Catnip, it’s not just for cats! It’s easy to grow your own too!

Catnip (Nepeta cataria) is a perennial herb of the mint family native to Europe, Africa and Asia. Legend has it that Captain John Mason introduced catnip to Newfoundland around 1620 as an essential plant for settlers’ gardens. https://www.motherearthliving.com/plant-profile/catnip-and-cousins Catnip enjoys a long history worldwide as an important herb with both culinary and medicinal uses. Although undocumented, the Egyptians, known for their love of cats, may have been the first to discover catnip’s recreational aspect by providing the herb to felines in their care. http://catniptoy.co.uk/the-history-of-catnip/




Isaac Newton

Have you ever wondered who put the “cat” in catnip? Catnip has long been a mainstay of herbal medicine, but it is taken orally for its calming effect and to soothe digestive upsets. The ingredient that makes kitties leap for joy is nepetalactone, a volatile oil. Although many cats enjoy nibbling on catnip, the euphoria (and downright silly behavior, if I do say so myself) comes from sniffing the nepetalactone. Due to our special nasal receptors cats (as well as our wild cousins: leopards, lynxes, lions and tigers) are the only mammals who can enjoy the delightful sensations. http://www.chm.bris.ac.uk/motm/nepetalactone/nepetalactoneh.htm

Do all cats love catnip? As a matter of fact, no. Sensitivity is genetically controlled so not every cat will feel the effects. It is commonly thought that 10-30% show no interest at all as they did not get the “catnip gene.” In general, kittens are not affected until they are three months old.

Fresh catnip is the best (especially just before flowering), but it is hard to grow if you can’t keep the local cats away from your garden. If you must buy the dried variety consider quality. The active ingredient is highest in flower buds and leaves, but inferior commercial blends may be 80% stems. https://www.motherearthliving.com/plant-profile/catnip-and-cousins

Wanting to grow your own? The seeds have a rather poor germination rate, so plant lots! Also plant them away from your house or every cat in town will be loitering and rolling around crushing the plants! Some parts of the US produce very good catnip and other parts produce catnip that’s not so potent – it’s all about soil and weather.

All of the cats at my house enjoy catnip to varying degrees. I have to admit that I am a bit of a “nip head” and am a little down if I don’t get my daily dose. I positively adore it! Fortunately it is nontoxic and non-habit forming. We cats know when we’ve had enough. Some people don’t want to give catnip to their cats because the crazy behavior makes them uncomfortable. However, a little catnip can encourage play (especially in older cats), elevate moods and ultimately act as a mild sedative facilitating the all-important ritual of cat napping. A little loose catnip on the scratching post can also encourage proper manners around furniture.

Cat Faeries Legendary Catnip Toys are my favorite way to enjoy catnip. The catnip is wildcrafted from catnip which grows in a secret place in the US where, due to soil and weather conditions, the level of nepetalactone is the highest on the planet! The smell is irresistible right through the box and the toys are adorable and are very durable. I know mine get a lot of use. Of course, if you’re not a cat you may prefer a soothing cup of catnip tea while you watch Kitty enjoys her new toys. Just keep in mind that a big cup of catnip tea can cause you to doze off to slumberland!

Catnip has some surprising health benefits for people including: sleep aid, menstrual cramp killer, hot flash cool down, and upset tummy settler! For cats it’s great for their immune system.
 
 
 
 

Are essential oils safe for your cat?

Cat Faeries gets about 30 emails a week asking if we carry essential oils, and if we don’t, they want to know why. We also hear from people who have essential oils confused with flower essences, which are what Cat Faeries specializes in and are two very different things. And these are great questions! One is a volatile plant oil, and the other is purely vibrational, the vibration of a plant or flower, not actual plant material.

In 1982 Auntie Cat Faerie got her first certification as an aromatherapist and believe me when I tell you, in 1982 NO ONE knew what on earth that was, the word actually scared them! Auntie Cat Faerie went on to get 4 more certifications during the 1980’s. (just a little obsessed are we?!) But by the early 1990’s the term aromatherapy was being misused and overused so she got out of that field not wanting to be associated with a modality that had corporations who make those toxic “air fresheners” but began to call them aromatherapy, or with people who had zero training or background who got involved in multi level marketing selling essential oils to friends and co-workers. Also, aromatherapy was never a good term for essential oil usage as the smell is only one part of the benefits of this healing modality – Essential Oil Therapy would have been better. Anyway, the oils penetrate skin, enter the blood stream, and can affect all vital organs, therefore on must be highly trained to recommend or administer them. And understand the species they wish to work with.

Sir Issac Newton our “feline editor at-large” wanted to give our readers the scoop on essential oils and their use for cats. Before you pounce on that story I’m going to tell you about a use for one essential oil, oregano oil, which will prove how effective the oils can be – as well as – how strong these volatile compounds are.

You’ve heard about “oil pulling” with coconut oil? If not, you would take a spoonful of coconut oil, and add ONE drop of oregano oil to it, put it in your mouth and swish for 15 to 20 minutes, first thing in the morning, before eating or drinking anything, to remove toxins and freshen the mouth. Yes, 15 or 20 minutes seems like an eternity to swish something in your mouth so to distract myself I feed the cats and check email – the time flies. When the time is up spit it out in the trash (not the sink) and rinse with water or use a dedicated toothbrush. My dentist is blown away by my progress because I had a history of gum disease which is 100% resolved from the swishing. I try to swish again before bed, after flossing, and interestingly the two oils always seem to find and dislodge a particle or two that I missed flossing! Now this is where essential oil therapy comes into play and its truly fascinating – the added oregano oil is so potent that it literally has kept me from accumulating any tartar. As you know tartar is so rock hard at the gum line or clinging to teeth needs to be chiseled off by a dentist. Well, if oil swishing with one drop of oregano oil has keep Auntie Cat Faerie tartar-free (truly, my mouth is a tartar producing factory) you can imagine what too much could do if ingested by a person and small animal like a cat. The best of the holistic veterinarians we know, like Cheryl Schwartz, says NO to essential oils for cats. Many cats have died or ended up in the Kitty ER from essential oils.

As a side note, our Catnip Meow Mist is a hydrosol which is the watery run off during the process of making essential oils. Catnip doesn’t yield much in the way of essential oil (don’t trust anyone who says that it does, it will be fake if they are selling it) but it makes a divine hydrosol and it’s perfectly safe for a cat, baby, or any being to come in contact with. Can this be said about other hydrosols? Maybe yes, maybe no – it would depend upon the plant used.


Newton’s Purrspective – Essential Oils – Should They be Used on Cats?

Essential oils are all the rage for people these days. Uses range from plain enjoyment of the fragrance to treatment of actual physical ailments. The oils can have therapeutic value, but many factors determine the quality of the extracted plant oils.

These include:

  • The plant itself and what part is used
  • Climate and cultivation methods
  • Timing and method of harvest
  • How the oil is produced and stored




Isaac Newton

How many people do the research to determine if the essential oils they purchase are high quality? Are they likely to do what the company claims? Do they contain impurities which could be harmful? To date, there is no regulation.

That said, I’m not surprised that the use of essential oils for cats remains highly controversial. One of the attractions of the oils for people is the scent. Cinnamon! Eucalyptus! Lavender! Cats’ noses are very sensitive (one of the reasons we prefer unscented cat litter) and we are unlikely to find enjoyment in such concentrated perfume.

Some people use the oils for perfume as well as therapy. A drop or two of lavender is said to be calming for people. However, it is unlikely to have the same effect on Kitty. Also, remember that anything you apply topically to a cat is likely to be licked off in minutes. Oils may be safe for humans to ingest, but cats have a different metabolism and sensitivities to chemical compounds.

Essential oils are highly concentrated. Some, such as the popular Tea Tree Oil, can cause serious skin irritation if not diluted. This, of course, is a danger in applying any oil directly to a cat’s skin. Also remember that oils are fat soluble. They cannot be simply rinsed off. And, once absorbed by the skin they can travel to any part of the body containing fat.

Most oils can be distributed into the air using a nebulizing diffuser. Although much less concentrated than direct inhalation the mist could still be an irritant to Kitty’s delicate nostrils. For safety’s sake some recommend using a diffuser only in a part of the house with no cat access.

The bottom line is I could find no evidence that essential oils should ever be used on cats. The potential hazards are far too great.

However, cats can still enjoy the benefits of plant compounds. Hydrosols come from steam distillation of plants used for aromatherapy. The result is a much less concentrated plant essence. Auntie Cat Faerie explained to me that this is the process used to produce Catnip Meow Mist. I love this for freshening up my Cat Faeries toys. I didn’t mind pieces of dried catnip all over the floor, but it triggers the need to vacuum in some people.

Flower essences are the safest product available for your cat. They are generally made from an infusion of plants and flowers picked at their peak. However, Cat Faeries is one of the few companies using a special process that is in harmony with the natural and healing spirit worlds.

Unlike oils, flower essences have no scent. Cat Faeries flower essences also lack alcohol, vinegar or anything else that would taste bad. They can be sprayed on furniture, added to food or water, and even applied directly to Kitty. The Flower Essence section lists more than a dozen scenarios and directs you to the appropriate product for your cat or cats. If you are unsure, send an email to Auntie Cat Faerie. She will be happy to answer your questions.
 
 
 
 

Feline longevity, a long life for your cat.

Everyone wants to live a long and happy life, and your cat is no exception. Cat Faeries is devoted to making the lives of cats healthful, while providing solutions for good behavior. Here are our picks for feline life extension!

Kidney Kitty Flower Essence Formula For Cats
Starting when your cat is young, or really starting at any age because it’s never too late: a few drops in the water bowl every day supports kidney function. We’ve heard from many customers who said that when they ran out they saw a negative difference in their cat. Once they started again the cat rallied!

Here’s a recent quote from a customer…

Pita is almost 15 now. A few weeks ago he was displaying signs of kidney problems – lethargic, lack of appetite, his coat was getting nappy. I upped his daily dose of Kidney Kitty, and I was amazed – he bounced back to his normal self within 3 days!!! Thank you Cat Faeries!

Pam – January, 2015

Elder Support Flower Essence Formula For Cats
At the first sign of age start with this one in the water bowl or mixed into food. Supports joints, the brain, and the thyroid.
Mood Music for Cats (and cat lovers): A Ball of Twine, a CD of calming music
We can’t emphasize enough how soothing sounds and serenity kick illnesses to the curb, extend life, lower blood pressure, lower blood sugar, and so much more. We love this CD. It’s not new agey, these are original compositions which remind us a bit of lullabies. It’s very pretty music. There’s a sound clip at the link – hold your cat while you play it and see the reaction!
Comfort Zone with Feliway – Diffuser Plug-Ins
Even if your cats are perfect with their litter boxes and don’t fight the calming scent of this pheromone will keep them calm. Calm cats = cats who’ll age very well and gracefully. Place one in any room where your cats spend most of their time. Each refill bottle lasts 4 weeks. This is a great investment in your cat’s health and future.

Toys! Toys! Toys! And more Toys!
A lot of human fitness experts have stopped using words like “work” out, rather they are calling exercise “play.” And play is something we like to do no matter our age, cats included. Running, leaping, chasing, stalking, pouncing keeps your cat young with limber joints and a trim body. Our toys are American made. The catnip inside is ethically wildcrafted with the highest level of nepetalactone of any catnip on the planet (yes, it’s been tested!). The unique shapes, fabrics, and sizes appeal to cats of all ages, and the adorableness appeals to people.

Sleep my pretties, sleep! (in a Faerie Cat Bed!)

Our cat beds are American made in a small factory in California by workers who are paid a living wage and are treated very well. And they are pretty! And soft. Our beds do not have that toxic foam on the sides. Who wants toxins! Besides, those beds can’t be washed, and your cat can’t bend or position the sides to be comfy and cozy. Our beds wash beautifully and they are attractive to your cat and will look great in your home.

And, Green Cat Beds Are On Sale!

Celebrating Black Cats in October!

“Yum Yum, that witch was so tasty that all that’s left is her hat!”

Our delightful customer Kate sent this darling photo of her cat with one of our catnip witch’s hats. We just had to share it with you!

For the month of October 2014, we celebrate black cats. We will be donating 1% of our sales to several black cat rescue groups. Shop with Cat Faeries – help black cats!

Do you have a gorgeous black cat or two? Send us their photos! Videos too! We’ll post them on Pinterest, our October newsletters, and on Facebook. Send them to catfaeries@catfaeries.com and put the words Photos for Pinterest in the subject line.

Black cats are the hardest for rescue groups to adopt out and place in loving homes. They are euthanized more than any other color cat because of silly and antiquated superstitions. Let’s help raise money to support the various black cat rescue groups in the US. Do you know of one? Tell us who they are! We love black cats! We love all cats!

To go with your new catnip witch’s hats we also have catnip pumpkins and Indian corn!

To some cats, every day is Halloween!

Do cats get depressed? They do – how you can help.


(Bizarro is one of our favorite comic strips!)

 
 

The recent suicide of comic genius Robin Williams has gotten a lot people talking about depression and keeping a closer eye on friends and relations who suffer from depression. But what about our cats, do they sometimes get depressed?

Well, they do. Generally feline depression can be overcome fairly quickly. So many things can trigger it. A death in the family (and that can be family with two feet and no tail, or four feet and a tail) is a big one. Cats can mourn anywhere from a few hours or days, to weeks into months. Any big changes to the home can be a trigger. If your cat feels neglected depression can set in.

Many years ago when we brought Torti home, our other tortoiseshell cat Tasha, let out a cry that was more like a wail a heartbreaking sound that we’d never heard before or ever heard again. It was as if she thought she was being replaced with another cat that looked like her, but was younger. It took loving work, but Tasha snapped out of it a week later and the two girls became inseparable until they both crossed The Rainbow Bridge.

Here are some of the warning signs that Kitty is depressed:

  • Not eating at all or eating much less than usual is number one.
  • Not grooming is probably the second sign that something is wrong (either depression or illness)
  • Hiding. Not engaging with you or the other cats.
  • Your cat could start to sleep noticeably more.
  • Your cat could become very quiet, not meowing, or purring.
  • On the flip side of that your cat could start to yowl which is comparable to us sobbing.
  • Walking with tail and head down, whiskers seem to droop,
  • They may become aggressive towards you or others in the home. They might hiss or bite, or swat.
  • They might stop using the litter box for either pooping or peeing, perhaps even both.
  • The cat may use the litter box but might not bury their droppings.
  • Loss of interest in toys, and affection from you.

Here is how Cat Faeries can help you to help your depressed cat.

A Ball of Twine, a calming music CD created just for cats to be played while you are not at home. The composer has studied the effects of sound on the brain, heart, and cells of the body so this music is truly medicinal.

Comfort Zone with Feliway – Diffusers can be installed in the room or rooms that this cat spends the most time in. That pheromone was intended to stop cats from peeing outside of the box but when it was created in the late 1990’s it was discovered that it calms cats and snaps them out of funks.

Catnip Mist can be sprayed on your cat’s bedding or favorite resting or hiding places. Most cats find the aroma of catnip hard to resist!

Our flower essence formulas. So many good ones to choose from: Moves and Changes, Calm and Serene, Multi Cat Household, Past Abuse, Forget Me Not (for mourning). One formula can go into the food and/or water bowl while another one is lovingly massaged on the cat’s head and ears.

Some Favorite Catnip Cat Toys Back in Stock