What Makes Cats Happy and a Guest Photographer

As part of the renovation of my foundation plantings on the east side of my house, I decided to dig out all the catmint (Nepeta sp.) growing there. I called my youngest sister and said "I'm digging out all my catmint, do you...". Her immmediate response was yes. I didn't even have to finish the question. She takes nearly any every plant I offer her.

So yesterday I cut the catmint way back, dug it all out, and threw it in a trash bag. This morning, I took it to my sister's house and left it by the front steps and went inside.

When my sister arrived a few minutes later, this is what she found.

Their porch cat, MooMoo, had plunked herself down in the center of the catmint and laid there in a state of feline bliss.

I guess cat's do love catmint. Maybe this is why the neighbors' cats always seemed to be hanging out at my house? If so, they are going to be mighty disappointed that the party is over.

MooMoo, by the way, is a "special needs" cat. She was rescued years ago from some drug addicts by my sister's step-daughter. They said they gave MooMoo's mother LSD when she was pregnant and MooMoo was the only surviving kitten from her litter. Every once in a while, my sister thinks that MooMoo has some flashbacks or trips out from her previous LSD exposure, but is otherwise a good cat. She stays on the porch year around and just generally hangs out.

(Editorial... people like that shouldn't have pets!)

It is pretty shady by MooMoo's porch, but we did find one fairly sunny spot nearby to plant her a bit of catmint. The rest we put in the backyard for the other cats.

I just hope the cats give the catmint a chance to get established before they lay all over it.

(Photo provided by my niece Sophia, age nearly 10 years old next Saturday).


  1. AW!!! Moo-moo looks soooo happy! Your neice took a great picture. ;-)

  2. Catmint is a funny plant. Some of our cats adore it, others look at it doubtfully and then go on about their business. The catNIP on the other hand, sends them all into paroxysms of delight.
    Tigger is the catnip/catmint junkie here. He gets into it then lays around singing old Crosby Stills and Nash songs and looking for munchies.
    When we first moved here there was a giant catnip plant in the back yard and many, many many seedlings. Tigger ate all of it. (he did have some help, but he did most of the eating). He even dug up the plants and ate the roots and stems and all. That was eight years ago, and he still goes out looking for the catnip in that spot.

  3. I'm so glad MooMoo is in a good home now.My indoor kitty loves catnip.

  4. How can I tell the difference between catnip and cat mint? I have one of them which I planted for my cat and he loves to eat it but only if I pick it for him. It smells minty. an dits leaves are serrated and a bit like mint.

  5. Most of our cats love catnip. I don't have any catmint, so I don't know if they like that, but I'm guessing they would.

    What a cute Kitler!

    We have so many cats around here that I have to keep my catnip caged, or they would eat it right down to the ground and even dig out the roots. (That happened one year!) I just use a wire hanging basket placed upside down over the plant, secure it with Earth Staples, and let the catnip grow through. Works beautifully!

  6. In case you're wondering, Moo Moo has a cat carrier on the front porch she can get into & also in bad weather her home is in the garage. We are putting a cat door in the porch door so she can go into the garage to warm bedding in the winter. She doesn't like to come into the house & we don't encourage it because if she has a physotic flash-back she will walk up to you & bite your ankle. That's what street-drugs can do for you. Otherwise, she's a sweet kitty that can't be trusted.

  7. yes Carol, what is the difference between catnip and cat mint? Could we have a lesson please?

  8. Dirty Knees... I think my niece took a good picture, too. She seems to be the family photographer for my sister's family.

    Jodi... I hope the cats in my neighborhood don't keep going back to the spot where mine was growing and keep looking for it like yours do!

    Robin's Nesting Place... MooMoo on the whole does seem like a happy cat.

    Tabby... There are many species in the Genus Nepeta. I use the common names catmint and catnip interchangeably. Since someone gave me my plant, I don't know exactly which species/variety it is.

    Kylee... I have heard of gardeners caging the catnip to keep the cats away from it. That must drive the cats crazy!

    Eleanor... Thanks for more info on MooMoo. It is good to know she has a safe, dry place to go to when she wants to.

    Sister with the Homestead... I use the two common names interchangeably. I've been calling this plant catmint but given how attracted to it MooMoo was, maybe it is a catnip plant? Jodi who commented above might know.

    Thanks all for the comments!
    Carol at May Dreams Gardens

  9. Oh, look at the happy kitty.

    I find disabled kitties interesting they seem to be much more affectionate than their often aloof healthy counter-parts.

  10. MooMoo looks adorable lounging in the catmint. The problem with catmint, at least when my cat was alive, was that she used to sleep in the middle of it... it was always flattened. I couldn't get her to move, no matter how much catnip I offered as an inducement.

    Some people should never have pets!

  11. Do you think that Moo Moo will start to form an addiction to the cat mint because of her 'background'. You know this could lead to other things. Pretty soon she'll be hanging out with the wrong 'kitty crowd'. I think that she needs to go back to school or mayber get a job working with unfortunate kittens, something that keeps her off the streets.

  12. Me... MooMoo does like to rub up against your legs when you go up to the front door, but I've never seen her when she has one of her flashbacks.

    Kate... My sister had to use a little force to get MooMoo out of the bag so we could plant the catmint and she was none too happy about us taking it from her!

    Chigiy... MooMoo is pretty much a loner and stays around the porch, so unless the catmint nearby attracts a bad crowd of kitties to her, I think she'll be okay. So we'll have to watch out to see what happens.

    Thanks all for the nice comments.
    Carol at May Dreams Gardens

  13. I CAN answer this, because there are a nice variety of ornamental plants in this genus. There are a number of species in the genus Nepeta (a member of the mint family). Nepeta cataria is the true catnip, and has white flowers speckled with purple. Not very ornamental, but cats, as we have seen, adore it. Well, some cats do. We've had cats that ignore it completely--but then catpeople like Tigger and Simon Q and Toby Soprano make up for those who don't like it by eating all of it!
    Nepeta x faassenii is one of several plants called catmint. It's a hybrid of several species, and there are a number of cultivars out there; much more ornamental than regular catmint. Six Hills Giant, Walker's Low, (that was the perennial plant of the year this year), and a host of others. Cats will nibble it but it doesn't induce the riotous euphoria (at least in my herd).
    There's also N. grandiflora, (which I don't have) and N. subsessilis that are often used as ornamentals (I have a dandy one called Candy Cat with large pink flowers, plus another with large purple-blue flowers) and I don't know how many other species and cultivars.
    I can't tell from the picture of dear little MooMoo which plant she's laying in. Only that she's happy! And that's a great thing.
    Good to your sister (and your niece!) for looking out for MooMoo--and taking your spare plants, too.

  14. Great pic of a blissfully happy MooMoo by your niece Sophia! My cats are blissfully happy too when they lay down on the catnip or catmint. BTW they like valerian too.

    Your neighbourhood cats won't be so ecstatic now that their catmint is gone!!! ;-)

  15. Jodi... thanks for the great information. Based on what you wrote, this is a CatMINT.

    Yolanda Elizabet... You can't please all the cats all the time, now can you? At least my sister's cats will be happy!

    Thanks for the comments and additional information!
    Carol at May Dreams Gardens

  16. Moo moo looks to be in heaven! My cats love catnip, which is what I have growing all over the place. There is a whole patch of it at the edge of the sauna where the shower water makes it damp. The boys go out there and just lie around in the patch and do inhalation therapy. Then they come in the house and hang out near the cat tree, all happy and nappy. Except when they go bananas and tear up and down the hall.

  17. Oh Carol, the cats can still eat the catnip, but with the cage over it, they won't destroy it. They keep it naturally pruned, which is good for it, but enough is left that it keeps on growing more for them. At the end of summer last year, even with six cats muching on it, it had grown so that you couldn't see the cage. It didn't survive the winter though! Then a really nice garden center owner gave me some true catnip free of charge and the kitties have been happy cats all summer again!

  18. My cats never did enjoy catmint, but they do like hunting in the garden. I would too if I were feline inclined. I guess I do like hunting for tomatoes. :)

    As for Moo Moo's former owners, I want to string them up. I hate when people are intentionally cruel. Then, we're worse than animals, and we're supposed to be higher on the food chain with more common sense.

    Whew! I feel better. Quite a cathartic post. Love the pic of Moo Moo BTW. I showed it to Bear. Congrats to your niece the photog.~~Dee