The powers of catnip are well known. Sprinkle a little on the floor and step back as your cats revel in its effects, rolling around, purring and generally going bonkers.
Catnip doesn’t affect all cats, but for about 50% of the feline population, the scent of this aromatic herb (a member of the mint family) stimulates the neurological receptors for kitty elation. For cats with the catnip gene, this stuff is irresistible. Best of all, the Humane Society confirms it is non-toxic and completely safe. It’s even good for people, although it is actually calmative for humans when steeped into tea (think chamomile).
My two cats both fall into the “yes, please” category when it comes to catnip, but sprinkling the stuff on the floor is a little messier than I’d like. Instead, I go with a DIY spray that is easy to use, not so messy and, man, does it work.
To make your own catnip spray, simply steep dried or fresh catnip in hot water, cool and strain. Just a quick spritz on a favorite toy, blanket or paper bag and the fun begins. The effects are instant and will wear off after ten or fifteen minutes. No muss, no fuss and no clean up. Your cats will thank you, once they’re done bouncing off the walls.
Many cats are nuts for the smell of catnip, but the dried herb can be a little messy when sprinkled around the house. Instead, try steeping a “tea” from the aromatic herb for a tidier alternative.
Sprinkle about 1/4 cup of fresh or dried catnip into an 8 cup measuring cup.
Bring one quart of water to a boil on the stove and pour over the catnip in the large measuring cup. Potency of your DIY catnip spray will vary depending on the oil content in the catnip and dried catnip has more punch than fresh, so don’t worry if the ratio of water to catnip isn’t exact.
Stir the water and catnip, making sure no dried catnip is left floating on the surface. Walk away and allow the potion to cool to room temperature.
Line a strainer with a paper towel and pour the catnip “tea” through. Use a funnel to fill a clean spray bottle with the potent cat-pleaser.
Spritz a little bit of your homemade catnip spray on a plush toy or blanket to give your cat a treat that will send them soaring. My favorite use is to lightly spray the inside of a paper grocery bag (already a cat favorite) and watch them dive in. Stay out of the way. Cats can be territorial about this stuff and may try to defend their bounty.
Cats will lose interest after ten to fifteen minutes and it will be several hours before catnip lust is renewed. Catnip is safe and non-toxic , but should only be used as an occasional treat. Although frequent exposure isn’t harmful, it will lose its efficacy when used too often.