Slinky Malinki has impaired hearing and her overall senses are dulled, but her sense of smell is superb. How else to explain her catnip tomfoolery?
A domestic cat’s sense of smell is about fourteen times as strong as human’s. Cats have twice as many receptors in the olfactory epithelium (i.e. smell-sensitive cells in their noses) as people do, meaning that cats have a more acute sense of smell than humans. Cats also have a scent organ in the roof of their mouths called the vomeronasal (or Jacobson’s) organ. When a cat wrinkles its muzzle, lowers its chin, and lets its tongue hang a bit, it is opening the passage to the vomeronasal.- Source: Wikipedia
Working in the garden at dusk, I looked up to see Slinky crossing the patio with determination. She headed toward a small mulch-covered patch of earth. Mouse the Cat looked on with interest, but kept a respectable distance. Slinky is a cranky, aging cat, and not one to be trifled with. He (generally) knows his place.
As I watched, she bowed her head, twisted it to one side and dove in. What odd behavior.
I crawled towards her since I was down at her level anyway pulling weeds, to see what she’d discovered. Sure enough she’d found a tiny sprig of catnip (Nepeta cataria) growing near the edge of the patio.
I planted catnip several years ago and it thrived. Last year it died off, another causality of the drought. This year, thanks to the recent rains, volunteers are sprouting everywhere. There are many things I didn’t set out to grow, happily filling patches of bare earth. Nepeta is one of them. It’s nice to see this perennial come back, and even nicer to see Slinky enjoying it. The plant is small and partially crushed after her romp, but it looks like it will recover.
I suspect that once Slinky is slumbering on her cushions nearby, Mouse will help himself to. Lindy is quite a fan as well.
I too enjoy the subtle, herbal scent when you crush the leaves. The herb is also sold as a tea. It’s easy to understand why the kitties enjoy it so much.
I guess I better get in line.