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.”