Catnip For Your Cats
Cats make amazing companions, and giving them catnip is a really fun way to play with and treat your cat.
When cats are exposed to catnip, the response can be downright comical! They may rub their heads and body on the catnip, jump and roll around on it, chew and lick it, meow loudly, or even excessively salivate (you have to watch out for that last one!). After the initial response lasting 5 to 15 minutes, sleepiness and lots of purring typically ensues. One of our farm cats, Dharma, used to get a little mean after catnip. We referred to her as the “mean drunk.”
While about 70-80% of cats show a response to catnip (the response is hereditary), the remaining 20-30% of cats show little to no response at all.
For more information about exactly what your cat is experiencing when enjoying catnip, check out this article from Scientific American.
This is Charlie’s first experience with catnip. Charlie is our 2020 Seasonal Assistant Grower Nicole’s cat.
Catnip plants (Nepeta cataria), like many members of the mint family, grow prolifically in our Pennsylvania climate, despite being native to Europe, Asia, and Africa.
Nepeta cataria is perennial here in PA, meaning it regrows every year from the same plants. Catnip does not require any special soil conditions, but does prefer good drainage and full sun. Plants get very large and require a lot of space so we plant ours in beds 18 inches apart in all directions (2 rows per 40-inch bed).
Catnip patch. Honey bee pollinator on catnip blooms.
In July, when the plants are in full flower, we harvest our catnip to dry. We pick a dry afternoon when the plants are mostly free from rain or dew, we cut the plants at the base, and then we lay the whole plants on screens in front of fans in our drying building. Warmth and good air circulation are key to having a well-dried product. Given the often humid summers here in PA, our catnip can take up to two weeks to dry enough to crunch off the stems. Because of the freshness of our catnip products (we always sell out each year), our customers tell us that our 100% organic catnip is especially potent!
Drying catnip on screens.
Catnip For You!
Catnip has a place in the traditional herbalist’s toolkit as well. Catnip has been used medicinally in humans to induce mild sedation, lessen migraine headaches, reduce swelling associated with arthritis, and relieve cramps, gas, indigestion, and nervousness. Before using catnip medicinally, consult your herbalist or physician.
In honor of International Cat Day, on August 8th, 2020 – our catnip products are 10% off through August 15th, 2020. Use coupon code CATS at checkout.