Last year’s spread was subpar and underwhelming, so you find yourself in receipt of this message in an effort to avoid repeating the Great Tragedy of 2020.
This year’s spread should include a selection of cheeses including cheddar, swiss, provolone and my personal favorite, gouda, in addition to a delicious array of meats including turkey, turkey and more turkey.
You can skip the veggies: No plants except catnip and silver vine!
In the spirit of today’s holiday you must play with me more than usual, give me more massages, tell me I’m a good boy at least 20 times, and above all, respect my authoritah!
If a Toronto man gets his way, cats will soon get their catnip fix the same way their humans get their marijuana: In colorful, slickly-produced packaging featuring whimsically named strains purchased through a dispensary.
The aspiring catnip entrepreneur calls himself Mikey Fivebucks and has launched his business, Catnip Dispensary Inc., from his Toronto apartment.
Now he’s trying to take his business to the next level with a Kickstarter to help fund the equipment and growing space he’ll need to make a name for himself among the world’s stoner cats and the humans who enable them.
Mikey Fivebucks and his catnip.
Catnip, also known as nepeta cataria, is a mint plant that produces euphoria and acts as a sedative for most cats via a naturally occurring chemical compound called Nepetalactone, which is found in the plant.
About two thirds of cats are susceptible to catnip’s effects, while other cats may respond to silver vine. The compounds in both plants bind to feline olfactory receptors, prompting cats to roll on the ground, purr, drool and mellow out.
Most cats sniff, lick or chew catnip, while others (like our very own Buddy) eat the plant. (Response from Buddy: “It’s delicious!”)
Catnip isn’t just for domestic kitties: Wildcats like lynx and Servals are susceptible to it, as are big cats.
Fivebucks says his product is not the same as the dried, flaky catnip found in pet stores. The leaves are kept moist by controlling humidity during the drying and storing process.
“It keeps it flavourful and it keeps the natural oils,” Fivebucks told blogTO, a local Toronto news site. “It’s moist, a bit like weed.”
Cats On Catnip by Andrew Marttila
Cats On Catnip by Andrew Marttila
Fivebucks isn’t the only entrepreneur pushing high-grade ‘nip in packaging and under names reminiscent of marijuana dispensaries. Meowijuana, a Kansas-based company, has been selling catnip in “medicinal” bottles and naming their strains after feline puns for years.
The catnip company’s packaging and tongue-in-cheek advertising has been so successful that sometimes people show up expecting a marijuana dispensary, employees say. On another occasion, someone called the police. Although the officers said they were required to follow through on the complaint, they joked around with Meowijuana employees and even posed with a staffer wearing the company’s cat mascot costume.
Like its counterparts in the marijuana industry, Meowijuana has enjoyed record sales during the COVID-19 pandemic as people practice social distancing and hunker down with their pets.
“People get that this is a little bit tongue-in-cheek that we’re having a little fun, but there’s a good quality product for pets under it,” said Meowijuana’s Scott Ragan. “Part of having pets is sharing time with them — not just feeding them — but sharing time and engaging in that emotional bond, and I think everybody here appreciates that.”
LOS ANGELES — At least 14 feline overdoses have been linked to a powerful new strain of catnip sold by Los Gatos cartel, the Feline Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said Thursday.
The new strain is a hybrid of the popular Purrple Haze and Meowie Wowie variants sprinkled with catnip-flavored Temptations that have been crushed into powder, the agency said.
Dubbed “Da Zooms,” the ultra-potent new nip is often cut with oregano to reduce its effects, but inexperienced cats may not realize what they’re dealing with. Overdoses render felines catatonic for several hours, during which they roll around with a blank stare before sliding into a deep sleep from which they cannot be roused until the effects wear off.
“This is powerful stuff,” said Squiggy the Siamese, president of Cats Against Narcotic Additives Baked Into Snacks, or CANABIS, a powerful anti-Temptations lobbying group. “If it can knock a 20-pound Maine Coon unconscious, imagine what it can do to an innocent three-pound kitten.”
Cat parents and caretakers are advised to look for the following signs that could indicate their furry loved ones are addicted to Da Zooms:
Suddenly getting the zooms and bolting around the house at 30 mph
Loss of interest in favorite foods and snacks that aren’t Temptations
Refusing regular catnip, or complaining that it’s “weak stuff”
Raiding pantries for cans of wet food, which are used as currency to buy highly potent illegal nip
Frequent trips to “The Corner”
Shaking paws and night sweats after being cut off from the product
In the meantime, the National Ad Council has unveiled a new PSA meant to inform cats of the dangers they face by consuming illegal catnip.
“This is your brain,” the ad’s narrator intones as the camera settles on a brand new, unblemished couch. “This is your brain on ‘nip,” the narrator continues with the camera scrolling over to an old, beat-up couch with claw marks all over it. “Any questions?”
Diego Gatinez, a spokesman for Los Gatos, called the new ads “racist” and blamed “uninformed gringos” for alleging that his organization is a cartel.
“We are a charitable 501(c)(3) organization, and we don’t appreciate the insinuation that we’re involved in illegal or violent activities,” Gatinez said. “Anyone who continues to intimate that we are a violent criminal organization should sleep with one eye open, because Los Gatos could appear right when you least expect us.”
Top image and the two following images by Andrew Marttila from his book, aptly titled “Cats On Catnip.”
Back in August there was a story about a bored animal behaviorist and fellow New Yorker who built a talking board for her cat, a la Koko the Gorilla.
Kristiina Wilson told People magazine she was inspired to start the project during the initial Coronavirus lockdown, fashioning a makeshift talking board for her beloved foster fail.
Wilson used large buttons, coded by color and symbol, with each button triggering a recording of a different word when pressed: “Lady” for her, “Snuggle,” “Outside,” “Kittynip” and, of course, “Eat.”
She taught the little guy to use the board using “associative concept learning,” which in this case means pressing a particular button when she has the cat’s attention, and then performing the related action and pressing the button again.
“Whenever you’re responding to them, you also repeat the modeling,” Wilson said. “So if he asks for catnip and then I give him catnip, I hit ‘catnip’ again while I’m giving it to him to reinforce what that button is for.”
Her cat is a quick learner, Wilson told People. “He’s like a person dressed in a cat’s body. He’s been screaming at me since he was born and being very clear about his needs and wants.”
Hmmm. Sounds like someone else I know, someone who never hesitates to loudly inform me when he considers the service subpar or the meals tardy.
I decided to give it a try with Buddy, modifying the system to his most frequent demands. When pressed, the buttons say “Big Buddy,” “Food,” “Snack,” “Mattress,” “Nip” and “Mighty Hunter!” (Mattress, as regular readers of this blog have probably already figured out, means Bud wants to take a nap on top of me. Mighty Hunter is his favorite wand toy game. It should be called Inept Hunter, but we must keep up appearances so as not to offend delicate egos.)
I began training Buddy on his new talking board. On the first day he had great fun with it, slapping the buttons randomly and jumping on them to see how many he could activate at once.
On the second day, he understood that pushing the “Big Buddy” button would draw a response from me.
On the third day, I woke up to find three of the buttons relabeled and reset with new digital voice recordings: “Servant,” “TURKEY NOW,” and “SNACK NOW.”
Perhaps most frighteningly, Bud was learning to combine the commands: “Servant…TURKEY NOW! TURKEY NOW! … Servant,” the speakers intoned as he hammered on the buttons with his paws.
But by the fourth day things had become truly horrifying. I walked into the living room and saw the humble talking board replaced by a complex ad hoc apparatus, with more than 150 symbols and a developing syntax.
“Good morning… servant… breakfast… immediately… then… massage… mattress…nap!” a synthesized Stephen Hawking said.
Buddy had tapped the message out with the speed and skill of a court stenographer, then sat there silently, looking up at me with his big green eyes.
“Little shit…is too clever…for…his own…good,” I said, mimicking the sound board.
“Big Buddy…better…watch…when asleep,” Buddy responded, pawing each button. “Sometimes…dark … I … can’t tell… where … is …litter box.”
He made a “mrrrrphh!” sound as if for emphasis, then tapped a single key three times: “Breakfast. Breakfast. Breakfast.”
I have now realized my most grievous error: Within two days Bud had wired his apparatus into the fiber optic router, and a few days after that he’d completed work on a prosthetic opposable thumb.
The arms race was escalating, and my lead was evaporating.
I considered bringing in a dog, but Buddy would just outsmart it: The little terrorist probably has an automated missile launcher at this point, and if not, dogs can be easily bribed with food.
No, I needed something nuclear. Something that would inspire cold terror in my cat and prompt him to think about further escalating the cold war between us.
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Don't let the humans take our nip and our temps!
Feline humor, news and stories about the ongoing adventures of Buddy the Cat.