How Long Should Cats Play With Catnip Toys For?

Catnip toys can be used as a special treat to get your cats to be more affectionate and playful. Using catnip can be an effective method to warm up your cat for more play and entertainment. But the effects are only temporary and your cat can quickly become used to their catnip if you leave it out too long.

If you do give your cats catnip toys to munch on through the day, you should consider putting them away for special occasions so you and your cat get the best value out of them. We’ve researched how long catnip toys should be left out for and the safe use of them for play.

How long should cats play with catnip toys

Catnip toys will only really be effective for about ten minutes after your cat first gets an exposure to them. An oil in catnip has a particular smell that is similar to the hormones given off by female cats in heat. When a cat first smells this, their natural reaction is to become excited and friendly. This will make them more playful and energetic for a short period of time. After this initial burst of excitement, their bodies will become used to the smell and the effects will wear off rather quickly.

This means that to get the maximum value out of your catnip toys, you should only be letting your cat play with them for ten minute intervals. Leaving them out all day will mean that your cat will become used to the smell and bored. Catnip will become useless if you leave it out constantly. Even new fresh catnip will have its effects damped by the fact that your cat has become accustomed to the smell.

After letting your cat play with their catnip toy for ten minutes, put it away from your cat so the next time they play is just as enjoyable. You should wait atleast thirty minutes for the effects of catnip to be noticable again. Cats have exceptionally strong senses of smell. Ideally you should put your catnip toys in a different room or in a sealed container when they aren’t being used.  

Is leaving catnip toys out for my cat safe?

Your cat probably won’t go through any serious complications if you accidentally leave a cat nip toy out or if they play with it for a long time. There is no evidence that cats will become ill just by smelling catnip for too long, the effects just become weaker.

Catnip is only mildly dangerous for cats when they eat a lot of it. Studies have shown that eating large amounts of catnip can cause diarrhea, wet and dry vomiting, and a lack of coordination. It’s not clear how much catnip is needed to be eaten to cause these symptoms but they should go away in time when. Fresh catnip is a lot stronger than dry. If you make your own toys with your own catnip make sure you aren’t overwhelming your cat’s senses.

Your cat won’t be eating catnip from their toy unless they break into it. Even then, catnip toys usually only contain a small amount of dry catnip which is fairly weak. Unless your toy is filled with a very large amount of catnip, your cat will be okay. The most dangerous part of most catnip toys will be parts that can break off and be eaten by your cat. Avoid buying cheaper catnip toys that can easily break or have loose strings on them. These can be eaten by your cat and cause obstructiuons in their intestines. If this happens, you need to take your cat to the vet for them so they can get immediate treatment before serious damage happens to their body.

How long does catnip in a toy last?

The oils in dry catnip normally used in toys will last for about two years assuming that it has been stored in a sealed container. When you a catnip toy there is no guarantee when the to was made and how long it has been stored for. Unfortunately, the only way to tell if your catnip is still good in these cases is to see if your cat is interested. Even then, only about 60% of cats are affected by catnip.

If you want to see if catnip is effective for your cat, you can grow fresh catnip outside at home and see if it has any effect on your cat. Fresh catnip won’t last very long after it has been picked but its effects should be much stronger than any dry catnip.


Catnip toys should only be left out occasionally for your cat to play with in fifteen-minute sessions. This is to keep your cat interested in catnip rather than for any safety reasons. Leaving catnip out all the time will stop it from being effective so you and your cat won’t get the befits of more energetic play and affection. If you do leave a catnip toy out for your cat, there aren’t anu real safety concerns you should have for them. Cats only become a little ill if they eat a large amount of catnip in a short amount of time.