Grow Your Own Catnip
Why Do Cats Love Catnip?
Those crazy cats! Give them a little sniff of catnip and they start running and jumping and rolling around. They do love their catnip!
But what is it about catnip that makes your cat do crazy things? And more important - is it dangerous?
Catnip is an herb. It's a member of the Mint family. And no, it is not dangerous or addictive for your cat. Or your kids. Or your dog.
It does contain a chemical - nepetalactone - and that's what triggers the response in your cat's brain, if your cat is the type that's susceptible to the charms of catnip. In fact, not every cat has a reaction to catnip. Kittens and older cats often don't even notice it. So if you've noticed that your feline friend really couldn't care less if there's catnip around or not, don't worry. There's nothing wrong with your cat.
Cats don't really eat catnip. What they're trying to do when they bite it is to bruise it to release the smell. It's the smell that triggers their comical response. Sometimes if your cat eats catnip he'll actually become sedate. And if he eats too much, he might get a tummy ache or have diarrhea.
If your cat is the type who goes crazy for catnip, after a 5 to 10 minutes he'll become desensitized to the smell and walk away to find something else to do. Once his nose settles down again, which might take a couple of hours, he'll be right back for another 'catnip fix'!
Cats Just Wanna Have Fun
How To Grow Catnip
Catnip is a perennial herb which means if you let it flower and turn to seed it will keep coming up, year after year. Common catnip (Nepeta cataria) is the variety that most cats prefer. It has white flowers and grows up to 3 feet tall.
Other varieties that your cat might enjoy include: Camphor Catnip which has white flowers and grows to 10 inches and smells like camphor, Lemon Catnip which also has white flowers and grows up to 3 feet tall and smells lemony, and Catmint which has purple flowers and grows to 15 inches high.
Catnip does best when planted in full sun but it will also grow in less sunny areas of your garden. Plant in well-drained loamy or sandy soil and water regularly. Plant late in the fall or early in the spring so the plants have plenty of time to become established.
If starting seeds indoors, start 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost and then plant 18-inches apart when you move them to your garden.
Trim back old growth in the early spring to make room for new growth.
Does Your Cat Love Catnip?
Vote in the Poll
Do TIGERS like catnip??
People Like Catnip, Too
There are some who say that catnip tea has a sedative effect on humans but since it's an herb there's no official scientific evidence to cite. And they also say it helps settle an upset stomach.
Those same folks say that if you place damp catnip leaves on a cut it will heal faster and that catnip tea will also relieve muscle aches and pains and toothaches.
And you can also dry catnip to use as an aromatic herb in sauces and salads.
Even better - Butterflies are attracted to catnip! So plant some in your garden this year and you'll have pretty butterflies to watch - along with your crazy cat!
200 Seeds, Catnip Herb
Cat-attracting perennial with gray-green leaves and white flowers.
Prefers an area of full sunlight and grows to a height of about 24 to 48 inches tall.
75-85 days to harvest when started indoors.
Complete planting and growing directions on seed packet.
Growing Herbs : Growing Catnip
I have planted a lot of catnip over the years. My cats went nuts when they smelled it. The flowerbed was absolutely flat! I dried the small bouquets and stuffed it into pieces of socks or just a little bag that I sew. Really nice for my darlings. I love cats.— Irenemaria from Sweden
Put the Catnip in a Hanging Pot If Your Cat Keeps Damaging the Plants
Catnip is an herb and there's nothing about it that will harm your cat. The problem is keeping your cat from harming the catnip!
Use a Shepherd's hook to raise catnip up out of reach if you're planting outside. Just be sure to position it away from the deck or fence or anything else your cat might be able to use to help climb the pole!
This Pole Stabs Into the Ground and the Plants Hang from the Hooks
Hanging Planters To Keep Catnip Out Of Harm's Way
Hang the catnip out of the cat's reach. Then you can give small amounts at a time. If you have the plant within reach of the cat, it will destroy the plant by rolling and chewing on it.
© 2012 Virginia Allain