Adopting a cat is a lifetime commitment. When you bring a cat into your family, you also accept responsibility to care for her health and well-being throughout her lifetime. This level of commitment should be obvious to cat guardians, but sadly, the number of cats being returned to shelters for health or behavior issues indicates that it is not.Continue Reading
The incomprehensible devastation left behind by the Camp Fire in Northern California has vanished from the news. As is always the case with disasters, the news cycle moves on, and while there is always an initial outpouring of support, after a few weeks, most people forget. And yet, the victims of the fire will need help for a very long time.Continue Reading
Of all the cat events I attend each year, Cat Camp NYC is one of my favorites. A weekend packed with educational lectures, round table discussions, lots of vendors offering fantastic cat-themed products and best of all, thousands of cat lovers who are not only there to celebrate their love for cats, but genuinely care about making all cats’ lives better – this is where loving cats intersects with advocating for cats, and it doesn’t get any better than that!Continue Reading
Clement Clarke Moore’s poem The Night Before Christmas has long been a favorite of mine. There are a number of cat versions of the poem out there, but none better than the one dictated to Harry Shubin by the Ghost of Catmas Future on a dark winter night.Continue Reading
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I confess, ever since seeing Bohemian Rhapsody (three times!), I’ve become obsessed with Freddie Mercury. The movie was everything I had hoped for and then some. I loved everything about it: the wonderful portrayal of Freddie Mercury, even if it strayed quite a bit from the truth for dramatic effect, the perfect casting and phenomenal acting, and of course, the music. And I loved how the cats were represented in the movie. I knew Freddie Mercury was a cat lover, but I had no idea just how much he loved cats. Continue Reading
The devastation in parts of California is almost impossible to comprehend. For all of us, our thoughts not only go to the many people who have lots their homes, but also to the animals, especially the cats, who are affected by these fires.Continue Reading
Los Angeles based documentary filmmaker Asako Ushio is currently in the final stages of completing Cat People, a documentary about the eclectic and varied lives of people who love and care for cats.Continue Reading
Could you describe your cat to someone else so they would be able to identify him or her without any doubt? As cat parents, we’re always going to be able to recognize our own cats, but being able to describe your cat accurately to others could be important. Perhaps you have two cats who look so similar that your friends are always wondering how you can tell them apart. How would your cat sitter know who is who? And in a worst case scenario, if your cat ever got lost, being able to provide an accurate description to area shelters could be crucial to getting her back home.Continue Reading
It’s impossible for me to wrap my mind around the devastation in the Carolinas and beyond following hurricane Florence. To think about what the people and the animals in the flooded and destroyed areas are going through just breaks my heart. The one bright spot in all of this, to me, has been to see the many images of pets being rescued. Distressing as the images and videos may be, It seems that finally, the message is getting through that pets are family members. Continue Reading
Catnip is a member of the mint family. Scientists are not sure how or why catnip affects cats the way it does, but they have identified the part of the plant that causes the euphoric reaction. The substance is a non-poisonous chemical called nepetalactone, an aromatic oil found in the stem and leaves of the plant. Researchers believe that cats react to the smell of the leaves rather than the taste.
Varied reactions to catnip
Reactions from cats will vary based on the strength and quality of the product. Cats who do respond to catnip will typically roll around in it, jump and run around, rub their faces in it, drool, and purr. Typically, a catnip “high” last about ten or fifteen minutes. Once the energy dissipates, most cats will be very relaxed and ready for a nap.
Not all cats react to catnip
Only about 50% of cats are affected by catnip, and not all cats react the same. Whether or not cats respond to catnip appears to be genetically determined. Kittens are not affected until they’re about two months old (if they fall into the category of cats that do respond). If a kitten hasn’t shown a reaction to catnip by the time she’s six month’s old, she falls into the non-responsive category.
Catnip can be used to train cats
For cats who do respond, you can take advantage of their reaction to catnip and use it for training purposes. Sprinkle catnip on scratching posts to attract them to use the post, or on cat beds or mats where you want your cat to sleep. If your cat reacts by becoming relaxed and mellow after use, use it before car rides, trips to the vet, or other stressful situations.
Some cats react with aggression
Some cats become so stimulated by the herb that they may release their excess energy by picking fights with other cats in the household, or by attacking their humans.
You can freshen up old catnip toys by dampening them with water. This will release a new wave of catnip scent.
Quality of catnip
When buying catnip, take a close look at the packaging. You’re going to want brands that use only leaves and blossoms rather than stems. Organic cat nip is best, especially if your cat is going to ingest it. Catnip is easily grown, but use caution: unless you want every cat in your neighborhood to visit your yard, you may want to grow it indoors.
If your cat initially doesn’t react to catnip, try a couple of different brands. Your cat may not react because the quality of the catnip is not very good.
Catnip comes in a variety of forms, including as a fresh or dried herb, liquid, spray, and, of course, in catnip filled toys.
The euphoric reaction to catnip is perfectly safe for cats, and cats won’t become addicted to it.
This article was previously published on Answers.com and is republished with permission.
I first met Tiffany McCullough at Cat Camp NYC earlier this year, but didn’t have much of a chance to chat with her until we saw each other again at CatCon. We only talked for a few minutes amid the (wonderful) craziness that is CatCon, but I knew right then and there that I had met a kindred spirit, and that I wanted to introduce you to this amazing woman.Continue Reading