Grow Your Own Catnip

Catnip may be a good way of getting a lazy, overweight cat to engage in some exercise. Reactions to Catnip vary from anxious nervousness to high exclusion. Different cats react differently. When a cat detects the catnip's scent it triggers the pleasure center in the brain. This reaction is what triggers the catnip's "high." Not all cats have the same response to this plant, however. "Felines usually have a catnip gene," says Dr. Frank Costello, DVM, of the Cat Hospital in Scranton, Pennsylvania. "They either have the ability to recognize and react or they do not." If your kitten is ignoring Catnip, there's another reason: Catnip does not have an effect on very young kittens. "It usually takes 3 to 8 months of age before it starts to work" says Frank.

As a member of the Mint family, Catnip is a potent smelling herb. It has bunches of blue-purple or white flowers on top of small triangular leaves. Catnip is found native to the United States, grows up to three feet tall and is a perennial. It is easy and fun to grow plus it tastes great in tea.

To grow you must first germinate the seeds. This can be done by putting them in a sealed container with damp paper towels. Wait until the plant breaks out of the seeds and then transplant them outdoors in the early spring. Catnip can also be cloned (grown from cuttings) and transplanted directly into soil. After the catnip has bloomed, cut off three to seven inches of each stem. The plant will grow back next year if the roots remain in good condition.

To dry your cuttings snip the leaves off into a tray and get rid of the stems. Spread the leaves out and put them in a well circulated area. Stir up the leaves once a day for a few weeks. The leaves are ready when they become brittle. For another creative way to get your cats to exercise visit http://www.WallCats.com , http://www.KoolTanks.com .


Source by Blaine Lantz

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