Catnip can help spark a couch potato to get off the couch and engage in a play session. If you're working with a cat who hasn't played in a while, catnip can be a great start. It's a wonderful tension reliever, so use it after your cats have had a stressful experience. For example, after you've had company or after you return from a trip. I give my cats a "catnip party" on days when I've had many behavior house calls and come home exhausted. I may be too tired to engage in a full interactive play session, but I want my cats to have a special time, so I sprinkle catnip on their favorite toys and rub some on the scratching posts, or I may fill a few socks with the herb.
Catnip is also a great way to help a frightened or timid cat come out of his shell. It's a wonderful start to an interactive play session for a kitty who is too timid to focus on the toy otherwise.
• A couple of catnip cautions
Reprinted from Cat vs. Cat: Keeping Peace When You Have More Than One Cat by Pam Johnson-Bennett © 2004. Permission granted by Penguin Putnam.