Safe, Inexpensive Houseplant Entertains Cats Many cats sleep most of the day, and you have to trick them into exercise. One great option is fresh or dried catnip, even for older kitties. Catnip affects about 70 percent of cats that have the genetic disposition to enjoy the plant. Kittens can acquire a taste for the treat as they age. Some cats don't respond at all, while others are so sensitive that they hallucinate or act drunken. So watch your cat the first time you give it catnip to ensure they enjoy the experience. Surprisingly, catnip relieves feline stress and nervousness, as well as inspiring activity. After cats play for the five or ten minutes they are induced to play by the chemical, nepetalactone, which seems to mimic the pheromones causing happiness. The key to relaxing your kitty is to give the catnip about 15 minutes prior to a stressful event, such as a trip to the vet. Recovering from the exertion,  the cat will be tired and calm. Catnip frenzies typically lasts 5 to 10 minutes. Then cats lose interest. The effects are present for an hour or two, according to petMD. But like anything else, cats can get bored with catnip if exposed too frequently. Fresh dried catnip is more potent than older catnip, so keep this member of the mint family in a cool, dark place in an airtight container. Freezers are a good choice. Also, some less expensive brands contain more stems or seeds, which do not contain as much nepetalactone. Kong brand has a reputation for good cat products. While some cats will consume all of the grass in front of them, others nibble. Both are safe options, as well as dried catnip or capnip oil. You can also purchase catnip flavored bubbles. Like other catnip products, some are more potent than others. Dr. Patty Khuly of PetMD recommends The Crazy Cat Catch-A-Bubble, available on-line. Batting the toys releases catnip and keeps kitty happy. You can also roll toys in dried catnip, sprinkle it on scratching posts and pads and spray catnip oil on toys to refresh the smell. Growing catnip at home is simple if you can keep the seedlings away from the beneficiaries of the sprouting grass. This Humane Society link provides simple instructions. www.humanesociety.org/news/magazines/2012/01-02/how_does_your_cat_grass_grow.html However,  most cats don't limit their veggie intake to catnip and cat grass (which is typically a mix of oat, rye, barley, and wheat grasses). They also enjoy houseplants, which can be toxic. So if you allow your cat to eat fresh catnip, be certain to keep plants you don't want maintained by the four legged member of the family out of the cat's reach! Fluffs of Luv is happy to play with your cats, as well as caring for them. If you have questions about your cat's care or topics you would like to see in this blog, call us or visit fluffsofluv.com today to schedule visits. Resources: petMD.com, HumanSociety.org   By Beth Crosby Copyright ©2016 Fluffs of Luv. All rights reserved. If any part of this publication is reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, or stored in a database or retrieval system, full credit must be given to Beth Crosby and Fluffs of Luv. No part may be used for commercial gain without the express written permission of Fluffs of Luv.

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