Did you know cat nip toys can be dangerous for your kitty? Cat nip can have adverse effects on your sweet feline, and you might not know what's causing such strange behavior until your cat is utterly addicted to its cat nip toys.

When I think of cat nip toys, I'm always reminded of Puss in Boots in "Shrek 2." When Shrek, Donkey and Puss in Boots get arrested in Far Far Away, the authorities pull a bag of cat nip out of Puss's satchel. He quickly exclaims, "Uh, that's not mine!" What were the writers referring to here? Why drugs, of course.

The Princeton University dictionary says cat nip is also called "catmint," a potent herb that cats are strongly attracted to. In some cases it acts as a sort of pheromone, stimulating a cat's sexual behavior – which is just a little weird.

Just like any drug, cat nip toys can get addictive. Your cat might begin to have cravings for its cat nip toys, and if you take it away, it might experience mild withdrawal symptoms for the next few days.

So what is your best recourse?

Basically, it's to never give your cat any cat nip toys to begin with.

Just as you would never give your child illegal drugs that stimulate destructive or addictive behavior, you shouldn't give it to your cat either – no matter how much it enjoys playing with a cat nip toy.

So are there alternatives to cat nip toys?


Although your cat might not take the toy as quickly as it takes to cat nip, it will be a lot safer for it in the long run. Make sure you spend time playing with your cat and its new toy. Place the toy in the cat food or cat treat bin so it picks up a pungent smell and attracts your cat to play with it.

One of my favorite things to do with my cat is to toss its ball down the stairs. She loves to chase it at top speed. She's even better at fetching it than my dog ever was – and that was in his job description no less!

Make sure that whatever toy you replace the cat nip toys with is mouth-sized and fun to chew. Cats like soft, chewy toys better than hard, rattling balls in many cases. These are easier for them to pick up, carry around and cuddle in the cat bed.

What if your cat is already addicted to cat nip toys? Wean it off slowly. Don't give it 24/7 access to the cat nip toy. Don't let it sleep with the toy, either. Decrease its access to the toy by an hour or so each day before taking it away completely.

During that time, introduce the new toy. Your cat might not want anything to do with it at first. You might even have to try different styles of toys. But more than anything, it's important to get your cat off that cat nip toy!