April 2011 Issue

The Effects of Catnip

Its enticing qualities last for just minutes, and not all cats are drawn to it. Hereís what else you should know.

Planters of catnip, beware! This perennial is a member of the mint family ó like spearmint and oregano ó and it reproduces by spreading runners beneath the soil. Put one catnip plant in your garden and in five years it may well have taken over. Veteran gardeners plant catnip in buried containers, or in above-ground pots that even the hardiest and most aggressive roots canít escape. Despite the voracious nature of the plant, however, itís worth having around. Carolyn McDaniel, VMD, a consultant at the Feline Health Center at Cornell Universityís College of Veterinary Medicine, says, "Catnip is non-toxic, non-addicting and low calorie. It can definitely play a valuable part of an indoor catís environmental enrichment."

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