Catnips and Cats: The Reason Why They Love It

This wonderful plant has been associated with felines for as one can remember – it has been known to have bizzare effects on cats and has lasting effects of hallucination and happiness. Cats have been known to flock over catnip whenever it’s nearby, and they seem to lose themselves over it – frolicking and drooling whenever they get their paws on it.

While it’s such an adorable thing to witness, did it ever cross your mind as to why these fur babies like it so much? Your cats will actually scramble around to find where the secret stash of catnip is and will even beg you for it! If you have a plant outside your house, expect a gathering of cats outside and see them adorably roll around and being lazy.

Catnip is actually from the family of mint – it actually drives away mosquitoes, roaches, flies, termites and has a calming effect on humans. It was used as a cure for nausea and headache before, and has proven to be effective ever since. It’s usually boiled and made to become tea for humans, but cats prefer to nibble and smell it to get the best results.

On contrary belief, not all cats are actually affected by catnip since it is actually believed to be hereditary – passed on by their parents. A good example of this are Australian cats – they are deemed to be immuned from the ecstasy provided by catnip. Most cats from Europe, Asia, and America are more prone to feel pure ecstacy from the catnip.

You might wonder why they like to nibble on it – it’s actually because of a specific oil called nepetalactone that drips out whenever the catnip gets bruised or eventually sheds off leaves. There are over 250 different catnips that you can give to your cat and they will appreciate the gesture.

Catnips are actually not harmful for cats – they don’t have any harmful substances, just make them extremely hyper when they smell it or sleepy when they eat it. Catnips are all around safe, but it’s better to regulate the amount your cat should consume. It’s also believed that they only have a certain amount of time when they experience the ‘high’ and it takes two hours again to take effect.

If they are always exposed to catnip, they will likely to ignore it and simply move on to other toys. You should only give it once every two weeks in order to properly regulate the amount of catnip your cat indulges in. If you don’t have the potted plant, you can buy the dried leaves from the pet store and sew them in in tiny plushies or pillows.

Aside from domesticated cats, big cats like the lion and tigers are also affected with catnip. It’s something you can look forward to whenever you’re in the zoo and one happens to come across one. But aside from the fun things they do, and the weird faces they make when they’re high, it’s actually not something bad for them – it’s a treat that they will enjoy having.

The Tale of the Japanese Lucky Cat

The Maneki-Neko or “The Beckoning Cat” is an iconic symbol found in most Asian stores and business establishments. If you have been to an Asian shop or restaurant, you may find these ceramic or plastic figurines on cash registers, shop windows, and display shelves with its paw in the air as it continuously beckons you to come closer.

The reason many Asian shops have this cute figurine is mainly because it is said to bring fortune to your home or business. Many of these statues usually depict a calico Japanese bobtail cat holding its paw up to bring luck and happiness inside the area. However, depending on the colour and which paw it is raising, the maneki neko is said to bring either fortune, happiness, love, and good health.

What many may not be aware of is that this lucky charm is subject to several folktales from the land of the rising sun. The most popular version of which tells the legend of the Gotokuji Temple in Edo now known as Tokyo:

Legend has it that the Gotokuji Temple was once cared for by a local priest, who despite his relative poverty would often share his food with his cat.

One day, a wandering samurai who was on his way home happened to pass by the temple during a heavy downpour. The samurai, not wanting to get wet, took shelter under the temple’s nearby trees where he noticed a cat strolling around the temple grounds. The cat, raising its paw in the air beckoned the samurai to come closer to the temple. The samurai, curious at this gesture followed suit and decided to heed its direction, where a few moments after, a bolt of lightning struck the tree where the man stood only moments ago. The man then realized that if it had not been for the cat’s gesture, he too would have meet his untimely death.

Grateful for the cat, the samurai, who was also a very wealthy man, rewarded the priest and the temple with a generous amount of funding. Years later when the cat passed away, a special burial was made in honour of the “lucky cat”.

Today, the Gotokuji Temple is known as the birthplace of the lucky cat charm. Visitors who wish to visit the spectacular temple in the Setagaya Ward in Tokyo can see a small area filled with tiny maneki neko statues.

If you are curious to visit the temple where the lucky cat originated from, you’re in luck since the temple is easily accessible from central Tokyo! First, go to Shinjuku station where you will take the Odakyu line in the direction of the Hon-Atsugi. This will lead you to Gotokuji station which takes around 30 minutes. The shrine is located five to ten minutes away from the station where it is nestled away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The Gotokuji Temple opens everyday from 6am to 6pm where entrance is free.


The Unusual, Yet Adorable, Friendship of Morris and Champy

You’ve probably heard a lot of stories about unusual friendships being made in the animal kingdom. There was the tale of a dog that made friends with an elephant; another one was a cat and a fox, and there was even a friendship between a giraffe and an ostrich. Yes, a giraffe and an ostrich.

Although this might not be as bizarre as the giraffe-and-ostrich duo, the story we’re about to share with you today is certainly adorable. It’s the story of how Morris the cat, became friends with Champy the horse. Let’s get this show on the road!

How it All Began

Jennifer Boyle, Morris’ mom, lived in a ranch in New Southwales, Australia, that had numerous horses. Although she never planned to adopt a new cat, she came across the 9-month old Morris online, and instantly connected with him. The newly adopted cat initially felt overwhelmed by his new home, which was to be expected, considering that he had lived most of his life in the shelter.

One day, Jennifer decided to let Morris out, saying “I let Morris onto my front verandah after he’d had a few days to settle in…” as she recalls the event. A few moments passed and then Champy came into the picture. Jennifer describes it to The Dodo as “…Champy was immediately interested in him, coming up to say hello and then persisted in wanting to groom Morris. Morris had never met a horse before, and to begin with was a bit shy, but Champy wants to make friends with everyone he meets.”

The Transition from Stranger to Best Friends

Understandably, Morris was at first confused and a bit alarmed with Champy. After all, the difference in size between the two animals can be quite intimidating for any cat. However, Champy simply wouldn’t give up, and he kept on trying and trying, until Morris finally started trusting him.

According to Jennifer it took a whole week, wherein Champy would constantly groom Morris, before the cat showed trust. According to Jennifer “…Morris felt safe with him and jumped onto Champy’s back to start grooming him in return,” and that was the start of it. Now, the duo is often seen together, roaming the ranch that they both call home.

Doing Stuff Together

More often than not, the odd pair of friends does almost everything together. One of their favourite pasttime is taking a nap on the grassy fields. They also love to stroll around the ranch, with Champy foraging for some grass to snack on, and Morris standing on top of his back, surveying the wide plains. They even take water breaks together, drinking from a huge cauldron in the vicinity.

Morris and Champy’s story, along with other ones, prove that friendship clearly doesn’t have boundaries. Friendship goes beyond size, and even goes beyond a variety species. If there’s anything that Morris and Champy teaches us, it is that friendship can happen anytime and to anyone; even to the most unlikely ones.

Getting Your Cat to Exercise

Getting Your Cat to Exercise

Like dogs, cats also need exercise to keep their muscles and joints in shape as they grow older. While it doesn’t take a lot of effort to get your dog to go for a walk or play fetch, cats need a different approach since they have different needs. Here are some tips on how you can get your feline friend to exercise:

First: Consider Getting Some Toys

Fortunately, there are several cat toys available for sale which are sure to get your furry pal to move around. Some of these include a feather wand, cat towers, toy mice, and a laser pointer that can entertain them for hours. If you are on a budget, you can also create some affordable DIY toys for your kitty right at home.

Next: Determine What Your Cat Likes

Many cat owners are most likely able to figure out their cat’s personality as they grow older. But as a rule of thumb, remember to keep a close watch on them during their free time. Do they enjoy jumping on counters? Do they scratch on your furniture a lot? Do they enjoy hiding in boxes? Many active cats may find cat towers, laser pointers, and feather wands entertaining. If your cat is more of a “mellow” type, interactive disk toys that test their intelligence might be their favourite!

Get Creative!

Got an agile cat? Why not make a homemade obstacle course? Try to include hurdles for them to jump over, small boxes to climb on, and tunnels to pass through as they reach their treat. This ensures that each muscle in their body is getting that active workout they deserve.

Switch it up!

Cats get easily bored so repetitive games like catching the laser dot and not letting them win can frustrate and eventually bore them. The same rule also applies in letting them “win” too soon. To keep things balance, make sure to entice them for a game first, allow them to “win” a few times before gradually making it more challenging. This will get them to put in more effort and play longer.

Provide Rewards

Catnip and other treats are great rewards for cats who just learned a new trick or managed to catch that elusive feather! However, make sure to use catnip sparingly since it can cause aggression in some cats.

Leave Toys Around

Cats are independent creatures who value their alone time. If you are out with a friend or off to work, it helps to leave a few toys around to keep your cat entertained for hours. Make sure to keep them at safe spaces to avoid any accidents.

Getting your cat to exercise is one good way to secure their health as they grow older. Like humans, cats need exercise to tone their muscles and joints as well as keep their minds sharp and active. It also provides owners a great way to bond with their feline friend while preventing obesity.

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