My cats offer companionship in so many ways—cuddling, engaging conversation (I’m not 100 percent fluent in catspeak, but still get what their saying) and just hanging-out together. They watch TV with me, are intrigued with what I’m reading, provide me with their undivided attention when I’m working (why is that?), but sometimes the most fun I have with my cats is during “happy hour.”
No—I don’t take them to the Marine Room Tavern. We do our own homespun version: I pour myself a glass of cabernet (or chardonnay depending on the season), break out the Cosmic Catnip and watch Topper and Lexington go wild. The party starts after the cats curiously sniff then taste the catnip that I’ve sprinkled onto a small rug. After they take in the aroma and flavor, Lex, lying on his belly, rubs the sides of his face into it; back and forth in between his widely sprawled front legs. Topper flops down and wriggles and rolls in it. Then the buzz really kicks in—the cats start bolting around the living room, heads darting back and forth with their eyes big and crazed, bolting from sofa to the cozy chair and back down to the cat weed, which is now all over the hardwood floor. I entice their antics with catnip toys, which they bat around like hockey pucks. Lex clenches the catnip mouse in his jaws and tosses it up into the air. It lands, he whacks at it with his big paw, and the hockey game ensues.
That is how boy cats party. My girl, Miss Bella, who passed two and a half years ago, was as refined as her name, except when it came to catnip. There was no waiting for the catnip to be sprinkled about. I couldn’t get the lid off of the container fast enough for Bella. She would urgently paw the catnip container, and when I lifted the lid she would full speed ahead plow her entire face into it. After retracting her catnip covered face from the container she would tear around the living room as though chasing imaginary prey. When the buzz wore off, I would finder her “crashed out” on the floor.
Bella also loved live catnip and could often be seen hugging the small ceramic pot containing the herb, guarding it from the boys—that is when she wasn’t mashing her face into its leaves.
Happy hour with the girls is a good time to catch-up; happy hour with the boyfriend is always fun, but happy hour with the cats, now that’s entertainment.
Catnip tidbits: catnip also known as catmint is a flowering perennial from the mint family. The ingredient that makes the cats go wild is an essential oil called nepetalactone, which causes a hallucinogenic effect that affects about 50-66% of cats, yet kittens 8 weeks and younger aren’t responsive to it; however, many wild cat species are. Catnip excites our feline friends, yet has a calming effect on us. Catnip tea is said to relieve stress, stomach upset and respiratory conditions.