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Free Cat Toys – Grow Catnip for Free Homemade Cat Toys

Grow Catnip for Free Homemade Catnip Toys

About Catnip

It’s not a myth–cats go wild for catnip! You can grow your own catnip to make homemade catnip cat toys, and your furry felines will beg for more. Catnip (Nepeta cataria), sometimes called catmint, is an aromatic member of the mint family that contains nepetalactone, an organic compound that cats sniff for its semi-narcotic effect. (Humans can also enjoy catnip’s soothing quality by drinking tea made from fresh catnip.)

When a cat encounters catnip, it usually sniffs it, rubs against it, licks it & finally eats it. It’s actually the sniffing that produces the high, cats can smell 1 part in a billion in the air, so the cats will eat catnip to bruise the catnip and therefore release more of the nepetalactone. The high produced will usually last for between five and ten minutes and is not harmful to your cat. They won’t overdose on it as most cats know when they’ve had enough and will refuse any further offers.

A side benefit of growing Catnip is that it is also an effective repellent of mosquitoes and cockroaches.

Grow Catnip from Seed

Decide on the location for your containers. Catnip, like most mints, appreciates full sun but will tolerate partial shade, so a sunny patio or south facing balcony or windowsill is ideal.

Fill the containers almost to the top with sterile potting soil and add in a few handfuls of compost or other organic fertilizer and course sand and mix with the soil.

Sprinkle catnip seeds onto the soil, spacing them according to the seed packet instructions and cover lightly with a quarter-inch layer of soil.

Water the pot very gently using a watering can with a spray head to avoid dislodging the planted catnip seeds. Thoroughly moisten the soil, but don’t saturate it, and continue to monitor the soil’s moisture and whenever it feels dry to the touch water it to keep it moist.

Thin the seedlings when they reach two inches in height. Catnip grows rapidly once it sprouts so when you thin out the seedlings you’ll see the remaining plants respond with vigorous growth. Scratch and Purr

Keep your cats away from the plants, if you can, to allow the plant to mature. You could use wire netting to protect the plant which will allow leaves to grow through for your cats while protecting the body of the plant.

Harvest when the plant is 8 to 10 inches tall as by that stage the leaves will be large and mature (harvest regularly for continual growth throughout the season). The harvest process will depend on how you will be drying the catnip, if drying flat then snip or pinch off the top leaves, if hanging the catnip to dry, snip off long stems. Drying can take several weeks but you can speed it up by placing the leaves on a baking sheet in the oven on the lowest setting. This will take about six hours. The leaves are dry when you can easily crumble them with your fingers, discard the woody stems, and can now be stored in airtight plastic or glass jars.

 

 

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