is a Speaker who talks about animal welfare at various events. You will find him sharing here his valuable knowledge as well as experience.
Currently, Paul is working on his first book to publish where you will see the reflection of his 10 years of experience with animals and pet psychology.