Happy Cat


Our happy cat with his Catmint

Our happy cat with his Catnip

There is a very happy cat living in our garden this summer.

He has his very own Catnip, Nepeta cataria,   growing within easy reach.

When a cat approaches Catmint, it first sniffs, and then begins to lick and bite the leaves to release more and more of the essential oils.

When a cat approaches Catnip it first sniffs, and then begins to lick and bite the leaves to release more and more of the essential oils.

We’ve noticed him spending more time outside lately.  And I had noticed the Catnip plants nibbled almost back to the ground a couple of times….

But this is the first time we’ve had the pleasure of watching him enjoy his Catnip.

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A member of the mint family, Catnip is a rampant grower.

“Pinching back,” or grazing,  just encourages more branching on each stem  The plant will grow thicker and larger.

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The essential oil which effects cats is called nepetalactone.  Although Catnip has a sedative effect in people, it is a mild hallucinogen for cats.

The effect is short lived, but potent for our feline friends.

Catnip dries easily, like any other summer herb.  Cut and dried, it can be saved for play on winter evenings.

Do you know this look?

Do you know this look?  I sometimes wish cats could smile-

Just a tiny amount will give your cat a happy playtime.

I keep a ziplock bag of it for tossing  toys in when he wants to play.

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He especially enjoys it on evenings too cold or wet for him to go outside and run.

You probably know already that Catnip is perfectly safe for cats. 

There are no harmful effects.  Cats are smart enough to know when to stop playing in it, and its effects wear off within a few minutes.

There are some medicinal uses for Catnip in humans, but it should always be avoided by women who may be pregnant.

Interestingly, Catnip is said to has proven more effective at repelling mosquitoes than DEET in trials.  It is perfectly safe to pick a few sprigs to rub over the skin when working outside.

Almost hidden...

Almost hidden…

Catnip is among the herbs brought to North America by English settlers in the 17th Century.  It is actually native to Europe and Asia.

Its leaves and stems  have proven effective in repelling other insects which may try to invade the kitchen….  You can sprinkle dried Catnip , or lay freshly harvested stems and leaves in areas where ants or other insects may try to enter your home.

Easy to grow, perennial Nepeta cataria likes full sun and moist soil.

When it blooms in another week or so this mass of Catnip will be covered in happy insects enjoying its nectar.

June 7, 2014 garden 045

Whether you have a feline friend to please, or not; this is a beautiful plant in the garden.

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014


After enjoying the Catmint, Ollie loves to roll around and hope to be petted.

After enjoying his  Catnip our cat  loves to roll around.


About woodlandgnome

Lifelong teacher and gardener.

14 responses to “Happy Cat

  1. Your cat is one handsome dude! Catnip self-sows all over my garden and I have to limit it or else it will take over. I (and the cats & bees) love it, but when it sprawls after flowering, it is a pushy neighbor. I no longer let the cats outside (ticks are such a problem here and I don’t want the cats catching birds) so I bring it in for them. Years ago we had a huge Maine coon cat who every afternoon would visit the catnip patch and we’d find him stoned, LOL, passed out in the shade of those flopping stems!

    • All my cats have been rescues – are there any other kind? 😉 I do love my kitties!

      • They are the best kind of companions. I appreciate their independence and their dignity. Went up over 10 degrees here this morning between 10 and noon. I’m just in and about poached. As bad as our forecasts have been, they are still calling the daily highs too low. Hope you’re cool and well, WG

        • It is not hot here, 70s, but the humidity makes it feel much warmer. I’m not a big fan of humidity, nor excessive heat. I wilt in summer!

          • Then it is good you are not in Virginia 😉 We are mid-90s now, and hotter tomorrow. We are planning to stay inside as much as possible until a cool front blows through. Instant August… Best wishes, WG

            • Yes, I am glad not to live in the Mid-Atlantic or Southeast. My sister lives in GA and before that in FL. 90 degrees 90% rH. I am happy to be live where that is a rare occurrence. 🙂 Stay cool!

              • Well, my husband decided we should go out to dinner tonight and not heat up the house with cooking. I appreciate his good sense and generosity! Still 89F when we returned home at 8:30. Now, that’s not fun…. Hope your sister moves further north!

                • Well, the flip side is winter, which is not for the weak of back, let alone heart. Dealing with snow and frigid weather is not for everyone! 🙂

                  • So true. I would love a climate where it just bops around between the 30s and low 80s with no extremes. We had a nice breeze off the Bay today which kept our temps moderate, and now rain tonight. The air is so fresh and cool- we just love it. I hope you have someone with a good back and heart to handle the snowfall for you. It is such a workout! Best wishes, WG

  2. He is one handsome cat! He also looks to be in heaven with his own catnip in the great outdoors. Thanks for all that information on catnip. I think I will look for it as I have mostly a sunny garden.

  3. He is a beautiful cat!! 🙂

  4. Will pass this info along to a new kitty owner and garden lover.
    Alas I have only the dog but insect repellent nature makes it a worthy plant. Thanks and be well. 🌟 Barbara

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