Catnip Test-off

Guest post by Claire Pfeiffer

Cats are so lucky.

It takes just a sniff of catnip to get them feeling wonderful, whereas we humans must rely on more invasive and costly contraband materials to receive the same effects. And catnip is so cheap; if I gave my cats an allowance, they’d become total dope addicts. My mom had some catnip planted in her garden last summer, and she made lots of feline friends–the catnip patch became a communal meeting place for all the cats in the know, like a kitty café. A garden just isn’t quite complete without a few kitties romping in it.

The effects of catnip are so pleasing to cats, and also to their people, who get to watch the hilarious action of their cats rolling around blissfully. In our Lab this month, I took two unwitting guinea pigs, or rather, cats, as test subjects in an experiment on the effects of catnip on cats. My hypothesis was that differing grades or consumer varieties of catnip have dissimilar effects on kitties, as extrapolated from knowledge of other types of drugs and their variance. Though the variables in this test were wildly uncontrollable, and proved only to get increasingly uncontrollable as the test proceeded, I believe to have proved my hypothesis correct, and submit to you my results, in the hope that my research will contribute to you finding more ease and wisdom in purchasing or growing catnip.

Our cats, Maddy and Opale, were the test subjects. Forthwith is my scientific log of events.

Day One:

Opale munchs on premium herb.

I started off by testing some catnip pronounced Primo by experts. I scored it at an “herboriste”, where they sell all sorts of arcane herbage grown in pristine organic conditions in spiral formations reminiscent of alien landing sites. My cats weren’t visited by visions of little green men (observed: they didn’t act freaked out, and they didn’t say specifically that they saw these ubiquitous little dudes. Obviously this points to one of the main problems with conducting experiments on cats, namely that they can’t speak human, but since I have a strong relationship with each of our cats, I believe I can tell what they’re thinking, and also vice-versa, which creeps me out, really.

But I am not discounting the fact that they could’ve been protecting something, as some people have proposed that cats are actually from outer space. But I digress. In fact, I think that instead of whirling out into the galaxy, this trip for them was pretty grounding. They were really “in” their bodies, and didn’t give a shit that they looked like total goofs as they rolled all crazy on the floor, getting pieces of paper stuck on them and so on. They were a lot like the peaced-out hippie ladies I bought the stuff from. The coming-down was totally settling, and now they are both quietly doing their own thing.

Day Two:

Maddy gets wacky on the floor with catnip.

First of all, I was very surprised that the Cosmic Cat-Snacks I bought were meant to be eaten at all, considering that kitties only gotta smell the weed to feel alright. After trying these on one cat, (the other one turned up her nose to these liver-flavoured nuggets) I was disappointed that she didn’t react like the cartoon cats on the package, who looked crazed and ecstatic. Mind you, the illustrations were of orange cats, which are usually of a more maniacal nature than mild-mannered grey ones. Indeed, Opale did cavort with a bit more frisk, but I can’t even be sure that she wasn’t just acting as usual. I even tried giving her a double dose just to see if she’d go nutty, but without results. (There are no reported negative side effects of catnip on cats.) Meanwhile, Maddy is still catching a buzz offa the minute amount of organic homegrown still lingering on my floor from yesterday.

Day Three:

The scientific veracity of today’s experiment was foiled by the cats jump-starting the process and ripping open the little baggie of industrial-grade corner-store catnip in my backpack while I was scrubbing up. I wonder whether they aren’t now hooked on the weed. Will observe them for withdrawal symptoms and report later. I thought this stuff was supposed to be safe; my suspicions now tell me that in fact, this may be a lie concocted by the establishment to keep all cats complacent and silence them, preventing them from exposing the truth. (Trust me, if I knew what this truth was, I would tell you. That’s the whole problem.) Today’s stuff proved largely ineffectual, although it could be only in comparison with the potent variety they sampled on Day One. The trip only lasted 10 minutes, and they both ended up all rolled up in the living-room carpet, purring. Now they are making advances on me to give them another hit. But I am through with pushing–I’m thinking of some humane way I can devise a metered-dose system for my poor little drug addicts.


Subscribe to get weekly updates from Gayla