Best Catnip Toys for Cats: Top Picks and Tips - Zach's Pet Shop

Are you searching for the best catnip toys for cats? Pet owners may be familiar with the joys of catnip toys, which can provide cats hours of fun and stimulation.

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the fascinating world of catnip toys, exploring their effects on our furry companions and offering top recommendations to keep your kitty blissfully engaged. 

We'll begin by examining the science behind catnip's allure for felines and discuss how genetics play a role in determining whether or not your beloved pet will be susceptible to its enchanting properties.

Next, we'll introduce some popular catnip toy options that are sure to entice even the most discerning kitties.

Additionally, we'll share tips on effectively introducing new toys as well as creating an indoor garden oasis complete with wheatgrass pots.

For those whose cats don't respond to traditional catnip products, fear not! We will also explore alternative options such as silver vine while addressing any safety concerns and potential side effects.

Finally, learn what factors to consider when purchasing high-quality catnip toys for cats from reputable sources – ensuring durability and safe materials that cater specifically to your feline friend's needs. 

Table of Contents:

Understanding Catnip and Its Effects on Cats

Catnip, a member of the mint family, contains nepetalactone, which affects cats' happy receptors in their brains.

About half of all cats inherit sensitivity to catnip, with reactions varying from rolling around or rubbing their face against it to vocalising or becoming hyperactive.

The Science Behind Catnip's Effect on Felines

Nepeta cataria, commonly known as catnip, is a perennial herb that produces nepetalactone - an essential oil responsible for catnip's allure. When cats respond to catnip, they typically exhibit behaviors similar to those displayed during mating rituals.

This response is due to the chemical compound binding with olfactory receptors in the nasal cavity and stimulating neurons that trigger various brain regions associated with emotions and behavior.

Genetic Factors Determining Sensitivity to Catnip

  • Inheritance: Research has shown that sensitivity to catnip is inherited through genes passed down from parents. If both parent cats are sensitive to this plant's effects, there is a higher likelihood that their offspring will also respond positively.
  • Breed Variations: While most domesticated breeds can be affected by potent catnip, some species such as Siamese may not react at all due to genetic differences among them.
  • Age Factor: Kittens under six months old generally do not respond to catnip, as their olfactory system is not yet fully developed. Similarly, older cats may also exhibit a reduced response due to age-related decline in sensory perception.

This is completely normal and does not mean there's anything wrong with your pet - they simply don't have the genetic predisposition for enjoying this particular plant.

To find out if your furry friend falls into the category of susceptible felines who enjoy kitty bliss, introduce them gradually using small amounts of catnip toys infused with oils or containing dried catnip leaves like those available from Zach's Pet Shop.

Cats love playing with catnip toys and will often respond positively to them. Just make sure to use catnip that is safe for your pet and avoid giving them too much, as excessive consumption can lead to vomiting or diarrhea.

Realising the scientific aspects of catnip and its consequences on cats is essential for making informed choices when picking out amusements for your pet feline.

Next, let's explore some of the top catnip toys for cats available that are sure to bring hours of fun and entertainment for your furry companion.

Key Takeaway: 

Catnip, a member of the mint family, contains nepetalactone which affects cats' happy receptors in their brains. About half of all cats inherit sensitivity to catnip, with reactions varying from rolling around or rubbing their face against it to vocalising or becoming hyperactive.

Top 7 Catnip Toys for Your Feline Friend

Ensure your feline friend's amusement with catnip-infused toys designed specifically for their enjoyment. These high-quality products are designed specifically for your furry friends' enjoyment. Here's a list of the top seven catnip toys available at Zach's Pet Shop:

  1. All For Paws - Natural Instincts Catnip Bird: This soft toy is filled with natural instincts bird scent, providing an irresistible aroma that will entice your feline friend. The realistic design also adds visual appeal, making it one of the best catnip toys on the market.
  2. Green Rush - Playball With Catnip Oil Refill: A fun and interactive option, this play ball features a refillable compartment containing potent green rush oil blend. It encourages exercise and mental stimulation in cats while they enjoy their favorite cat toy.
  3. All For Paws - Natural Instinct Jittering Fish Trout: Cats go wild for this fish-shaped toy with enticing jittery movements powered by AA batteries (not included). Its lifelike appearance combined with its motion makes it one of the most popular cat toys infused with catnip.
  4. KONG - Wrangler Avocato: This adorable avocado-shaped toy is perfect for cats who love to wrestle and play. The KONG Wrangler Avocato contains potent catnip, making it a great choice for keeping your feline friend entertained.
  5. All For Paws - Natural Instinct Bouncing Bird: With its realistic design and bouncing motion, this bird toy will have your cat leaping with joy. Infused with natural instincts scent, it's an excellent option for encouraging active playtime in your furry companion.
  6. All For Paws - Natural Instincts Bird Wand: A fantastic interactive option, this wand features a plush toy bird attached to a long string that you can dangle and move around to entice your cat into chasing it. The added bonus of infused catnip makes this bird wand even more appealing.
  7. All For Paws - Natural Instinct Flying Bird Wand: Similar to the previous wand but featuring a much longer stick, this fun toy encourages exercise while providing hours of entertainment thanks to its irresistible combination of movement and enticing aroma from the infused catnip. 

With these top-rated catnip toys, you're sure to find the perfect fit for your feline friend. So why wait? Start shopping now and watch your cat enjoy hours of fun and excitement.

Now let's look at how to encourage active playtime using infused toys.

Key Takeaway: 

Zach's Pet Shop offers a range of high-quality and affordable catnip-infused toys for cats. From realistic bird designs to interactive wands, these toys are perfect for keeping your feline friend entertained and active while providing hours of fun and excitement.

 Catnip toys can be effective at stimulating play and exercise

Encouraging Active Playtime Using Infused Toys

To encourage positive behaviours in your feline friend such as exercise and mental stimulation, try incorporating catnip-infused toys into their daily routine.

Place them near scratching posts, a cat bed or other areas where you want them to focus their energy while experimenting until you find the perfect fit for your furry companion.

Tips for Introducing New Infused Toys into Playtime Routines

  1. Start slow: Introduce one toy at a time to gauge your cat's interest and avoid overwhelming them with too many options.
  2. Mix it up: Rotate different infused toys regularly so that they remain fresh and exciting for your feline friend. This will also help prevent boredom from setting in due to over-familiarity with certain items.
  3. Incorporate interactive play sessions: Use wand-style catnip toys like the All For Paws Natural Instincts Bird Wand during active playtimes together. These allow you both to bond while encouraging physical activity.
  4. Praise good behavior: Celebrate when your cats respond positively towards their new infused toy by offering praise, affection, or even treats. Positive reinforcement can go a long way in making sure they continue engaging healthily with these products.
  5. Create a stimulating environment: Scatter various types of cat toys, including those infused with potent catnip, around the room to keep your kitty engaged and curious.

Monitor your pet's reactions when introducing new toys to ensure that the catnip-infused product is suitable for their playtime preferences.

If any indications of hostility or over-excitement appear, take away the toy and attempt again later with a different choice. It may take some trial and error before finding the perfect fit for your kitty's playtime preferences.

By following these suggestions, you can ensure that your beloved feline remains active, healthy and amused while they indulge in their favourite catnip toys. So go ahead - let them indulge in a little bit of kitty bliss.

By introducing infused toys into your cat's playtime routine, you can encourage active and stimulating play that will keep them happy and healthy.

Moving on to alternative options for cats not sensitive to catnip, it is important to monitor their reaction and adjust toy usage accordingly.

Key Takeaway: 

Encourage your cat's exercise and mental stimulation by introducing top-rated catnip-infused toys into their daily routine. Start slow, mix it up with different infused toys regularly and praise good behaviour.

Alternative Options for Cats Not Sensitive to Catnip

If your feline friend falls into the category of cats that do not respond to catnip, don't worry. There are alternative options available that can still provide a stimulating and enjoyable playtime experience.

One such option is silver vine (Actinidia polygama), which has been shown to elicit similar reactions in susceptible felines.

Introducing Silver Vine as an Alternative Stimulant

Silver vine, also known as matatabi or cat powder, is a plant native to Asia that contains actinidine - a compound with effects comparable to nepetalactone found in catnip.

To introduce silver vine into your kitty's playtime routine, you can purchase toys infused with this potent stimulant or sprinkle dried silver vine leaves onto their existing toys, cat bed and scratching posts.

It's essential to monitor your cat's reaction when introducing any new substance like silver vine or fresh catnip.

Monitoring Your Cat's Reaction and Adjusting Toy Usage Accordingly

  • Observe: Keep an eye on how your cats react when they first encounter catnip alternatives like silver vine. Some may show immediate interest, while others might take some time before responding positively.
  • Moderation: While it is impossible for cats to overdose on either catnip or silver vine, excessive consumption could cause mild gastrointestinal distress. Ensure you're providing these stimulants in moderation during play sessions.
  • Variety: Offer different types of toys infused with various stimulants to keep your cats engaged and entertained. Experiment with different forms of catnip, silver vine, or even a combination of both to find the perfect fit for your feline friend.

Remember that not all cats will respond positively to every type of stimulant. It's essential to be patient and try various options until you discover what works best for your furry companion.

As always, prioritise safety by purchasing high-quality toys from reputable sources like Zach's Pet Shop and regularly inspecting them for signs of wear and tear.

For cats not sensitive to catnip, silver vine can be a great alternative stimulant for their toys. It is vital to select robust materials for toys that will endure and be inspected often for any damage or wear.

Key Takeaway: 

For cats that don't respond to catnip, silver vine is a great alternative stimulant. Silver vine can be introduced into your kitty's playtime routine by purchasing toys infused with it or sprinkling dried leaves onto existing toys. It's important to monitor your cat's reaction when introducing any new substance.

Ensuring Safety and Quality in Your Cat's Playtime

Selecting high-quality products tailored specifically towards your pet's needs and preferences from reputable sources like Zach's Pet Shop ensures maximum enjoyment during playtime sessions while keeping safety at the forefront.

In this section, we will discuss the importance of choosing durable materials for long-lasting toys and recognising signs of wear and tear in infused toys.

Importance of Choosing Durable Materials for Long-Lasting Toys

When shopping for catnip toys, it is essential to consider their durability as well as how they are made. Look for toys that use non-toxic materials, such as natural rubber or soft fabric, which can withstand your cat's playful nature without causing harm. Additionally, fresh catnip should be used to maintain its allure over time.

  • Natural rubber: A safe material that offers excellent resistance against chewing and clawing.
  • Fabric: Soft yet sturdy fabrics like fleece or plush provide comfort while still being able to endure a feline friend's roughhousing.
  • Fresh catnip: High-quality catnip plant or oil blends ensure longer-lasting effects on susceptible felines.

Recognizing Signs of Wear and Tear in Infused Toys

To keep your cats safe during playtime with their favourite catnip-infused toy, regularly inspect them for any damage or excessive wear. Here are some common indicators that it may be time to replace a toy:

  1. Damaged seams: If you notice any loose threads or torn seams, it's time to replace the toy as your cat may ingest these materials.
  2. Worn-out catnip: If the catnip aroma has dissipated and no longer elicits a reaction from your cats, consider investing in a new one. Some toys have refillable compartments for this purpose, like the Green Rush Playball With Catnip Oil Refill.
  3. Broken parts: Any broken or detached pieces can pose a choking hazard to your pet. Dispose of damaged toys immediately.

Ensuring the safety and quality of your cat's playtime is essential for their health and happiness. By choosing durable materials and regularly inspecting infused toys for signs of wear, you can ensure that your feline friend enjoys countless hours of fun while staying safe.

Key Takeaway: 

Choose high-quality, durable catnip toys made of non-toxic materials. Regularly inspect the toys for signs of wear and tear such as damaged seams, worn-out catnip, or broken parts that can pose a choking hazard. Keep your feline friend entertained with fresh catnip blends and refillable compartments while maintaining their well-being.

Catnip toys are safe and beneficial for most cats

FAQs in Relation to Catnip Toys for Cats

Is Catnip Safe for Cats?

Yes, catnip toys are safe and beneficial for most cats. Catnip is a natural herb that stimulates playfulness and exercise in felines without causing harm or addiction.

However, some cats may not respond to catnip due to genetics or age. Always introduce catnip slowing during supervised playtime and remove any damaged toys to prevent choking hazards.

Do Catnip Toys Work?

Catnip toys can be effective at stimulating play and exercise in many cats. Around 50-70% of felines have a genetic predisposition to react positively to the scent of catnip.

Cats who are sensitive will typically exhibit playful behaviours like rolling, rubbing, sniffing, licking, or chewing on the toy.

Is Too Much Catnip Bad for Cats?

In moderation, catnip is harmless for most cats; however, excessive exposure could lead to mild side effects such as vomiting or diarrhea.

It's important to monitor your pet's reaction when introducing new cat toys, including those with catnip. Limit their access if they show signs of distress or overstimulation.

How Often Should Cats Have Catnip Toys?

Cats can enjoy playing with their favourite catnip-infused toy several times per week without experiencing negative effects from overexposure.

Regularly rotating between different types of interactive and solo-play options helps maintain interest while preventing boredom and destructive behaviors.


Understanding the science behind catnip's effects and choosing the best catnip toys for cats from reputable sources are key to ensuring a safe and enjoyable playtime experience. Additionally, alternative options such as silver vine can be explored for non-catnipped cats.

If you're looking for top-quality catnip toys in Australia, check out Zach's Pet Shop! Our range of stimulating and cost-effective toys is sure to keep your kitty amused for hours.

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