Is Catnip Safe For Ferrets? Can I Give My Ferret Catnip?


Is catnip safe for ferrets?

Can I give my ferret catnip?

Catnip is a common part of most cat toys, toys that ferret owners buy for their ferrets. But, ferrets aren’t cats so the main question of this post is: does catnip affect ferrets? Should we avoid cat toys with catnips or are they safe for ferrets to play with? Find out the answers to all those questions in this post!

What Is Catnip?

Before I tackle the safety question, let’s talk about catnip, what it is and what it does to cats. Catnip, also known as catswort, catmint, and catwort is a plant we can find in many parts of the world, including Eastern and Southern Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia.

catnipPhoto Source: Bonnieplants

Cats And Catnip

Just as the most popular names say, it affects cats in the most interesting ways. Cats love to roll in catnip, smell it and eventually get “high” on it. The interesting part is that it won’t affect every cat in the neighborhood. Every 3 out of 4 cats will find catnip irresistible, while the fourth one won’t understand what is the deal with it.

Effects On Other Animals And Humans

Besides cats, it also attracts butterflies, but it repels some insects like squash bugs so people plant it in their gardens. Catnip is not toxic to humans, but it is not recommended to take it so don’t do it. If humans ingest catnip it can lead to headaches, vomiting, and feeling ill.

Cats And Catnip

Where Can We Find Catnip?

Besides people’s gardens, catnip can be found in pet stores. You can buy a bottle of catnip for your cat to enjoy or you can buy a toy with infused catnip in it. If you buy a bottle of catnip, you can put a small amount on the floor and watch your cat enjoy it. If you buy a toy infused with catnip, the result will be the same. Your cat will get attracted to catnip, but the cat won’t be able to roll in it, so it will play with the toy.

Is Catnip Safe For Ferrets?

Yes, catnip is completely safe for ferrets. Catnip is a safe herb for ferrets and dogs so there is no problem with them being around catnip. The only problem is that ferrets or dogs don’t find catnip as attractive as cats do. They might find a new smell interesting and play with a toy with catnip inside because it is different, but they won’t become high from it.

Can I Give My Ferret Catnip?

You can give your ferret catnip. But, keep in mind that most ferrets don’t feel the same “high” feeling to catnip as cats. Actually, most won’t feel a thing. So, you don’t have to buy catnip in a bottle for your ferret. Keep in mind that ferrets are strict carnivores so any type of herb is not a good option for them. With that knowledge, I would suggest you skip the “catnip in the bottle” option for your ferret because it won’t make any difference to your ferret.

Is catnip safe for ferrets

Can Catnip Make Ferrets Sick?

No, catnip doesn’t affect ferrets in any way so there is not much reason for you to give it to them. Again, keep in mind that catnip is a herb, and ferrets are not allowed to eat anything but meat so it is not a part of their diet, like any other plant.

Catnip In Toys

Your ferret can play with cat toys infused with catnip because the catnip won’t affect him the bad way. Now that you know that, you don’t have to thoroughly check information about a cat toy you want to buy for your ferret to look whether there is catnip inside or not. I know we all do it because ferrets love cat toys.

How Does Catnip End Up In Toys

How Does Catnip End Up In a Toy?

There are two options for catnip to end up in a toy. First, a better and healthier option is a toy with a small container inside with a catnip in it. Those toys can be more expensive since they use actual catnip, but they are much safer and better for both, cats and ferrets. The other option is the catnip essential oil that is infused with a cat toy. This is bad out for two reasons. First, it won’t affect the cat like the catnip would because it is weaker, which automatically makes the entire production cheaper so it is more interesting for the producers.

catnip essential oil

Second, the essential oil can be bad for ferrets and cats so it is best to avoid those toys. The biggest problem is that we can’t know which option is inside the toy. Most people say that if you shake the toy and you can hear or feel small particles in the body, it should be dried catnip inside. But, that is just an assumption, not a rule.

Are Toys With Catnip Safe For Ferrets?

Not all toys with catnip are safe for ferrets because there is another problem with toys that have catnip. Some of them aren’t safe for ferrets, not due to catnip, but due to their design, material and size. So, if you want to buy your ferret a safe toy, focus on the design, size, and material of the toy first, then you look for the information about the catnip.

toys with catnip

Cats aren’t prone to chewing and swallowing certain materials like sponges or rubber as ferrets do. I am not saying that they don’t do that, I am saying that this is a major problem in the ferret world. So, that is why most cat toys have sponges, rubber, foam, and other materials dangerous to ferrets. Read here more about how to pick safe toys for ferrets.


Catnip as a herb is not dangerous to ferrets, but it also won’t have an effect on them too so there is no need to give it to them. Regarding catnip in toys, you should consider a catnip as another part of the toy. It is much more important to focus on the material and design of the toy before you give it to the ferret. Did you give your ferret a toy with catnip? How did he react? Leave your experience in the comments and feel free to subscribe to the Friendly Ferret Newsletter!

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Anja Delic
Anja is a Friendly Ferret owner and a ferret parent who is involved in the ferret world for more than 10 years. She started her Friendly Ferret blog when she got her first ferret Frida 8 years ago. In 2013, Friendly Ferret was recognized as a great source of information and it has become a good ferret brand for education, products, and fun. Since then, Anja was a part in many ferrets shows as a sponsor and as a judge, and she met many great and interesting people who share the same passion as her - ferrets. Anja is always opened for suggestions and advice, so if you have something to ask or say about ferrets, feel free to contact her on Instagram, Facebook Fan Page, Twitter or