Thursday, June 18, 2015

What is catnip? Now, it's a powder!

cat and catnip scratcher

I'll admit it: I have a house full of catnip addicts. All of my cats seem to love to roll in, lick and otherwise ingest little bits of dried catnip plants, and I love to give it to them, as this is a low-cal treat that comes with no real contraindications. As long as I can ensure that this stuff is grown with no pesticides, I can pretty much hand it out with no worries whatsoever.

But traditional catnip is a bit of a pain. I should know: I even grew my own catnip back in the day. The plants can be finicky and difficult to grow, and unless the harvesting goes just right, some plants lose their potency before you provide the leaves as a treat.

And let's face it: Catnip is messy. It gets all over the house, and no cat I've ever met eats every single leaf. That means people with catnip addicts tend to have houses filled with bits of leaves. Ew.

So I was thrilled to get this free sample of Kitty Kush Catnip Pellets with Built-in-Grinder. This is a whole new way to hand out catnip.

Check this out. Here's a side-by-side of what traditional catnip and Kush catnip look like.

Traditional catnip and Kitty Kush catnip

The stuff on the left is original catnip. I've put it in a shaker jar, and I still managed to get bits of it on the cutting board for this shoot. The stuff on the right is the powdered catnip that comes with a few twists of the grinder on top of Kitty Kush. Much cleaner, right?

I had hoped to do a side-by-side taste test of these two products, so I could determine which was more potent and which the cats preferred. Eamon, as the resident catnip addict, was selected for this challenge. But he didn't really want to play along at first.

Cat and two catnip cardboard scratchers

This is one of the hazards of using cats for product reviews. They get really good at finding their marks and just holding their positions while the camera flashes. Darn!

But when I walked away, Eamon did seem to take a shine to the Kush over the traditional nip.

Cat and catnip

The manufacturer would likely claim that this choice isn't surprising. When I took a quick peek at the company website, I noticed that the developers of this product put a lot of time and thought into the potency issue. The catnip itself is organically grown, and it's sealed in a UV-protected container. So the original herb is strong, and it's protected until it's used.

I worried that the cats wouldn't get the same kind of potency from catnip dust that they might from catnip plants, so I did a second test with Jasper, timing how long he stayed interested in just the powdered form of catnip. Here he is about 20 minutes after I introduced the product.

Cat asleep with catnip

Clearly, he got a potent dose of catnip from the dust, and he also seems to be planning to take in a little more when he wakes up. I think I'll declare that a hit.

There are some drawbacks to this product that I feel compelled to mention. First off, there is a cost issue. I can buy a ton of catnip in the organics section of the grocery store for about $3, and that supply will last me for months. Kitty Kush Catnip Pellets with Built-in-Grinder, on the other hand, sells for about $11. And I'm not yet sure how long that might last me.

But still. I appreciate the idea that this product will keep my house just a little cleaner. And I like the fact that my cats seem to choose this product over the cheaper alternate. If they only get one or two treats per day, they might as well be the best, right?

Any of you using catnip with your critters? Share your tips and tricks in the comments! I'd love to know how you keep your cats interested.


  1. That looks like a great idea, I wonder if I could put catnip in a peper grinder and get the same result- sorry I am cheap :)

    1. If you do it, check back and tell me how it went! I'm curious.