Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Integrationists and Segregationists

An advantage, I thought, of growing orchids indoors was that the cats were indifferent.  Keeping gardenias proved difficult because the cats (well, Griffin, primarily) would eat the leaves and flowers.  The cats seemed to ignore the orchids altogether.  Bean gets excited on watering day.  Sometimes Griffin will jump on the window sill and knock one over.  But, more or less, they leave them alone.

Then I heard a story.  Gaby told me that her cat once ate a Paphiopedilum bloom that was getting ready to open.  Snap.  Just like that.  The cat probably thought it was some kind of treat, or it was simply being vindictive.

Anyway, ever since I heard that tale, I took my Paph. -- which now has a nice bloom that's getting ready to unfold -- and put it in a secure position inside the shelf next to the orchid table.  Lan Lan doesn't seem to mind that her orchid is in a new location, and she has a (surprisingly healthy!) Phal. to look after upstairs.

Out on the World Wide Web, opinions vary widely on the question of separating cats and orchids.  Edin, an orchid grower from Arizona, takes a decidedly segregationist approach, only bringing cut flowers into the house.  Penelope, an orchid hobbyist from Wisconsin, bans her cats from the growing area and uses a chew deterrent spray (bitter apple).  Others have adopted more extreme measures to keep the felines away.

I like CJ Watkins' integrationist approach.  Watkins grows kitty grass and keeps it by his orchids so the cats have an alternative.  We have a similar arrangement with cat nip growing on the bookshelf next to the orchid table.  I think cat grass might be a better choice or, at least, a good addition to the current set-up.  Or should I adopt more aggressive measures now?  A lot of it, of course, depends on Griffin.

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