are perfect people pleasers. Some of us choose canines and
some of us fancy felines. And our endless devotion to our adopted
"children" does not go unnoticed by marketers.
Pets now have their own warehouse stores, magazines, designer
clothes and chic salons. But, what about what they prefer?
Do they like doggy dress up and kitty condos? What about
designer donuts and puffy pompadours? Or is this OUR
passionate persuasion? Frankly, Fido's idea of fun
seems to be a roll in the, well, you know, instead of a dip in the
shampoo, fragrantly scented or not. And Sassy seems
satisfied with string. So what can we do for our friends
that will satisfy OUR nurturing need and THEIR inner intuitions?
FAVORITE FELINE FETISHES
must admit I didn't think there was a thing I could say
about catnip that everyone didn't know already. I
started an Internet search to see if I could find something
more interesting to share other than what has been written
time after time. Mostly what I found was a lot of catnip
selling going on. I mean how many ways do you need to wrap
up dried catnip so Kitty can play.
was heartened to see organic catnip toys offered. Although
I can't imagine why catnip would need to be grown any other
way. It grows easily both from seed and transplants and
tolerates many different climates and soil conditions. I
did learn a few out of the ordinary tidbits. For example, lions
love it too. Good for all of us who have a zoo. And,
that baby kitties aren't affected by it. There are
ants that produce the same chemical catnip does that drives some
cats crazy, if they can find the ants. And cats seem to know when
they have had enough so they don't become nip dependent.
As a matter of fact, when faced with frolicking with it
every day, they become bored, better to bury it in the bureau for
a bit now and then. After looking at a bunch of sites on
the Internet I did find one nice offering from The National
Resource Council of Canada, which we placed on our
Nepeta genus is quite large. Often there is some confusion
over common names. In Europe, Nepeta cataria is often
called Catnep or Catmint. Catmint is a name we reserve for
ornamental Nepetas. These Nepetas like grandiflora
siberica are sprawling bluish purple flowered herbaceous plants
suitable for borders and mixed perennial gardens. And,
while I think they are wonderfully cinnamon scented, cats
don't show any desire to romp in these.
read several references about cats destroying transplants before
they can become established and was surprised because we have
never had this problem with catnip. Cat Thyme (see below) is another story.
Cats are attracted to freshly tilled soil. So it would
probably help to put your new plants in an established garden
with some coarse bark chips around it. Catnip reseeds readily and
if you don't want a lot of it all over it might be wise to
make sure it doesn't set seeds. This also happens to
be good for harvesting. Like most culinary herbs by the
time the seeds are formed the vigor and oils of the leaves have
declined. For the best kitty nip cut the plant in full
flower. Hang the entire plant upside down in a warm, dry
and dark space. As soon as it's crispy dry, strip the leaves
and seal them in an airtight container out of the light.
Avoid crumbling until you want to stuff it in something, like a miniature Christmas stocking or a child's old
cotton sock. The euphoric effect can be savored with a fresh stem
also. If your cat doesn't go outside it will enjoy
something fresh and green from your garden.
I first became acquainted with Cat Thyme, I thought of it
more as something you might foist off on your worst enemy instead
of as a treat for my tabby. Where catnip is musty and green
smelling, Cat Thyme smells like something died. CATS
LOVE IT. Another interesting observation about Catnip is
that not all cats like it. For those persnickety pussycats
we recommend Cat Thyme. A member of the Teucrium genus,
this plant looks like a Thyme. However, like most of its
fellow Teucriums, it is not culinary. Just don't try
to convince cats of that. Sometimes getting a stand of this
slow growing perennial gem established is tough. We had to
cage our first plants with upside down gopher cages because they
kept getting munched. After they start growing, a few
nibbles here and there don't hurt. It is a favorite napping
plant for our cat. Of course, this always wreaks havoc with the
perfectly pruned hedge I keep trying to trim it into. If
your cat goes for Cat Thyme, you will probably need more than one, because
each one only grows to about 10 inches. It has bright
magenta flowers and blooms in summer for about three or four
weeks. After which, the dead flower stems need to be
sheared off. Because it grows slowly, Cat Thyme makes a
well behaved potted plant. It only takes a sprig to bring inner
peace and contentment to your kitty and it can be dried and
still have an effect. For drying, it is best to cut the sprigs
when flowering starts or after the plant starts to recover
from the shearing you gave it. Dry whole sprigs wrapped in little
bundles and store in an airtight container. It's hard
to get enough leaves, because they are so small, to stuff any
thing with so just open the jar and give your pal a posy
now and then.
we are getting into understandable likes. Who doesn't
prize peppermint or salivate for
spearmint? Mint may actually
have met its match when it comes to the cat. Sometimes they
just chew and rub on it so much the plant has to be replaced.
Just what we all need-mint control. Unless you
have lots of gardening ground to give up, keep your mint confined
to a container. Mints like sunshine and water. Shade
makes wimpy plants. Cut it back to the ground a couple of
times a year and don't expect to see it over the winter.
Of course, it may be dried but Puss prefers it fresh.
Throw some dried leaves into the catnip sock and make
variety doesn't seem to make much difference. But then we
have not done a blind meow test to see if species matters.
Perhaps, Southern felines prefer Kentucky Colonel
while California Cats choose Chocolate
Mint. Anyone have
any info on this let us know.
really is not so surprising that Catnip, Cat Thyme and Mint are
each attractive to cats. They all come from the same family, Lamiaceae. Of course, Oregano and
Lavender come from this
family and cats don't seem to care a whit about those.
Ah! Sweet mysteries of Life.
hesitate to mention Valerian since it is not something we have
seen first hand but it, too, is written of in connection with
cats. Anybody seen Felix chewing on the Valerian? It
makes sense because like Catnip it helps you to sleep, and like
Cat Thyme it really stinks. Rats are supposed to be attracted to
Valerian and maybe the cats are after the rats. Folklore
suggests the Pied Piper had Valerian in his pocket. I
wonder if the people of Hamlin missed their cats too? There
are medicinal uses of herbs for cats as well and valerian is
suggested as a nervine. Something to soothe those touchy cat
nerves. Something to check out with the Vet.
plant to grow for dogs is Dog Grass, Anthoxanthum
just don't seem as attracted to vegetation as cats do, maybe
they are more discriminating or maybe they prefer less fresh
food. Most seem to zone in on the oldest can of garbage in
the bin. But they do love Vanilla Grass. Also known as
Sweet Vernal Grass, Anthoxanthum is not native to North America
but grows abundantly in much of the Northern United States. It grows well in pots. Some folks say it may cause
allergies when it flowers, we can't say because our dogs
don't let it get that tall. In Europe it is grown for
hay. We have actually found our dogs asleep using a flat of Vanilla Grass as a pillow. Of course, they chewed a bit
before snoozing. It's a dog's life!