Today, I want to share with you how easy it is to grow and dry catnip and also how to make an easy cat toy for your furry friends.
So, if you have cats, you already know how much they like catnip. Well, most of them do, anyway. About a 1/3 of cats are not affected by it at all, but all 3 of mine are.
First of all, as a good crazy cat lady should, I want to share pictures of our 3 cats, 19(!) year-old Maggie, 15 year-old Muffy, and our youngster at 5 years old, Stallone. If you are a crazy cat person, too, you know how much joy (and yes, frustration) cats can bring into your life.
About once every couple of weeks, I give each of them a fresh catnip leaf. All 3 of my cats react differently to it. Maggie used it eat it quickly, but now that she’s so old, she just takes a nibble and leaves it on her cushion to dry out so she can enjoy the smell. Muffy reacts differently. She scarfs it down quickly then likes to go on a rolling and washing frenzy. Stallone (who was a feral before we got him last year) had never had catnip before and he really savors it. He rolls on it, then eats it, and then does the washing routine. 🙂
Catnip is very easy to grow.
Catnip is a very hearty plant. It spreads like crazy and grows easily from seed. So, take the advice from someone who’s been there. If you don’t want your entire garden, yard, or neighborhood covered in catnip, it really is best to grow it in a pot (just like other types of mint, which are just as prolific).
When we lived in Michigan, it spread all over our back garden and it was really hard to get rid of. More came back every year. So, when we moved back to Florida, with a year-round growing season, I decided to just purchase a small plant and keep it in a pot. It was in a peat pot and I just plopped it into another pot and it has grown happily that way for several years, on a shelf on my porch.
Here is it:
DIY catnip planter.
But here is a SWEET little DIY pot, made from a plastic bottle, that I found on Pinterest. I am definitely going to make this! It’s much cuter than the plain pot my catnip is in now.
Caution: Everything in moderation.
Too much catnip can really overstimulate and sicken cats, so make sure your plant is not easily accessible to your cats all the time. Usually cats can sense when they’ve had enough, but it can cause vomiting and diarrhea, so only give it to them in moderation, especially fresh catnip. It is the oil in the leaves and stems that are the most potent and those tend to be reduced when it is dried. So, it is okay to have a toy stuffed with dried catnip available all the time. However, cats who have daily exposure to catnip may lose their sensitivity to it. Cat grass is also easy to grow from seed and a great dietary aid for indoor cats. Again, you can also pick up an already-growing cat grass plant at your local pet store. But back to catnip.
Tricks to growing catnip.
The main trick to growing catnip is to keep it watered and trimmed.
It droops really fast when it is dry, so keep it watered in the pot, but not drowned, so make sure it has good drainage.
Catnip grows pretty fast, so to keep it from getting long and gangly, trim it regularly.
How to dry catnip. It’s SO easy!
Air dried method.
You can simply gather up the catnip and hang it up to dry in a cool, dry place, and then crush it up, stems and all. Easy-peasy! Store it in an airtight container.
But, you can also use your microwave, which is what I did this weekend.
Put the gathered up catnip on a paper towel. No need to take the leaves off the stems.
Wrap up the paper towel all around the catnip and microwave it on high for 2 minutes.
When the 2 minutes is up, the catnip will be completely dried and easy to crush up.
The smell of catnip will be VERY strong for a half hour or so afterwards, so don’t do this right before your big dinner party 😉
How to store dried catnip.
Crush the catnip leaves and stems with your fingers and store it in an airtight container to keep its potency. I use a clean olive bottle to store my dried catnip. It’s a great size for it, since I don’t get a whole lot off my plant at one time. I just shake up the bottle after I put more in to mix it all together.
Here’s my bottle. ( This is the first batch in this bottle, so it’s not very full yet.)
Finally, here’s a fast and easy way to make a great catnip toy for your cats.
Catnip toy from a baby sock.
This is so easy! Find an old sock (baby socks are the perfect size!). Fill the sock with cotton balls or fiberfill and about a teaspoon of either crushed fresh or dried catnip. Sew the end shut and you have a homemade catnip toy!
As you can see, Stallone loves playing with his catnip sock.
So, I hope I have inspired you to grow some catnip for your own cat. It really is easy to do and even if you buy a plant instead of growing one from seeds, they are really inexpensive. So, now that you know what to do, get planting!
Need more ideas on taking care of your cats?
Here are some great tips on how to do that I wrote in an earlier post: Cats are people, too.
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