Can Ferrets Have Catnip – [Is Catnip Safe For Ferrets]

Many cat owners use catnip as they believe cats get high with it. Ferret owners also think the same, but ferrets are not cats. So you may wonder, does catnip affect ferrets in the same ways as cats? Can ferrets have catnip?

Ferrets have catnip, but they won’t enjoy it as cats do. Catnip has the ability to induce euphoria and playfulness in cats when they come into contact with it. Since ferrets metabolize differently from cats, they are more resistant to euphoria effects. However, individual ferrets can react differently to catnip.

How Does Catnip Work?

The scientific name of catnip is Nepeta cataria, which is a herb from the mint family. It is also called catmint and catwort. This plant has nepetalactone found in the leaves, stems, and seeds.

Most cats, not all of them, get hyperactive, rolling over, sniffing, jumping around, etc. Nepetalactone acts as a natural feline attractant. It triggers sensory receptors in the nasal tissue of cats.

Many cats become highly playful and energetic when exposed to catnip. They usually engage in playful activities, chase imaginary prey, or become more interactive with toys and their surroundings.

The effects of catnip can vary from cat to cat, even not all cats are affected by catnip. It lasts about 10-15 minutes, and after that, they lose interest. Kittens and elderly cats often show less response to catnip than adult cats.

Can Ferrets Have Catnip?

Can Ferrets Have Catnip

Ferrets can have catnip, but the effect won’t be the same as cats. Ferrets don’t experience the same level of high sensation from catnip. Some ferrets have little effect, and some ferrets don’t have a noticeable reaction to it. 

Moreover, ferrets are strict carnivores, so it is a better idea to skip herb plants as they are not a good option for them. Catnip won’t make a big difference to the ferret, so there’s no need to purchase catnip specifically for your ferret. If you have catnip at home, you can try it for the experiment.

Is Catnip Safe For Ferrets?

Catnip is a safe herb for cats, dogs, and ferrets as well. They won’t have any problem when being around catnip. However, the only matter is dogs and ferrets don’t find it interesting as cats do.

Ferrets are naturally active animals. Yet, some get hyperactive and start hopping all around the house when playing with catnip toys. On average, most ferrets ignore catnip as they are far away from their diet. But if they find the smell interesting, you can notice the catnip effect.

While catnip itself is not harmful to ferrets, it’s essential to use it in moderation. Overexposure is unnecessary and may not produce any noticeable effects.

Always supervise your ferret when introducing them to catnip or any new item to ensure they don’t ingest it or have any adverse reactions. It also can trigger allergy reactions. So be careful while using it the first time with your ferret.

How Long Does The Effect of Catnip Last In Ferrets?

If ferrets enjoy the effect of catnip, its influence will stay for a notably longer duration compared to cats. While the effects of catnip on cats typically last for around 10 minutes, in ferrets, these effects can extend for half an hour.

Before offering catnip to your ferret, consider taking the day off or setting aside a significant portion of your time. It’s essential to monitor your ferret’s behavior closely during their catnip-induced adventure.

While most ferrets respond playfully or affectionately, some may react more aggressively. If your ferret displays aggressive behavior, such as biting or excessive aggression towards toys or other pets, it’s crucial to try to calm them down as much as possible.

It’s essential to note that not all ferrets are responsive to catnip. The majority of ferrets do not exhibit any reaction to it. The effects of catnip are confined to a minority of ferrets who are sensitive to it.

Can Ferrets Have Cat Toys With Catnips?

Many cat toys are used with catnips. While many cat owners enjoy adding catnip to their feline toys for added fun, this practice is not advisable for ferrets. Doing so can potentially lead to medical complications that pose a risk to your furry companion.

Ferrets have sharp teeth and an inquisitive nature, so they can dismantle cat toys. When a ferret becomes over-excited with a catnip-infused toy, it can ingest parts of the toy. It can cause potential health issues.

To ensure the safety of your ferret, it’s best to steer clear of toys made of foam or rubber. Because these materials are particularly risky if ingested. Instead, consider a wide variety of specific toys that are specifically designed for ferrets, such as softballs and other ferret-specific playthings.

Where Can You Find Catnip?

Many people plant catnip in their gardens, and you can collect from them. Or it is available at any pet shop, especially cat stores.

You can purchase a bottle of catnip. With this, you can sprinkle a small amount of catnip on the floor and watch as your ferret indulges in its enticing aroma.

Alternatively, you can opt for cat toys that come infused with catnip. But ferrets are not cats, so you should choose toys wisely. When your ferrets play with one of these toys, they will be attracted to the catnip inside, providing a playful and enjoyable experience.

In either case, whether you choose loose catnip or catnip-infused toys, your ferret may not be as high as you expected.


Catnip is generally safe for ferrets, but it’s important to understand that most ferrets do not have the same strong reaction to it as cats do. However, you can experiment with catnip and use it on your ferret and see the noticeable change.

Catnip may or may not change their behaviors. Your ferrets can show playfulness, and relaxation, or become aggressive. However, keep in mind that not all cats and ferrets are equally sensitive to catnip, and sensitivity can vary widely among individuals.