I am being terrorised by a hedgehog. He comes along at the same time every night and steals all my food. This means I now have to eat everything up at one sitting to make sure the hedgehog doesn’t get any, but the more I eat the more the human puts out for me. I have tried speaking reasonably with the hog but he is a very prickly character and I am getting no where reasoning with him. What is a cat to do?
Why do cats love catnip?
Catnip contains Nepetalactone which is a naturally occurring chemical. It is the release of the nepetalactone which creates a stimulus for the cat. Why cats react in just the way they do is really unknown. However it is known that it is the effect of the nepetalactone on the cats olfactory senses that triggers the reaction. A cat’s sense of smell is many times more sensitive than a human sense of smell and a cat will be able to find catnip even when it has been well hidden!
Chewing rubbing and rolling about in the plant will trigger the release of essential oils from the bruised stems. This may explain many of the reactions cats show to catnip.
Dried prepared catnip easily loses it’s potency from rough handling and is also sensitive to light. Do not handle the product too much and when not being used keep it in a dry dark place. This will help maximise its useful life.
What is Catnip ?
People often ask us “What is Catnip ?” so we thought that we would take this chance to explain. Catnip is the common name for a species of plant called Nepeta Cataria which belongs to the Lamiaceae family. Essentially it is a perennial herb related to the mint group of herbs.
The plant can grow to three (or more) feet tall and has many tall stems. These stems will bear triangular leaves all along the stalk. The leaves are pale green and when the plant is young they look very like nettle leaves. Leaves may turn a reddish brown after mild frost but this will do the plant no harm. The stem tops will bear the flowers which are a creamy white to pink in colour. Flowering in the UK and Ireland should start in June and carry on until September. A Catnip Field attracts an abundance of bees and butterflies. A group of flowering catnip plants in full bloom is a lovely sight and the smell is wonderful.
Catnip is frost resistant and hardy in the UK and Ireland. It is also drought resistant once established but small young plants need regular watering. Germination is slow and may be unreliable. The seeds are easily out grown by weeds. There are a number of sub species of the plant. Several varieties, such as Nepeta Mussinii, a compact purple flowering plant are easily found in garden centres and are a great garden plant. The ornamental catnip plants are usually less attractive to cats.
Other names for Nepeta Cataria include:
First crop taken from the Catnip plants today
I am a very happy cat today. The human promised we could take some early cuttings from the catnip this morning if the weather was dry enough. And guess what; it didn’t rain. So after breakfast off she went and came back with a nice selection of cuttings. I was thrilled it didn’t rain as she will only cut the plants in the morning. She thinks the catnip comes out better that way.
I did a quick bit of quality control myself on the catnip. You can see me hard at work checking it out in the attached picture. Then I let the human sort it into bunches for drying. I kept a few leaves for playing with now but I can look forward to a great supply of top notch catnip in a couple of weeks. Now all I have to do is keep my stash secret from Minx and Barney.
Bees love Catnip
I have been checking out the plants on the farm this morning. They are just coming into flower and looking really pretty. The flowers are not big and fancy like roses or other garden flowers. They are pale creamy pink and come on long stems. On a breezy morning like this morning the smell is wonderful. Well I am a cat after all! This is my idea of paradise.
When I was sitting among the plants this morning I noticed a strong humming sound and realised there were lots of bees moving about the flowers. I asked the human to take a picture of one but the bee was moving a lot so it was hard to get the picture. I tried to count them but it was too hard. There were lots! The human says this is a good thing because bees are in danger. Also I am not allowed to chase them. Sometimes the human is no fun at all… Anyway you can see the flowers are not quite in full bloom yet but tomorrow we will harvest some early crop for personal use. I am really looking forward to that!
Hi my name is Fred
Hi my name is Fred. I am a very handsome (yes I do say that myself) chocolate and champagne tabby. I live with my Auntie Minx and my nephew Barney and I have a couple of humans to look after me. I also am lucky enough to have my own catnip farm. How cool is that? Needless to say the humans do all the mundane tasks around the farm and I concentrate on quality control and testing the new toys. I have started this website to share my thoughts on all things catnip with fellow catnippers and I am really looking forward to it.