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My Cat's A Catnip Addict!

Jun 21, 2008
My cat Spike loved Aunt Rose at first sight. It was almost embarrassing the way he rolled over on her feet and meowed louder than ever I heard him as he tried to get as close to her as possible. He even jumped upon her lap, continuing to rub his head on her hands and arms. I had never seen him act this way to anyone.

She said she'd been working in her garden thinning various herbs and spices that were threatening to take over her lawn. She even brought us a gift of a bag of plants for us to use in our herb garden. Little did we know that she was making our cat a friend for life.

One day several months later and in the middle of our summer growing season, I was inspecting my crop of basil, thyme, chives, garlic, oregano and mint when I notice that several of the taller mint plants looked as if they had been slept on by a herd of elephants. They were a little over two feet tall and they were all squashed into the ground.

Suspecting a stray deer from a nearby patch of woods, I placed a wire fence around my garden of herbs to keep out unexpected visitors. The next morning I was astonished to see the entire plot of mint once again smashed into the ground, but the fence was still standing. Strangely nothing else in the fenced area was touched. If it had been a deer the fence would have been knocked down.

Later that day I saw Spike leap over the fence and began sniffing the mint plants. In few minutes he was rolling over the plants; rubbing his face in the leaves. The he started eating the leaves!

He then jumped out of the fenced area and catapulted himself toward an oak tree in the yard and ran halfway up the tree to the first limb. I'd never seen him climb a tree before. After a while he eased himself down the tree cautiously, almost afraid to take another backward step down the tree. My neighbor Harold had witnessed the whole thing. Laughing he said that Spike was drunk on Catnip. Happily this behavior lasted only about 10 minutes and then my cat did what he does best; he took a long nap.

Aunt Rosie's bag of mint was actually Catnip, a member of the mint family of plants. It has an intoxicating effect on many adult cats like Spike making them act drunk, obnoxious and just plain weird.

I've discovered that catnip is actually a cousin to many of the herbs I have growing in my garden. There are microscopic bulbs on the leaves and stems of catnip plants that release an essential oil called nepetalactone when brushed up against or stepped on by an animal. As the plant matures, this oil can be discharged simply by a strong wind blowing against the leaves. Whichever the case, Spike discovered that he loves the stuff!

The affects of nepetalactone are much like that of a hallucinogen. My brother-in-law who has had an intimate relationship with marijuana and LSD say that Spike acts just like some of his friends when they were high on those drugs.

While Spike has always been more of a lover than a fighter, something happens to him when he rolls in the catnip and breathes in its vapors. He is not a happy drunk! He becomes aggressive, even dashing across the lawn trying to pick a fight with the neighbor's dog. He'll rush up to the fenced-in back yard and stare at the big black German Shepard that barks his fool head off at my drunken cat. I can only hope that the dog never realizes the fence is only four feet high and he could easily jump over and eat my cat!

He's fun to watch when he gets into the catnip, but just like watching a drunk make a fool of himself, it gets boring after a few minutes. I would just dig up the plants and toss them in the trash, but according to researchers who study the plant, it is very good at repelling mosquitoes.

I believe I can cope with a stoned cat better than fighting off mosquitoes.
About the Author
Bob Alexander is well experienced in outdoor cooking, fishing and leisure living. Bob is also the author and owner of this article. Visit his sites at:
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