Maybe you want to buy a new toy for your ferret. And the one you have your eye on is a cat toy, and it’s stuffed with catnip. But you’re not sure if your ferrets can play with toys that are stuffed with catnip?
What Is Catnip?
Catnip is a plant that originated from the Mediterranean region and is almost exclusively found in Europe.
It is a member of the mint family whose botanical name is Nepeta cataria.
Catnip has been used as a mild stimulant to help relieve stress in cats, as well as an aid to combat depression and anxiety disorders in humans.
This plant is a member of the mint family and is said to have many medicinal properties. The active ingredient in extracts of the plant is nepetalactone, which has a powerful aroma and can be useful for cats that have been stressed by a variety of factors.
However, not all cats react the same way to catnip. It is said that up to 70% of house cats are unaffected by catnip!
While this herb is known for its euphoric effects on cats, it is unclear if it has any effect on ferrets.
With catnip toys, choose a toy that is not too small and feels a little more robust. A ferret toy that is too small will be ripped open within hours or days by your ferret, and the catnip is falling out.
Additionally, there shouldn’t be any small or removable parts. Your ferret will find a way to take them off – and in the worst-case scenario – swallow them.
As soon as the toy is ripped open and the catnip stuffing falls out – it’s time to remove the toy.
Keep in mind that even if catnip does not affect ferrets, the stuffing probably is not 100% catnip, but a lot of other stuff was used too. You don’t want your ferret to eat any of it.
There are many catnip toys available on the internet and in pet shops. You can search catnip toys on Google for “catnip stuffed toy” or “ferret catnip stuffed toy.”
Does Catnip Have an Effect on Ferrets?
From what I saw, no. I have never seen ferrets acting more frenetic (more than they would anyways) after playing with catnip-filled toys. And I have never heard of ferrets being “high” on catnip.
It could just be that ferrets are intrigued by a new smell or a new toy—no way to know for sure.
Is Catnip Dangerous for your Ferret?
Someone posted a question to the Ferret Magazine, and Karen Rosenthal, DVM, DABVP, answered as follows: “Catnip does not affect ferrets like it does most cats. Playing with catnip should be ok. The concern would be with the toy itself and not the catnip”.
I still would advise being careful, and I would not deliberately give them catnip, just to watch their reaction.
Should I give my Ferret Catnip?
After all, our furry friends are strict meat-eaters. Why should they eat funny green leaves? In my opinion, there are no benefits of feeding your ferret with catnip. Feel free to contact me if you have other reasons to use catnip for your pet.
Whether you’re buying a stuffed toy for your ferret or making one yourself, catnip is not something I would deliberately offer my ferrets.
But if your ferret has a catnip toy that it likes, then it is acceptable to play with the toy for now and watch their reaction. Ferrets are harder on their toys than cats. Chances are, they will break the toy quite fast.
As soon as the stuffing starts falling out – it’s time to replace the toy. Besides catnip, the toy may contain other materials that are dangerous to your pet.