DIY Cat Toys With Catnip

To demonstrate your affection for your feline friend, catnip toys are an excellent choice. There are a lot of individuals in this world who have a soft spot for animals in general, but there are an astonishing amount of people who are completely preoccupied with their feline companions. A significant number of these individuals think of their animals as intimate members of their family, rather than as pets that they own and have control over.

As a consequence of this, people are quite careful about what they give their cats to eat and the kinds of activities they let their cats participate in. Catnip toys are sure to be a hit with any feline you share your home with, so if you adore your feline companions and want them to have the best quality of life possible, you should check into purchasing some.

Catnip Affects Your Kitty in Interesting Ways

Catnip effects on your cat can be fun and amusing. He will sniff it, rub his face against it, and probably eat it. The sniffing or inhaling of the aroma is what actually produces the euphoria that he experiences. Cats probably chew the catnip to bruise it and release more of the active ingredient called nepetalactone. This “high” lasts about five to ten minutes.  It is worthy of note that sniffing the catnip will stimulate your kitty while eating it and acts as a sedative.

Scientists studying the catnip effect on cats believe that it induces a psychosexual response in both males and females.  The effect is therefore much like an aphrodisiac on your cat. Kitty will probably roll around in it, salivate, run around, and purr for a few minutes. These are all signs that your cat is enjoying the herb.  As the effect wears off your cat will probably feel like having a little nap.

The quality and potency of the herb will determine how many effects catnip will have on your cat.  This will be determined by the growing conditions of the plant.

Catnip effects are seen in about 50% to 70% of all cats. The cat’s genetic history will determine whether he will experience the ecstasy associated with catnip. If you have two cats one may love it and the other may show no interest.  Cats who have a genetic background and are descended from cats that lived in an area where catnip did not grow generally do not respond to catnip.

Most all very young kittens are not affected. If your kitten is going to enjoy the catnip effects on cats he will probably start reacting to catnip at the age of about two months.  It can take as long as six months, however. If there is no reaction by the age of six months your cat will probably not enjoy the effects of catnip.

If your cat is not responding you may want to try organic catnip before giving up.  Also, the organic varieties are said to be more potent having more nepetalactone. Catnip grows wild in much of the continental United States. It prefers dry growing conditions and can be found along fence lines. Catnip can also be found along railway lines and dumpsites.  This leads to a precaution: “Do not buy wild-grown catnip unless you buy from a trusted source”.  Cats should not be eating products that could have been harvested from an area where toxins could be present.

An interesting fact is that cougars, bobcats, lynx, and even lions respond to catnip in the same way as the effects of catnip on cats.

There are desirable catnip effects on humans. The active ingredient is very similar to valerian a common herbal sedative that many folks take to sleep better. Some say catnip also lessens the pain of a migraine headache.   Catnip has been used by humans to relieve gastrointestinal symptoms such as indigestion and colic.

Catnip Toys You Can Make

Catnip toys are easy to make but care should be taken to keep the toys safe for your cat. Be sure that during the construction of your cat’s toy that there are no strings or other small pieces that could come loose and pose a choking hazard for your kitty.

If your catnip toys have objects like beads or buttons your cat could swallow one of them and this could cause an intestinal blockage or choking problem requiring expensive veterinary care. Any materials used for these catnip cat toys should be durable and not likely to come apart.  As any toy begins to show wear and become frayed replace it with a new one.

A catnip cat toy can be relatively easy to make. Just use your imagination and pick an interesting shape such as a mouse, a fish, a bird, or almost any interesting thing that comes to mind. The basics that are needed are a pattern, some durable cloth that won’t tear easily, some sewing materials, and some dried catnip.

Start by drawing your design on a piece of paper. Cut it out with scissors and trace around it on the cloth you will be using. Cut two identical pieces of cloth. Allow an extra half-inch around the perimeter of your object for sewing. Sew the perimeter of your catnip toy leaving an opening to insert the catnip. Seal the opening with a few more stitches after filling with catnip.  Now your kitty has a nice new toy.

Catnip toys can also be made by crocheting or knitting. You can develop your own pattern or choose from one of the many free patterns available on the Internet since the object is simply to make a pouch for the catnip. You could even make a flap and opening with Velcro to allow you to remove the catnip and replenish it.  Knitted or crocheted toys can be backed with felt to produce an even sturdier toy.

If you prefer not to get involved with finding a design and doing the sewing there is an easier way. Simply get an old sock that is still in good condition and fill it with catnip. Sew it closed and there you have it. It is that easy and your kitty has a new toy.  This is one of the easiest toys to make with catnip.

Another thing you can do is to recycle an old catnip toy by replenishing the catnip with fresh product. Just find some dried catnip from your pet store or grow your own. Open the old toy and remove the old catnip then refill with fresh catnip.  Resew the opening and his toy will be as good as new.

3 Catnip Toys Your Feline Will Love

  1. A very popular cat toy involving catnip is the catnip mouse, which is basically a small bag that is filled with catnip, but also shaped and designed like a small mouse. As you already know, a cat loves to chase around and try and eat the mice in the house, making this a perfect toy for the cat to enjoy. In addition to the enticing mouse design, the bag is filled with catnip, making the toy irresistible to your feline.
  2. Another incredibly popular catnip toy is a scratching post which is made irresistible to your cat when it is sprinkled with various amounts of catnip. The mystical green herb will entice your cat into scratching the post, effectively giving the cat various amounts of exercise while they are concentrated on scratching the post and not your personal home furnishings.
  3. Thirdly, another great selection for your cat is an actual catnip plant itself, which allows your cat to play around with and paw at the actual plant, yet still, be caught in a state of euphoria from the plant itself. Don’t be surprised if your furry friend begins biting at and laying on this plant in a state of enjoyment!

Catnip Seeds for Growing Your Own Catnip

Catnip seeds can be used to plant fresh catnip, which is far superior to the dried variety found in stores. Homegrown catnip will always be fresher and more potent than dried catnip and cats prefer this stimulating variety much more.

You can buy catnip seeds and grow your own catnip either indoors or outdoors.

There are catnip seeds for sale at nurseries and places like Wal-Mart and Target. Growing catnip from seed requires no special soil as catnip seeds do well in a variety of soil types. The best type of soil is somewhat sandy and well-drained. Catnip is a full sun herb and bright sunlight will produce plants with maximum aroma.

You can grow these seeds in partial shade but the plants grow much larger and have more flowers when subjected to full sun. You may start seedlings for outside plants indoors a few weeks before the last frost. If your plants will grow to maturity inside your home you can start them anytime just be sure to provide them with plenty of light. You can grow your catnip seeds in little pots or a tray filled with commercial potting soil.  A neutral pH or somewhat acidic or alkali soil will do fine.

Now let’s plant some seeds. Get the pots ready. Add potting soil to each pot and fill to about 1/4 ” below the top. Add a little water. Using the end of your finger make a small dent in the soil about 1/8″ deep. Put a few seeds in the hole that you have made. Then cover the seeds with soil. As an alternative, you can plant your seeds in your garden after the last frost.

However, bear in mind that all the neighborhood cats that smell the catnip growing will immediately begin chewing the plants and generally tearing them down. They can potentially destroy the hard work you have done.  Putting the plants in pots that can be kept out of reach of your kitty is the best way to go.

Catnip can go about two weeks without water so if the weather is very dry you will need to water your plants.

Here are a few tips on caring for your plants. At the end of summer place a couple of inches of mulch such as peat moss around the base of your plants to keep the plants warmer and moister.

Use a water-soluble fertilizer according to package instructions every other week from spring till summer.

When flowers begin to bloom stop fertilizing.

In late summer you should cut the plants back to encourage new growth. Remove any faded blooms to improve the appearance of the plants.  After the first freeze cut the plants back to ground level.

In early summer cut the stems and leaves before the flowers begin to bloom and dry the leaves in an area with good air circulation. It will take two or three weeks for the leaves to dry completely.  Put them in a closed container in a cool place for use later.

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