Can Ferrets Eat Catnip

Can Ferrets Eat Catnip? [ Dietary Info | Benefits & Risks ]

Yes, Ferrets can eat catnip, but chances are they may not like it as much as you’d expect. Catnips are typically used for cats who love and mostly get ecstatic from smelling the plants. The effects of catnip on ferrets can vary from that of cats. 

What Is Catnip? 

Catnip is an exotic plant that originated in Europe and parts of Asia. The plant is a feline attractant that has quickly spread to other parts of the world. The scientific name for the plant is Nepeta cataria, but most people know it as catnip or catswort. These plants contain nepetalactone, an essential oil that makes cats ecstatic. 

The name is associated with it because cats enjoy the plant a lot. This plant is mostly added to cat toys because of its effects on them, which is hyperactivity. Some people consider this hyper effect on cats as being high. The reaction to catnip is specific to each animal. For ferrets, a majority of them don’t react to catnips as cats do. Although some of them show symptoms of being high after ingesting or smelling the leaves, others don’t. 

Further Reading: “Can Ferrets Eat Ice Cream?

Is Catnip Safe For Ferrets?

Yes, ferrets can also have catnip. However, the effect it will have on your pet might differ from the one it has on cats. Therefore, it is crucial to pay attention after giving them to your pet. In the past, there have been cases of strange effects on ferrets. Some ferrets get hyperactive and excited, while others have seizures after ingesting catnip. In extreme cases, the ferrets’  reaction might frighten their owners and other pets in the house. 

Fortunately, the effect of the plant wears off after a few hours. It is also essential to avoid adding catnip to cat toys for ferrets. This is because it could be harmful to them. In their hyperactive state, they may ingest parts of the toys which can lead to intestinal blockage. This effect is possible with small toys made of rubber. The best line of action is to give ferrets regular plain toys which do not have small parts. More importantly, avoid giving your pet treats that contain catnip. As carnivores, ferrets are not used to them or other plants, so they mostly don’t enjoy it. It is best to stick to regular treats like chicken, pork, beef, e.t.c.

Further Reading: “Can Ferrets Eat Apples?

What Will Catnip Do To A Ferret?

Catnip has been primarily used for cats right from time. However, since ferrets like most things that cats like, ferret owners have also tried catnip. The effects of this plant vary from ferret to ferret, just like in cats. Some ferrets get hyperactive and start hopping all around the house, somewhat terrorizing the other pets in the house. In other ferrets, the effects can get extreme to the point of them having seizures. 

However, on average, most ferrets ignore catnip as it is not part of their typical diet. Some of them also do not show any effects whatsoever to the plant. Catnip is not harmful to ferrets in itself. However, your pet might put itself in harm’s way due to its hyperactivity. Therefore, you must pay attention to the effects of catnip on your ferret, especially when it’s a first. This way, you can quickly gauge the plant’s reaction on your ferret, especially when she puts herself in danger. 

Can Ferrets Have Cat Toys With Catnips?

Although some cat owners add catnips to their feline’s toys, it is not advisable to do the same for ferrets. In ferrets, it can lead to medical complications, which may threaten the life of your furball. For instance, where the ferret gets over-excited with the toy, it may ingest parts of the toy. Ferrets have sharp teeth that can effectively dismantle cat toys.

Therefore, your pet can eat parts of the toy that are harmful when it tears the toy apart. The best thing is to avoid giving your pet toys made of foam or rubber. There is a wide variety of toys to choose from, including softballs and other ferret-specific toys. You can also improvise with some materials in your home to create some toys for your pets. 

Further Reading: “Can Ferrets Eat Bacon?

How Long Does The Effect Last In Ferrets?

The effects of catnip on ferrets are mainly individual. This implies different reactions across many ferrets. In cats, catnip only affects them for about half an hour before they stop enjoying it. The case is quite different for ferrets. In ferrets, the effects of the plant can last for a few hours before wearing off.

However, catnip does not affect most ferrets, and this timing is limited to the minority it affects. After giving it catnip, you should observe your pet, especially if it has shown signs of being ecstatic or hyperactive. The nepetalactone may cause your pet to exhibit symptoms like aggression. When this happens, your ferret may attack other animals in the home or in some cases, damage home appliances. Therefore monitor your pet and gauge her reaction, especially when it can harm herself and other pets. And if your pet has a seizure after ingesting the leaves, take her to a veterinary clinic immediately!

Final Thoughts

Ferrets are lovely animals and make great pets, just like cats. However, ferrets may not react to catnips like cats. However, in general, catnip is safe for ferrets. Also, ferrets are not the biggest fans of catnip as most ferrets would probably ignore catnip in their food. They shouldn’t be given as food or treats because it has no nutritional value to them. In the end, catnip is something your ferret has to decide if it likes or not. If your ferret completely ignores them, you should stick to healthy foods. As pet parents, ensure to do your research for more information on the best foods for your pet.  Also, take your pets to the vet for a regular check-up to ensure that they healthy.

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