Thursday, July 15, 2010

Decoy Cat Nip

We've discussed the split between cats and catts integrationists and cats and catts separatists: some allow their kitties to roam free among the orchids and others go to extreme measures to prevent feline botanical harassment.

My middle-ground approach involves the strategic placement of Nepeta cataria to lure the cats away.  I haven't had any major problems with the cats so far. Griffin has a sixth sense about when the Brassavola are vulnerable, and Riley's been known attack them, too, but we've avoided major disasters.  Like James Dodson planting hostas to lure deer away from his better hostas, I reason that we need to cover the orchid room in these decoy plants.

I started them for strategic purposes, but now I genuinely love the plant.  Its growth habit nicely fills in my office window, and it has an unique minty fragrance and cute flowers.  We have two containers of Nepeta cataria and a 3x3' patch in the yard which seems to attract an entire Navy of mosquitoes (making me question its alleged bug repellent properties).

Do the cats appreciate all of this work?  Griffin is the only one that truly gets excited about the fresh catnip.  She's spent hours in its thrall, rolling in it, chewing the leaves, endlessly rubbing her cheeks on the side of the planter, and (of course) drooling.  Sabine has shown interest in the plants we've dried and she's loved spending her summer days under the plant's tendrils, looking at the frogs from her window-side cat bed.  It's a hard knock life for Bean.  Lan Lan is a huge fan of the Cosmic Catnip Banana.  Riley?  Like other treats, Riley shows no interest whatsoever.

Maybe I'm growing the catnip just for Griffin?  That's okay.  As I've typed this post, she's watched over me purring.  It could be the picture of catnip on the computer screen that's making her happy.  Or maybe she's buttering me up so I'll give her treats.  It just might work.


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