Catnip Addict

Catnip. What do most of us know about it? Probably about as much as I thought I did..

  1. Most cats go wild for it.
  2. It is probably a plant.
  3. It is inside some cat toys.
    AND
  4. It seems like a drug for cats.

But what actually is catnip, why does it affect some cats more than others, and is it good for our furbabies?

Catnip in its purest form is a leafy green member of the mint family.

According to the Humane Society of the United States: “Nepetalactone, the essential oil in catnip, can turn even the laziest couch potato into a crazy furball—if said furball happens to have inherited the sensitivity to its effects. The trait doesn’t emerge until a cat is between three and six months old; until then, a kitten will not have a response.”

So there you have it, an essential oil just for cats and their pure joy.

[That one is for you, millennial!]

The catnip experience typically starts with a whiff of the good stuff. I know at my house, Captain will get a whiff of a catnip filled toy and his sniffer really goes to town. Suddenly, he appears deranged as he begins licking, biting, and “gutting” the toy. See below for the end of a catnip fest with Cappy Mills!

The most common results of a cat that does react to catnip are: rolling, flipping, rubbing, and zoning out. Kitties may even growl or meow as they play.

But then there is Gandalf. Gandalf LOVES to play with kitty toys! Especially mice he can bat around! But catnip appears to have little to no effect on him. He is interested in the toy and appears to smell something on it but then no reaction. After some research, I have come to realize that an estimated 50% of cats do not have a reaction to this kitty narcotic! It turns out, Gandalf may just genetically not be sensitive to the minty smell and taste of the ‘nip! But don’t worry, he still bats around that mouse even after it becomes soaking wet from his brother’s catnip hurricane of a reaction!

Long-lasting joy? Not necessarily! On average, cats are in their catnip glory for approximately 10 minutes. After which, they may be in a daze or bounce back to normal.

And the best part about this oil reaction? It is quite hard for your kitty to “overdose” and there doesn’t appear to be any bad side effects. However, if your cat does eat too many catnip leaves, he can become ill so only give the ‘nip in moderate amounts. Additionally, stay close upon first giving a new catnip toy to your furbaby; you never know how they will react and it is good to be aware of their behavior! [Or to make a million dollars by submitting your videos to America’s Funniest Home Videos. Although they never choose the funniest ones as winners, so just go ahead and send the videos to me. You will be a winner in my heart and I will laugh, hard, I promise.]

My brother and sister-in-law’s yellow lab, Lady, gave the boys some of their own catnip to grow for Christmas this year! What a sweet pup! So I guess it is time to face my fears of killing all things green and plant it!

Thank you for stopping by. I hope you and your family had a marvelous Christmas. See you in 2018!

Kitty Loo

The kitty loo, also known as the potentially revolting litter box, can be a less than desirable topic! However, it is an important one!

If you have been following my blog, you know I have discussed some litter box related topics in the past. (And if you haven’t been following my blog long, here is a relevant post I am speaking of: Urinary Vlog)

Be that as it may, I had a friend recently ask about my considerations when purchasing and using a certain brand of litter and it occurred to me, I have not even written about the basics of kitty litter!

Let’s start with just a few basics to get us going:
1. As a general rule, most veterinarians suggest having one more litter box than the number of cats in your home. I.e. We have 2 cats and 3 boxes and trust me, they are ALL 3 full, all the time, always.

2. Make all of the litter boxes easily accessible. Not all of them need to be in the same general area but your cats do need to be able to get to the box at all times. (Just imagine your toilet being in a closed room and you have no thumbs to open the door. Personally, I don’t think I would be able to wait too long before finding an alternative location to urinate! TMI?)

3. Clean the litter regularly. Have confidence in knowing your hygienic kitty will be going in the box. (And if you have a clean, easily accessible box that your kitty is no longer going in then this is a cause of some concern and a vet visit may be warranted!) A good scoop is your bestie! At our house, we exercise recycling by using grocery sacks to clean the boxes. Our trash fellas love us and our tied little bags of goodies we leave. There are some litters that allow the waste to be flushed or placed back into the earth to produce less waste. It wouldn’t hurt to look into these too (I think that was a note for later to myself).

Please enjoy this prrrecious photo of Cappy protecting his toy after his whittle lip got stuck onto his tooth. His newest nickname after this photo was taken is Snaggletooth. Poor Guy but don’t worry, he is happy as can be. Sorry for the randomness of this photo..I was under the impression a picture of a cat in a litter box wasn’t ideal.

And now the information you have all been hanging around for! Litter brands!

Personally, I have always used the same litter. We always used Tidy Cats when I was growing up and I have continued this through all my current adult life. (Except that one time. That one terrible time that I fell for the packaging that said “World’s Best Litter” and let me tell you, in my opinion, NOT the world’s best. No clumping and horrendous smells ablaze.) I guess I have taken the if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it policy with my litter. Plus, Tidy Cats seems to be the run of the mill on prices so it has to be better than some, right? And don’t worry although I use the same litter, I have gotten new litter boxes over the years and cleaned those in the process of being used!

And I am all about clumping. I have never, ever, been in the mood to clean some cat urine that didn’t clump. End of story for me.

BUT what about the environment and the health of our cats? Sadly and admittedly, I have not done much research on this subject in the past. So let today be the day!

Feline Pine
“100% natural pine cat litters are highly absorbent and neutralize strong odors on contact for a healthy home and a healthy cat.” Never heard of this before until a friend brought it to my attention. She has the litter box in the living room and claims the smell is not bad/smells like pine (as you may have guessed)! That is awesome news! Plus, being natural, this seems to be a reasonable and environment-friendly choice!

World’s Best Litter
Made from renewable product with no harsh chemicals! The reviews on the Petco website for this litter are phenomenal. It falls under the price point of Feline Pine just a touch. But personally, this litter did not go over well in my house. The smell was unbearable. Something about my boys and this litter did not settle well at all!

Tidy Cats (in many scents and varieties)
Non-Clumping and Clumping (My go to litter!) Although, the implications of scooping out all that waste and drowning the scent of that waste, has me wanting to figure out what is really in that litter. Although, Tidy Cats does seem to be coming out with more and more environment-friendly options. So keep your eyes peeled!
And then there is Lightweight. In my opinion, this is a good idea in theory. However, I kinda enjoy that feeling of lifting a massive container of litter into my cart. Shows those sharing the grocery aisle with me that I workout sometimes, or something like that! Plus, how do they make it lightweight? I would love to know how that same Tidy Cats litter can be made so much lighter? What is the secret; can it possibly be good for your cat?! I couldn’t find much information about how it is made. But what I did find was many reviews and posts about how the dust from the lightweight litter made their kitties very ill! If I stick with Tidy Cats, I think I will continue with my heavy lifting, just to be safe!

Tidy Cats Alternative: Made with recycled paper and packaged in a recyclable bag (where facilities exist). Due to the way this litter is formed like pellets, its newspaper nature, no scent, and non-toxic characteristics, there is no dust that comes off of this litter. Often you will see this litter in a vet clinic used as a post-op litter box filler!

OkoCat
All their litter is made from 100% natural wood or paper fiber. Okocat is an eco friendly cat litter made with plant fibers that naturally absorb liquids and trap odors. This litter sounds safer and better for the environment!

So many litters out there that I don’t even have time to get into. But what I do know is I am going to do some more research on this before I run out and buy “my usual” tub next grocery trip!

What preferences do you have with your kitty’s litter? Which characteristics are important to you? And do you use any of the above brands? I would love to hear from you! Thanks for stopping by!

***UPDATE TO THIS POST! We recently switched to sWheat Scoop Litter and feel that it is safer and healthier for both us and our cats! It isn’t dusty, which is great! The smell doesn’t drown out as easily as our old love, Tidy Cats, but hey excuse to clean that box more often isn’t a bad thing, right?!