Many people who own both a cat and a hedgehog are keen to find out if their spiny mammal companion can share in the recreational fun of their feline friend. The good news is that, yes, hedgehogs can and do enjoy catnip! One of the most important things to understand about hedgehog and catnip interaction is that not all hedgehogs like catnip. Some are indifferent, while others downright despise it. Because of this wide range of responses, it is important to always introduce catnip to your hedgehog cautiously. Begin by using a small amount, and never leave a hedgehog unattended with a catnip toy. Hedgehogs tend to dig around catnip-infused items, often for hours. Some roll over the toy, trying to rub it onto their sides and belly.
This behavior is perfectly normal and harmless, and if you witness it, you can feel confident that your hedgehog is enjoying the catnip! Like cats, some hedgehogs also become more active when they encounter catnip, while others become slow Can Hedgehogs Have Catnip and lethargic. When introducing catnip to your hedgy, it is important to never let him eat it. This is because, just like with cats, hedgehogs can become Over-stimulated and experience health issues if they eat too much. Since hedgehogs are not as well-studied as cats, it is difficult to know exactly why catnip has an effect on them. It is believed that the main active ingredient in catnip, nepetalactone, may interact with neurotransmitters in their brains, causing this enjoyable reaction.
So if you are considering adding a catnip toy to your hedgehog’s list of “things to do,” it is important to keep your hedgy safety in mind. Start with small amounts, and supervise your pet while he plays. If you notice any signs of Over-stimulation or other medical issues, contact your veterinarian immediately. It is a popular belief amongst pet owners and hedgehog fanciers that hedgehogs have a special relationship to catnip. Many observe that their hedgehogs become markedly more energetic when exposed to the potent herb, similar to the effect it has on cats.