This week, I found a container of catnip that I didn’t know I had and sprinkled a little of it around Sophie’s and Lily’s playground. Their playground consists of a shipping box that has become Sophie’s Cat Cave, a cat tree with a tunnel, a nylon tunnel toy, and other fun cat apparatus.
I’ve written before about how our cats react to catnip. When I open the freezer door with the intentions of treating them to a bit of catnip, the cats will immediately appear. Somehow they know that their favorite herb is about to be dispensed and they dance around my feet eager for their treat.
They eat it, roll in it, spread it around, fight over it, and then the fun really begins. Not all cats will react to catnip. Some are not attracted to it at all. Some enjoy a frolic in the stuff, but it doesn’t seem to affect them much. And then there are cats like Lily, who gets a real buzz from catnip. She gets all mellow and rolls around on the floor and on the cat tree, often hanging her head down and looking at us from upside down. This time, she tried to lay down in a little cardboard bed Sophie enjoys and kept falling out of it. She is a kick on catnip. It truly seems to give her a high—maybe a psychedelic high. Although I don’t know if her consciousness is expanded or diminished. But we do get a kick out of her when the effects of catnip kick in.
I wondered, can catnip be dangerous to a cat? Can they overdose on it? Here’s the dope on this dope: it is also known as catwort, field balm and catmint. It’s a cousin to basil and oregano. While all members of the cat family—lions, tigers, and panthers—can be attracted to catnip, it is not addictive and it is safe. Only, experts suggest not offering it to your cats too often as the herb might lose its appeal. And don’t worry, for cats like Lily, who react to catnip, the effects last for only ten or fifteen minutes.
Catnip can lose its oomph, so keep it in the freezer after opening it. And maybe your cats, too, will go berserk when you open the freezer with the intention of spreading a little catnip around for their pleasure and bliss.