Catnip is often given to cats for recreational purposes. When you want your cat to be dazed out and have a time of their life, you can add it to their food or sprinkle it on their toys. How well do Savannah cats like catnip?
Your Savannah may or may not like catnip. In some cases they like it sprinkled on specific things – such as their toys or in their food. In other cases, they like to sniff it or consume it. You would need to observe if your Savannah actually enjoys the effects of catnip in any form or not at all.
But you cannot give catnip to your cat without providing them a safe space. We will also explore the other things that you need to know about catnip.
Everything You Need To Know About Catnip
Catnip is a perennial herb that comes from a family of mint called Labiatae. There are more than 250 species of catnip.
The active ingredient that gives cats a high is Nepetalactone. This is mainly found in the leaves and stems of the plant. Cats enjoy common catnip for its effects.
Interestingly, there is an autosomal dominant gene that makes them respond to catnip. Bigger felines such as lions, tigers, bobcats, servals, lynxes, leopards, cougars, etc. enjoy the effects of catnip.
But other species do not seem to enjoy it. Kitten between eight weeks to six months of age haven’t been found to enjoy its effects. Some might grow an aversion to it.
The Effects Of Catnip On Savannah Cats
Your Savannah may get either euphoric or aggressive when they first encounter with this herb. If you have more than one cat in the house, make sure you introduce catnip to them individually rather than putting it around casually.
In case your Savannah gets aggressive or anxious, turn to an alternative.
After chewing, sniffing or consuming catnip – your Savannah might start to do head rolls, rub its cheek, head, and body on you or everything around them. They might also chew on something or shake its head.
The effects can be visible to you and are quite noticeable – they will be either very mellow or hyperactive.
But do not worry, its effects only last for about five to fifteen minutes followed by a one-hour time where they are completely unaffected by it.
They do not get a hangover from it. Also, cats are intelligent enough to not eat it more than required.
However, there have been reports of intoxication. Also, it is a uterus stimulant. Hence, it shouldn’t be given to your Savannah if they are pregnant.
- Note: Currently, there is no sufficient studies or research that can tell us how catnip or their alternatives work on each generation of Savannah cats
Providing A Safe Space For A Safe High For Your Savannah 🙂
If catnip is effective on your Savannah, make sure you give them a good space to enjoy their high. The psychoactive ingredient will make them either very mellow or very hyperactive.
In either of the cases, they are generally not very alert about their surroundings or perceived threats.
Hence, make sure you do not give them catnip before you go out with them (walking them on a leash or letting them roam in the courtyard). Keep them secure and safe in a room where they will not hurt themselves or other pets.
This point is especially important to note if you have multiple cats. Some might react to it, some might not. Some might react aggressively while others will be mellow. If your cats have different reactions to it, keep them away from each other.
You can find catnip-infused toys and scratch posts. You can get catnip from garden nurseries and grow them at home.
Your Savannah might react to catnip more positively if they sniff it. But when they eat it, they might become mellower rather than excitably happy.
Legal Use Of Catnip
There were debates, bills, and bans regarding catnip in the UK. Since catnip can be used by humans to get a certain amount of high and for other medicinal benefits, there were talks regarding this topic. But there is no need to worry when it comes to using catnip for cats.
They are not actively illegal to use because they do not contain the same amount of high that other psychoactive plants contain. Hence, it doesn’t give humans that effective high. In some, they don’t give them a high at all but can be used as medicine or in tea.
Catnip is legal to use in most parts of the world and can be obtained legally online, from garden nurseries, or can be grown on your own.
In case your Savannah doesn’t enjoy catnip, there are other legal and safe alternatives available.
Alternatives To Catnip For Savannah Cats
About 31% of the cats from all breeds and lines do not react to catnip at all. In such cases, you can turn to other alternatives such as Valerian root, Silver Vine, and Tatarian honeysuckle.
They do not contain the active compound nepetalactone but have something similar compounds that can give cats the same high.
It was found that 80% of the cats respond to Silver Vine, which is more than the number of cats that get high on catnip. 40% of cats responded well to Valerian root and Tatarian Honeysuckle.
What is more interesting to note is that your Savannah can respond to either of the alternatives or all of them. It is noted that 23% of the cat species can react to all of them.
You can get Silver Vine in the form of powder and sprinkle it on their toys. Do not add it to their food or water, as it can disturb their normal meal behavior.
Silver Vine can be found in the form of sticks. It is also known as Matabi and can be given to cats to chew. This would promote good dental health for cats. Just like catnip, they do not over-consume Silver Vine. You can get Matabi here!
Frequently Asked Questions About Savannah Cats And Catnip
Is it bad to give catnip to your Savannah cat every day?
Your cat will play with catnip or get obsessed for a maximum of ten to fifteen minutes. After that, it loses its interest in it. The will start to wear off slowly, but they do build a tolerance over time with repeated exposure.
Hence, it is okay to give them catnip once a day (or every other day) and not more than that.
Can Savannah cats OD on catnip?
While there were reports of intoxication by catnip, the possibility of this happening is very low. Cats innately refuse any more catnip given to them. In case of overdose, it upsets their stomach and they might get diarrhea or start vomiting out.
Does catnip help Savannah cats with anxiety?
It depends on how your cat reacts with catnip. If catnip has a calming effect on your cat then it will help in calming your cat during the transition from one environment to another.
If catnip is not calming for your cats, then it will not help them with anxiety. It could even have the opposite effect.