Howdy Friends and Fans! As I previewed to y'all in the last blog post, we are adding catnip to our lineup. We have been seeding and successfully growing catnip in the same hydroponic format that we grow all of our other greens, and the catnip plants seem to be thriving. I'd like to give you a "quick" rundown of catnip. (When have I ever been "quick" in a blog, HA!)
Many of our farm fam have feline family members, and Mary Ellen loves her cats more than most things (don't tell the Boxers). So it just makes sense to grow catnip, especially if we're going through it on a regular basis. Question is—why haven't we thought of this before!??
"Quick" background: Catnip is a member of the mint family. Nepeta cataria. Catmint, catwort, field balm. It looks very similar to mint (catnip picture below), is perennial like mint, and is very easy to grow. But watch out, like uncontained mint in your garden, it can take over the area like an invasive weed. Also like other plants in the mint family, catnip has a history in homeopathy, as a pest repellent, and is a pollinator attractor. What sets it apart is its active chemical nepetalactone.
The annals of history indicate medicinal uses for catnip, in addition to giving it to cats. A look through three (or more) different websites about medicinal use will give you three (or more) different results, and the search will leave you slightly confused. One site will say it's safe and effective, another says not safe, and yet another says it is not proven to be effective for human consumption (insert ailment here_____). **Being that we are a lettuce farm, and not doctors or herbalists, we will not assert its safety or advocate its human consumption. (Catnip will certainly not have the same effect on us mere humans as it will on Baby Boi, Naughty, or Albert.) The point is just that catnip does have a history of homeopathy and allopathy. We however, are growing it at ESH for our cats.
On to those cats. When given to felines, catnip mimics pheromones in cats. It does this by binding to receptors in the nasal passages, and through a whole complex process (that is way over my head), produces a temporary psychosexual response to those chemicals. This response lasts anywhere between five and 15 minutes, and then the cat will not respond again to the catnip for another 30 minutes. Not all cats will respond to catnip, and this is genetic. Kittens under the age of sexual maturity will not respond to it either. Cats who do respond to it report to their humans that there is nothing like it. "BUY MORE!, say Hobbes and Nice (and buy some more snacky-snacks while you're out)!
What's the best way to present catnip to your pal? Catnip can be given both fresh (pinch some off like you would to use mint) and dried, pretty basic stuff. Take a plant home, store it in a container with water on the counter, change out the water every couple of days, and pinch it off as needed. This should last your purr-tastic friend a while (unless they raid the container on the counter...) Some cats prefer one over the other (fresh vs. dried). You'll just have to try it out and see what happens. Smalls loves to roll in patches of catnip with her friend Savva. She will eat a couple of leaves of fresh nip nonchalantly, while dried makes her quite enthusiastic. Albert seems to care less about fresh leaves, but dried nip is the best ever! Puff Puff loves it any which way she can get her paws on it. MET's kitties think it's purrrrfect! Meow-Wee!
Generally speaking, cats cannot overdose on catnip. Like anything else, give everything in moderation. Your kitty can eat too much, like gorging on food, and then vomit due to over-doing it, but it isn't toxic for them to eat.
Friends and Fans, CATNIP! We are excited to get this product up for sale for our furry friends. Soon, it will be included for pre-order. We hope your kitties will be as excited about it as ours are. No need for your feline friends to do some sketchy stuff to get their catnip. We have it right here at the farm, grown for even the most discerning feline, with love and no pesticides.