Cat Things – Plant Catnip to Make Toys For Cats
Cat Things – Plant Catnip to Make Toys For Cats. I have grown different varieties of cat mint before but the one that cats prefer is Nepeta Cataria also known as catnip.
You can buy packets of seeds but a couple of year ago I got seeds for free in a packet of dried catnip that I bought for my cats. It took a while to sort them out from the leafy matter but with patience I collected many of the little dark grains.
It is very easy to grow, just keep it away from the cats for a while to give it a chance. In early spring sow the seeds in a seed tray with good compost, sprinkle a thin layer of compost over them and water. Cover over with glass or clingfilm until they germinate. Now place the tray in good light, but not in full sun. When the seedlings are big enough you can either re-pot or plant out in the garden.
If your seedlings were grown indoors you may need to harden off before planting outdoors, don’t plant out if there is risk of a frost. Plant about 12 to 18 inches apart and always plant more than you think you need (hide a few). Planting them activates the smell that cats love and it won’t take them long to find them.
They are not really the prettiest of plants, looking like a cross between mint and nettles; I think some of the more compact varieties are better looking. But as I grow them for my cats I am not too concerned by their appearance.
By early summer they should start to have spikes of tiny pale lavender flowers. Later on as they get to the end of the season and the flowers start to drop, cut off the top half of the stems tie them into a paper bag and hang them to dry. By tying them in a paper bag you can collect any seeds that drop ready for next year’s planting. Once they have thoroughly dried give the bag a good shake to get as much seed as you can. I usually store the seed in a labeled envelope ready for the next spring. Any stems that are too woody should be discarded the rest of the dried catnip is ready to give to your cats, or to use t make your own catnip toys.
Any plants still in the garden will need to be cut low at the the end of the growing season. The old stems get woody, new stems will usually grow the following spring.
To make a basic cat toyyou just need a small rectangle of cloth folded in half, sew the three seams, leaving a small opening on one side. Turn so the seams are inside, fill with catnip and stitch up the opening. Or you could be more ambitious making mice or rats. If you’re not into stitching put catnip onto a cloth gather it up into a ball and tie string around it.
And now comes the best part, watching your cat play!