meta name="google-site-verification" content="GVVnphmDyZK4aCulqTFlYckK1HT-PjYqu1BL70ZazFA" /> Catnip Treasure: August 2008
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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Questions to ask

How to find a responsible breeder
With regard to finding a breeder, cat shows are the best places to meet and talk to breeders. You can see all the different colors and patterns, learn about the characteristics of the breed, and ask questions. Do your homework, and try not to fall in love with the first kitten you see.

How early do you let your kittens go to new homes?
Responsible breeders typically don't let them go until they're 12 weeks old (some wait until 16 weeks). There are many reasons for this, but proper socialization and having a fully functioning immune system are two good ones.

Cat Food - How to Choose the Best Cat Food
You needn't know a lot about cat food when choosing the best cat food. What you need to know, however, is your cat. What's his age? Life stage? Health history? Body type? When you can answer these questions, choosing the best cat food will be a relatively simple choice. many brands of premium, or ‘natural' cat food will contain higher-quality, more nutritious ingredients. Whether canned or dry, it is nutritionally complete, and has few artificial ingredients or fillers. Your veterinarian, the AAFCO, approves it and, most importantly, it is given the gold-star approval rating by your cat.

Why Do Cats Spray?
Cats mark their territory by spraying urine in order to deposit pheromones.
If your cat is spraying, there are several things you can do:
..Have your veterinarian examine your cat to rule out the possibility of a medical problem.
..If your cat has not been
neutered, consider having it done. This may solve the problem
..Clean urine marks thoroughly with a special product designed to neutralize the odor. Avoid
ammonia-based products, which smell like urine. The smell of urine or ammonia encourages
the cat to spray on the same spot again.
..If your pet is in a stressful situation, try to identify and eliminate the cause of the stress.
..Use a commercial pheromone product such as Feliway® to discourage your pet from spraying.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Why Do Cats Like Catnip?

Catnip has a common name of "cat mint", and it comes from the mint family. It is actually edible by humans, you can put the pretty purple flowers into your salad in the spring (if you've got any left and the neighbourhood cats haven't got there before you). The Latin name for catnip is Nepeta cataria, and originally was grown as a weed in Europe, but now the plant grows all over the world, since it's commercial value in cat related products has been realised. All cats respond differently to catnip. Some of them walk away cuz they couldn't care less, but others go ape. The cats that do go crazy are responding to the active ingredient in catnip called Nepetalactone. The reaction to this chemical is caused by the organ that operates a cat's five senses (touch, smell, sight, sound and taste.)

Most cats love catnip, each cat has it's own little way of reacting to it, some cats will rub themselves all over it, and others with spend all day trying to eat it. My cat insists on licking the area of catnip until there is nothing left. Nobody particularly knows why cats go so mad over catnip, it could be the scent of the plant, there may be a plant hormone similar to cat hormones, or it could act like a drug to your cat, no one cat be totally sure, as each cat will act in its own way. Even though cats go crazy and some even seem drugged around catnip it's not a drug. It's actually an herb that belongs to the mint family. When the leaves are broken it releases a certain chemical that most cats respond to. All cats respond differently to catnip. Those cats that do react will eat it or lick it; some roll in it and others just sniff it. The catnip reaction is inherited so not all of them respond. Young kittens and old cats rarely respond although large cats like tigers will. If your cat's behavior doesn't change around catnip it's nothing to worry about. About 10 to 30 percent of cats don't go berserk over catnip.

If you have a cat that simply loves catnip, why not grow your own. Visit your local garden centre and simply look for the Cat Mint plant or seeds. It's very easy to grow and can take over your whole garden (it's very invasive) if it's not contained. So try to grow it in a container, buying a small plant is better than growing from seed, as your cat may be far too interested in the seedlings to let them grow to maturity. These won't set you back much and due to the spreading nature of the plant you'll probably only ever have to buy one. This will save you loads of money, as in the shops catnip can be very overpriced. Simply cut off a few leaves at a time when you need it. Or you can cut off whole stems at the end of the summer and hang them to dry in a warm and dry place (like and airing cupboard), and then crush them up and keep them in a jar, as long as there is a lid on the jar they will keep indefinitely.

Catnip is completely safe and isn't addictive to cats so give your feline friend a treat like Catnip Puffs every now and then. The most amusing thing about giving cats catnip is the behavior change. Although it's safe, keep in mind you can have too much of a good thing. If a cat eats lots of fresh catnip it could puke or have diarrhea but this is rare. If it does happen don't give your cat as much catnip or any at all. Catnip doesn't affect all cats, some are not bothered by it at all. It will affect about half of the cats in the world. This is because there is a gene that is inherited that will determine whether or not your cat will go mad for cat nip. You will not be able to tell whether your cat likes catnip until it is about 4 months old, as they do not show any affect before this. Also when your cat gets older (an elderly cat), it will show less and less interest in catnip. You can almost guarantee if your cat's relatives were from a region that was originally native to catnip, then they will be effected, where as those from other parts of the world probably will not be.

How much catnip should be given?
You only need a little bit. If you are using the fresh catnip, you may need just enough to fill the palm of your hand. If you are giving them the catnip that is still on the stem, only one sprig should be fine. The lasting effect of the catnip is anywhere from 10 minutes to 30 minutes. After that, the cat usually walks away or takes a nap. The cat may come back for more a few hours later.

What is the Best Catnip?
If you are able to get fresh catnip, it works the best. If you are not able to get the fresh stuff, you can get dried organic catnip. It is almost as good as the fresh stuff, but a little bit of the oil is gone. The non-organic dried catnip is the cheapest, but most of the oil is gone. There are toys stuffed with catnip, but they are not as effective because the leaves are too dry and most of the oil is gone. You can buy catnip spray to use on scratching posts. This helps gets a cat interested in using the scratching post. There is a pure spray and an artificial spray. The price of the pure spray is much higher, but you don't need to use very much of it.

Catnip is great for training your cat. If you have a sofa scratching cat, you can encourage you cat to use a scratching post, by placing it near the area it is scratching and spraying some catnip on it, you cat will then become far more interested in the post rather than the sofa. Don't go mad with catnip, as your cat will loose it's sensitivity to it. So give is as a treat, and your cat will be far more appreciative.