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Can a Pregnant Cat Have Catnip? What You Need to Know!

Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Paola Cuevas

Vet, MVZ

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Catnip can be a fun and tasty treat for your cat. If you have a pregnant cat, though, you might wonder if it’s safe to give her catnip — after all, you don’t want to harm your cat or her kittens. While catnip is generally considered safe for all cats, it is better to avoid it if your cat is pregnant.


Is Catnip Safe for Pregnant Cats?

There is no evidence that catnip is harmful to pregnant cats or their kittens. However, it is still recommended to avoid catnip use while your cat is pregnant, as it has the potential to induce labor in the latter stages of pregnancy.

Some cats can become overly excited when they have catnip or may become restless or agitated, this is not ideal if the cat is in the last trimester of its pregnancy.

Pregnant cat lying in the grass
Image Credit: abubibolabu, Pixabay

Does Catnip Induce Labor?

Yes, catnip can induce labor in pregnant cats, which is why it is generally avoided. However, some experts believe that catnip can have significant stress-relieving properties for expectant mothers nearing labor.

There is no reliable evidence that catnip is safe or unsafe for pregnant cats. But catnip was used in traditional human medicine for its ability to induce uterine contractions.  As such catnip should be avoided by pregnant women and was traditionally used to induce menstruation. Given the lack of feline scientific research into this topic, it is safest to err on the side of caution and avoid its use in most pregnant cat cases.

Can Nursing Cats Eat Catnip?

While it is considered safe to feed catnip to a nursing mother, monitoring how your cat reacts to it is important. While catnip can have calming, stress-relieving effects in some cats, it causes overexcitability in others. If your nursing cat gets overly active or excited on catnip, it may be best to wait until her kittens are weaned in order to avoid negative effects.

catnip leaves
Image Credit: lwccts, Pixabay

What Foods Are Dangerous for Pregnant Cats?

Certain precautions should be taken with pregnant cats to avoid complications.

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  • Tuna — Tuna can contain high levels of mercury, which can damage the nervous system of the fetus(es).
  • Milk — Milk can cause diarrhea in cats.
  • Grapes and raisins — Grapes and raisins have the potential to cause kidney failure in pregnant cats.

The best diet for a pregnant cat is nutritionally complete high-calorie kitten food. If you have concerns about what to feed your cat, it’s always best to speak with your veterinarian.


Final Thoughts

Catnip can induce labor and it’s best to avoid giving catnip to a pregnant cat. While there is still conflicting evidence as to whether it should be done. Most experts recommend avoiding catnip, as it can induce labor in pregnant mothers. Others feel that there may be stress-relief benefits. Your veterinarian is the best person to ask about what you can and cannot feed your cat during pregnancy.

Featured Image Credit: Badon Hill Studio, Shutterstock

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