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Cat suddenly developing strong dislike for catnip?
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Cat suddenly developing strong dislike for catnip?

Can a cat who's always loved catnip and gotten "high" on it suddenly develop a strong dislike to it?

I bought some catnip seed heads at a pet store because it claimed they were extra potent. I thought why not try it. I think the claim it was grown in the United States. Waldo has always loved catnip and would get pretty high. I just wanted to boost his spirits. He's a cat that absolutely gets no fun out of anything except food. (It didn't used to be that way.)

I gave some to him coming back from the store. He seemed to like it. I also had gotten a few catnip toys, thinking they were cute, and hopelessly thinking some new toys would help perk his interest.  He seemed to go after one of the toys for a short time. I thought maybe I hadn't wasted my money after all.

I also got an orange plastic worm shaped toy, hoping that he would chew on it to boost his dental health. It had catnip infused in it. (the claim on the package). Not only did he ignore it but he walked away. He wouldn't have anything to do with it. I tried to store it with the catnip and his other new toys.
Now he won't touch any of them.
Was there something in the plastic that contaminated everything, or did my cat suddenly develop a dislike for anything related to catnip? Or did I just get a bad batch of catnip?

Some things I've tried:

- Rubbing it on things like his scratching post and scratch pad. He initially scratched his post, but now won't touch either of them since I rubbed the catnip on them. He sniffs and walks away.
- rubbing it to a near powder or crushing it in my hands. Had no effect. He'd lick a little, then look throughly disgusted and near gag.
- mix it with some of his food (canned). Not only did he refuse to eat it, but now he doesn't want to eat his canned catfood tonight without the catnip. I hope I didn't make him adverse to the food.


I'm quite worried now. I really enjoyed seeing Waldo roll on the floor and get high off catnip. I really hope those days aren't over, but could it be true?  Is there any chance he will like catnip again? Is it even possible for cats to suddenly do this?

I tried to look it up on google, but all I could find was that some cats react to catnip and some don't. It's a genetic reaction. What it doesn't explain is why a cat who used to enjoy catnip would suddenly go to great lengths to dislike it or anything that it touches.  Or was it the plastic or materials in the cat toys that contaminated it?

Could I have a cat who is sensitive to certain chemicals in modern plastics? This I haven't read about anywhere. I'm just really puzzled. If I got a new batch of catnip would his reaction be any different? Should I forget about buying catnip period? (or trying to grow seeds and give fresh)
Tags: cat, suddenly, dislike, Dislikes, adverse, reaction, catnip, plastic, toys
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14 Comments Post a Comment
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874521_tn?1375890587
My cats never did take to any catnip and I've tried various types..in toys as well!

strange that Waldo would suddenly not like his, I think you maybe right in thinking that its something to do with the smell of the plastic, remember there are many ingredients going into the manufacturing of plastic.
I've also found with other pets I've had (that did like catnip)...that weren't at all interested in toys that supposedly contained it....could it be that the catnip is so old in these toys that it no longer has any smell??

If I were you I would discontinue the use of ANY catnip for awhile, now he may have developed a dislike due to the one with the plastic smell??

good luck
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242912_tn?1374091204
Hi MJ,

I don't know for sure, but maybe Waldo has become immune to the cat nip smell or is tired of it.  That's what it sounds like...like he's overloaded.  Have you ever had a strong smelling candle or potpourri in your home that you could no longer smell, but others could?  I had a neighbor who had alot of potpourri throughout her large home and the odor was so strong I was not only overwhelmed by it, but the odor would cling to my clothes, however, my neighbor would say she couldn't smell it at all anymore and that's because she lived in it and had gotten used to it.  Maybe Waldo has become hypersensitive to the smell since it's in his toys and food and a good thing has turned bad for him...he is just overwhelmed.  

Maybe try removing all catnip products for a few weeks and then reintroduce and see what happens?
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365714_tn?1292202708
I did stop giving him catnip for a long time. It was just recently I tried to give him another batch. I am wondering if it may not have to do with the cat toys. I could smell the catnip, but they had sort of a leathery smell because of the material.

When we had Sahib, he would enjoy any toy thrown. He also liked catnip, but unlike Waldo it had no effect on him. He just ate it and would fight Waldo to get more. Waldo would try to defend his catnip but gave up.
I thought maybe some of it had to do with Waldo expecting another cat to come and rob/fight him, but since Sahib is gone, I don't know.

On an odd note, last night I had Waldo up in my room and he started playing briefly with a broken African violet leaf on the ground. I'll see if I can put away all the cat toys and try to separate out things he may like. If I get any new catnip I won't try to store any toys with it. There must be some sort of chemical smell he can pick up.

For the record neither cat enjoyed the catnip oil spray I tried to get one time. The plastic worm smells strongly of catnip but somewhat like the catnip oil spray. I'm leaning towards thinking the catnip got contaminated, because he did like it initially until I had the thought to store it in a glass jar with the cat toys. Then the next day, he refused any of them.

Well, I'll try planting a few of the catnip seeds indoors and see how it goes. I doubt we have enough light to keep them over the winter, but at least I'll find out if the seed is viable. Waldo used to enjoy catnip dried that we picked from our garden. (my parent's house.) But here it grows very poorly outside and whatever does grow, gets uprooted by other cats.
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587315_tn?1333556383
Here are my thoughts!  If you've switched brands on him, it could be that he just doesn't like the new stuff you got him.  Or, another big possibility, maybe he misses Sahib.  He could be lonely.  I totally believe that cats get upset and grieve, too.  I'm sure you're still very upset and it's gonna take a long time for the pain to ease.  So maybe this is the case with Waldo.

I'd go back to the usual brand of catnip, and see how he does w/ that.  And, come back and let us know how he does!!!

How's your job going?  And, how are you liking it?
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242912_tn?1374091204
I agree with ZQ on her points.  

I would also get some new catnip and store it by itself.  If You think the catnip smells leathery and that's not the usual smell, then maybe it's been contaminated like you said and just a new fresh batch is what's needed.

Good luck, MJ.  I can see you and Waldo really enjoy the catnip :)
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587315_tn?1333556383
I've actually had cats that have turned their noses up at certain brands.  One brand that cats really really LOVE is Cosmic Catnip!!  That's the most potent stuff around!!  LOL
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740516_tn?1360946086
My kittens are naturally born 'plugged in'. No capnip need :-)
I started calling the boys "duracell Kittens".
If you guys need some move around, just give provisory home for some baby, I know there are places in USA where you can do it
Maybe Valdo loves cat sittering also...
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365714_tn?1292202708
I wonder. Whenever I try to throw a toy, it does seem like Waldo waits and sees if Sahib will run after it.

Becoming a senior, probably about 14/15 years old, there's not much that seems to interest him besides food and sleep, but one thing Waldo did do was play/fight with Sahib.

I still do miss Sahib. There's a lot I wish I would have done with him and stuff I did that I wish I could do more. He was the cat to play with,t hough I didn't always have the time or the patience.

In part, thinking about it, I really wish I could have a cat like Sahib, or at least a younger cat to play with and let Waldo be where he is, content to sleep and cuddle with me in bed. Maybe I'm trying to replace some of Sahib with Waldo and that isn't going to happen considering Waldo's a whole different cat and different age. I've had Waldo longer. Waldo was playful when we got him, but he got tired of playing, which is okay.

I saw some cats at petsmart (foster/ rescue cats) and I was drawn to a female, but *sigh* my grandma refused. I'm open to adopting or fostering another cat, but it doesn't look likely at this time. Plus I'll have to wait until after I move, what kind of home/apartment I find, how many pets they will allow if at all.

As far as my job goes, I can say eh, in some ways I'm doing well, and in others it's not going well. Other than occasionally being off by a dollar (which is the most serious thing), I'm doing okay. The customers seem to be happy with my service (most except for some rude one...but that's life I guess)

Business wise, I expect to be laid off at the end of the "season" I'm working. :(  Business has been very poor and doing the math, most days it looks like I'm not making near my salary. This isn't my fault. Other workers have reported poor sales in their area as well.

But I guess we will see.
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365714_tn?1292202708
There I went again. Giving too much information about everything. No one cares to reply. Can I kindly have this topic deleted.
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Avatar_f_tn
It sounds as if Waldo and Sahib were very close, even though Sahib was the alpha.  I do not know when Sahib passed away, you didn't give that information.  Cats DO go through a grieving period, and even become depressed!

Catnip is not all the same.  I don't buy our catnip from anywhere except the local health food store (i also use as a tea to help me sleep).  It is organic, already dried and ready to go.   My cats were not interested in catnip at all before I brought this home (and it was for me..not them...  lol).  But being wise and ingenious cats they opened the top cupboard door, got the bag and ripped it open and had just a jolly good time...  lol

I would think Waldo is grieving more than anything.  I know some ppl say that cats don't bond with each other, but that is BS!!!  Sure there is always a hierarchy, but that is with all living creatures.

Fostering cats is very difficult when there is already a cat in the home.  Cats are very territorial, as we all should know.  And often there will be fights because of insecurity, having been the alpha or newly becoming the alpha, abuse memories, etc....  unless Waldo is willing to allow another cat in the house it is best not to foster.

At his age...I think you said  he was 13/14?  it is best to adopt a neutered male that is under the age of 3.  At that age they are still 'kits' but they are also adults in cat years. The younger will test the older and soon learn (not by fighting, but through communication) that they are the submissive.

Keeping you in my thoughts
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365714_tn?1292202708
I got another bag of catnip. Ordered it from petco online. (petco brand.) I showed the bag to Waldo and he wanted to tear into it. I rubbed some of it on his scratching board. He liked it but didn't get high. He just kind of rubbed his head on it a couple times, then conked out.

Perhaps he's outgrown that phase in his life. I guess I have to accept it. A good thing is, he seems to be using the scratching board and perching on it.
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Avatar_f_tn
He hasn't outgrown catnip.  My cats conkout also....so do most cats that I have worked with.  

If you want your cat to 'get high'  blow pot into its ear....but you don't want to do that cause i would be probably track you down and report you!

The use of catnip is to NOT to get them high, although some (but not many) cats get rambunctious with catnip.   Most just simply calm down, or do what your cat has displayed.

if you sprinkle it on the floor and let him roll around in it he will be happy as a 'lark' and then simply 'rest'.    

Remember, although catnip is 'not addictive', it should not be used for behaviour modification, or more importantly as a substitue for interaction!
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365714_tn?1292202708
That was kind of rude.
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Avatar_f_tn
It wasn't meant to be rude, it was meant as a joke!!!!  Anyone who would do that needs to be locked up for life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

btw I am not a pot smoker!  But pets have been removed from homes because of the owner abusing the pet by feeding them alcohol and getting them high.
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