I’ve been using the ASPCA’s Toxic and Non-Toxic Plant List – Cats to find plants I can add to our home that won’t cause trouble for our cats. We have several Lucky Bamboo plants, but I want to add more bamboo and other varieties.
The ASPCA’s list has the toxic plants listed first and the non-toxic below that. You can also click on the plant entry to see the toxic element and the common signs of toxicity.
I was reading about catnip as part of a search for house plants that cats can live with. I read this article on catnip and was inspired to give my my cats a treat.
I buy the Cosmic or SmartyKat Catnip since it’s organic and seems to be high quality (and the cats love it) but I think I’ll try growing my own this year.
“When a man loves cats, I am his friend and comrade, without further introduction.”
Mark Twain was a known lover of cats. This is a common trait of geniuses. Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, Albert Schweitzer, Ernest Hemingway, T.S. Eliot, … the list is long and distinguished.
There are fundamental differences between cats and dogs that explain why some of us love them so. A dog consists primarily of unconditional love and absurdity, in equal measure. His life is devoted to pleasing you and earning your company. He will often reward even the meanest person with loyalty and devotion. A cat consists of grace, cool self interest, and independence. A cat’s respect and love must be earned and maintained, which makes a cat very like an emotionally healthy human.
Ideally, a person will love both cats and dogs, but among those with a strong preference for one or the other species, there are definite tendencies. Those who desire control over others and want to feel superior tend toward dogs, while those who prefer to treat all as equals and prefer to earn the respect of all, even the non-humans among us, prefer cats. This is a generalization, and like all generalizations is not to be relied on too heavily, but I’ve found it quite accurate in practice.
I love cats and currently have five, all adopted. Three come from a rescue league and two (semi-feral) showed up in my neighborhood and eventually trusted me enough to want to live here. Three of the cats are indoor only and need lots of stimulation to maintain their healthy and happy state. I’ve tried all sorts of cat toys over the years and although each cat has his or her favorite plaything, I’ve found a few items that almost always grab and keep our cats’ interest. I’ve tried cat oriented laser pointers, feathers on a stick, all sorts of commercial toys, and they mostly work, but not as well as the items below.
- Peanuts – My two sister cats love peanuts (still in the shell), especially the single nut ones that are almost round. Peanuts never get old for them and both will practically kill themselves trying to grab a peanut you throw. One of the girls often eats the peanuts, which doesn’t seem to be bad for her, especially compared to some of the other stuff she eats. If you have a cat, go to the store and get a small bag of peanuts and see if your cat loves them as much as mine do. I don’t have to mention how great a peanut is as a toy: soft, cheap, biodegradable, easy to clean up, …
- Crumpled paper – I haven’t met a cat yet that doesn’t like paper, sitting on it, chewing it, etc. Just crumple paper when you’re done with it (I like notebook and loose leaf paper best) and throw it. The sound, mouth and paw feel, and apparently independent motion all excite cats.
- Paper bags and cardboard boxes – Most people know that cats like paper bags and boxes. Again it’s the sound they make, the feel on their paws, the love of hiding in an enclosed space, all combine to make this an enjoyable experience again and again.
Based on my experience as a long-time cat lover, I’d say that the things cats love most have these things in common:
- Sound – especially a crunching sound
- Mouth feel – something about the feel of dry peanuts and paper makes cats want to play and chew
- Apparent independent motion – Anything that appears to move by itself, string, feathers attached to poles, and to a lesser extent paper and peanuts seem to move by themselves. I’m very busy with work usually and I love the peanuts and paper because I can toss them and have the cats go nuts with them, then repeat every minute or two, while I’m working on something else.
- Smell – cats seem to love the smell of paper and peanuts. If they’re indoor only, they also get excited about any “foreign” smells that come in from outside.