We have four cats, ages two through 16, at our house, so finding something that keeps all of them happy and entertained can be a challenge. This morning, I tried making some catnip tea for them. While I knew that our big boy, Trooper, probably wouldn't be interested (catnip doesn't affect him), I figured it might be a fun diversion for the others, as well as maybe another way to encourage them to drink more water. Here's what happened.
Roughly one in three domesticated cats do not respond to catnip. If this is your kitty, try silver vine or valerian instead.
Flaca Was Into It As Soon As the Catnip Came Out
Before I even got to the tea part, our youngest, Flaca, was investigating. She probably would have been happy if I'd just dumped the teaspoon of dry catnip on the carpet, but she waited patiently while I prepared the tea.
When using dry catnip, crush it between your fingers to re-activate the nepetalactone, the essential oil in catnip that cats just love.
Catnip Tea Ingredients
I decided to try the same amount I usually give my cats, plus water, to see how they reacted compared to normal-old catnip on the floor or toys.
3-4 oz plain water
1 teaspoon dry catnip
Steps: Boil the Water
I boiled about 3-4 oz. of water in a small ceramic microwaveable bowl. My cats are used to getting treats in these.
Steps: Stir In One Teaspoon Catnip
While still steaming, I stirred in about one teaspoon of dry catnip. My cats prefer this over fresh catnip from the garden.
Steps: Let Cool
I put the bowl aside to let it cool but sat nearby to watch and wait. I didn't want my cats to try it while still hot and risk getting burned.
Once Again, Our Cat Flaca Came Exploring
About 10 minutes after I put the bowl aside, Flaca came over to explore. She was pretty insistent on checking out what was in the bowl, so I decided to leave the "tea" as-is and not strain it. At this point, the liquid was warm, but not hot.
If you prefer, you can strain the tea with a kitchen strainer or use a reusable tea ball.
Flaca Loved It
As soon as I put the tea on the table, Flaca followed me and was the first to enjoy some extra catnip tea. She's our youngest and doesn't like to drink water, so this is actually a really good find! We're always looking for ways to increase her hydration and keep those kitty kidneys healthy.
Before You Know It, She Was Feeling Funny
Within minutes, Flaca was on the ground, rolling around and playing. I'd say the catnip tea met with her approval!
Captain Approved of the Catnip Tea, Too
Our second cat, Captain, is a big orange and white boy with Cerebellar Hypoplasia, meaning he wobbles a lot. Pretty soon, the smell of the tea brought him in to explore. He checked it out and was head-bobbing and rolling with approval within minutes as well.
Two out of four so far.
Our Old Man Cat, Jack, Prefers the Original
Third to check out the tea was our eldest boy, Jack. At 16 years old, he's more interested in sleeping and cuddling than playing, but he still enjoys a roll in dry catnip from time to time.
That said, Jack seems to prefer the original catnip-on-the-carpet method. He gave the catnip tea a few licks, but then went back to napping on the sunny couch and asking for cuddles. Oh well, two out of three isn't bad for my brood.
Even Trooper Came Out to Investigate
Surprisingly, even our boy Trooper — the cat who usually doesn't like catnip — came out to investigate the new smells in the living room. He didn't partake in the tea at all, but relaxed in the sun, watching the "kids" of the house enjoy their fun.
Catnip Tea: 2.5 of 4 Stars
In all, all four cats came out to explore mid-day, so that's definitely an achievement with my brood. Flaca and Captain definitely loved the new catnip tea, while our older boys seemed more interested in watching the youngsters roll around on the carpet. Still, we now have a new way to encourage Flaca to drink more water, so I'd say this new trial is a success! And now Captain is staring at me, asking "what's next?"