Catnip. Are we sending our children mixed messages?

Our cat Shoo Shoo was lying on the floor minding his own business. I took a tub of catnip and sprinkled some of it on his scratching post. He looked up at me and continued minding his own business. So I sprinkled some catnip on his forehead.

Eventually, he took his front paw and rubbed his head, then licked the catnip from his leg. Soon he was weaving his way in and out of the brush like hoop on his scratching post. He was finding his inner kitten.

My son William was not really impressed. He told me I was mean to make Shoo Shoo eat catnip when all he wanted to do was just hang out on the floor.

William and Shoo Shoo

William and Shoo Shoo

He was right of course.

“But catnip is just a harmless plant that makes cats feel good!” would be a logical argument…

Marijuana is a plant that many people consider harmless and makes you feel good too, but we caution our children to avoid it, and we most certainly would never force it on them.

How many of us tell our children to avoid peer pressure, and to stay away from drugs because they are harmful, but openly provide catnip to our feline family members?

Again, the argument comes back that catnip is an herb. It grows naturally. But bear in mind, cocaine comes from the leaves of the coca plant, and opium comes from poppies, as does heroin.

Clearly not all plants with mind altering capabilities are harmless, but still, we tell our children that catnip is OK, and that cats really enjoy it.

That is the same thing your child will hear when they are offered drugs for the first time too…

Think about it!

Doug Alley

About Doug Alley

I grew up in Bath, Maine in an upper lower class family with 3 step sisters, a step brother, and a little sister. After high school I spent 3 years serving in the USAF at Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage AK. I've competed in, and won, demolition derbies. I've competed in, and never won, stock car races. I am the 47-year-old father of an 11-year-old boy who is pretty sure he is smarter than I ever was. We live on a little less than an acre of land in a 1973 mobile home in Stetson with my wife Jen, some cats, a few chickens, and rabbits, and a couple of goats. I hunt, fish, camp out, dabble in photography, gardening, and I cook in variable degrees of near success.