• Julia Johnson, Assistant Manager

Toys + catnip make “purrfect” holiday gifts for cats

It’s that time of year to start your holiday gift list for friends and family. But what about your furry friends at home? If your kitty hasn’t been on the naughty list too many times this year, then he definitely deserves a nice treat! So start thinking about some fun gifts for your cat or kitten this holiday season. Keeping your house cats physically active and mentally stimulated is important, and toys can help achieve that. The “purrfect” toy will keep them moving and entertained, and if you can prevent them from getting bored by playing with toys you choose, then maybe they are less likely to choose other household items as their makeshift toys. That’s right – maybe they won’t shred the toilet paper or knock the vase off your end table. Cat toys can be purchased or even made -- kitties aren’t too choosy when it comes to something to play with. They especially like lightweight objects they can swat around, such as ping pong balls, paper wadded into a ball, or brightly colored cat toy balls that may even have bells or other noisemakers inside for added excitement. They love to stalk things like large feathers or rope on the end of a stick or rod, and laser pointers can provide lots of fun, too. Whether making or buying toys for your cats or kittens, make sure they are safe. Avoid anything the cat can chew or swallow that may harm him like loose ribbon, string, yarn, paper clips, etc. If you want to spice up the toys, catnip is always a great choice. Catnip can cause your cat to become frisky -- like jumping, running and rolling around and displaying excitement about this new scent. What causes this, though? Nepetalactone and a cat’s genetics! Nepetalactone is a chemical found in the oil that is in the stem and leaves of this perennial herb in the mint family. It can cause a euphoric reaction in felines, which is hilarious to watch. Cats can react differently, though; some roll in it or eat the catnip and get feisty, and others will smell it and walk away to snooze some more. The Humane Society of the United States says, “an estimated 50 percent of cats don’t respond to catnip and it’s an inherited sensitivity.” For cats that are affected, the state of excitement usually only lasts around 10 minutes and then they are off to do other essential tasks of the day, such as sleeping. Young kittens usually are not affected until they reach about three to six months of age. Toys are great options to keep your cat or kitten entertained, and catnip makes it more fun for our feline friends, not to mention the excitement it brings us watching them react to this plant. If you have any more questions about cat toys or catnip, don’t hesitate to call us at 859-873-5491 or email manager@woodfordhumane.org.

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