As one of my beloved families instructed me on all things favored by their fabulous feline, I had to chuckle at their reference to Voldemort’s “drug rug”. Yes, his name is Voldemort and he is one amazing cat with an exceptional personality. The “drug rug” in question is a quilted fabric mat filled with catnip. Kinda like this –

The drug rug, along with catnip coming up in my flower bed, got me thinking….sometimes I do ‘think’ contrary to what those closest to me believe…that I need to know more about this mystery plant. As most of us do, I turned to Google and found the following:

Voldemort telling his human that he does not appreciate his brother laying on his rug.

Catnip plants (Nepeta cataria and other Nepeta species) are members of the mint family and contain volatile oils, sterols, acids and tannins. Native to Europe, Asia and Africa, the plant was brought to North America by settlers; nowadays, the plant is popular in herb gardens and grows widely as a weed. Catnip is considered to be nonaddictive and harmless to most cats.

When cats smell catnip they exhibit several behaviors common to queens in season (females in heat): They may rub their heads and body on the herb or jump, roll around, vocalize and salivate. This response lasts for about 10 minutes, after which the cat becomes temporarily immune to catnip’s effects for roughly 30 minutes. Response to catnip is hereditary; about 70 to 80 percent of cats exhibit this behavior in the plant’s presence. In addition, catnip does not affect kittens until they are about six months old and begin to reach sexual maturity.

There are some times when catnip can have benefits beyond simply being fun. These benefits include:

Catnip may entice a cat to play.

Buy catnip toys or rub catnip on a toy.

Don’t leave catnip toys out all the time or your cat will become numb to the effects.

Refresh old toys with a coat of fresh catnip. Catnip spray works great for this.

Some toys have built-in catnip compartments.

Catnip may induce a cat to use a scratching post.

Rub some catnip on the post.

Catnip comes in sprays that can be applied to scratching posts.

Catnip may help a shy cat feel bold enough to engage in interactive play.

Make or buy a hiding place for your shy cat.

From time to time, nonchalantly drag a catnip toy on a string near the hiding place.

Eventually, your kitty’s curiosity should prevail, and he’ll pounce and play.

Take it slowly; let your cat set the pace.

May release tension after a stressful episode.

After a trip to the vet clinic, break out the catnip to let your cat redirect anxiety or displaced aggression.

There are varieties of Catnip but the Nepeta species are the ones that really get the kitties interested. Catnip plants are very easy to grow and will likely take over your flower beds if not tended to as outlined in this article –

Making cats happy and feel safe is my goal. I might get a little crafty and make a few Catnip rugs for my feline friends. Anyone want to join me?

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