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One of my cats seems to have an adverse reaction to catnip. When it is around, he gets agitated and attacks the other animals and anyone that comes near. It only happens with catnip-infused toys, but when he is exposed to ground catnip from a vial, he has no reaction what-so-ever.

Is there anything that can be done to improve his reaction, since the other cat loves catnip and has the normal, high reaction to it? Should I just avoid getting catnip infused toys for the house, or is there a way to remove the catnip, since everything seems to be infused with catnip?

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  • cats don't need catnip, there are toys that don't have catnip you just have to look for them Jan 19 '14 at 22:27
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According to the Manual of Clinical Behavior Medicine for Dogs and Cats (section on Eating Plants) some cats can become quite forceful from catnip but, while not desirable, is actually considered amongst the normal responses for cats. As noted in the book, the behaviors exhibited by cats in response to catnip is actually highly variable (apparently, cats in Australia are non-responsive, responsiveness is genetic).

So, alternatives? Have a look for honeysuckle toys. There is a similar, but not the same, compound in some varieties of honeysuckle that is in catnip. Toys with that may result in a less aggressive behaviour (or it could be worse, it's very cat dependent).

Another would be to look for valerian (it's a root) toys. Again, similar to honeysuckle, it's an alternative to catnip and may result in a more desirable behavior change.

Finally, catnip is a mint. You can try growing a spearmint plant and see if they like it, some do. However, please avoid peppermint for this purpose, it can be harmful to your cat.

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