Fuzz Aldrin. Meower Diesel. Freddie Purrcury. Pawnapple Express.
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.
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.”
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.”
Cats On Catnip photos by Andrew Marttila.