Friday, July 30, 2021

Cat Attractants

Everybody knows cats go for catnip. That's the origin of the name. But after having several cats in the household for the last 16 years, I have discovered a few other "cat attractants."

Wrigley's Doublemint Gum

My old cat Zelda has destroyed several packs of Wrigley's Doublemint Gum over the 15 years we've known each other. Doublemint is my favorite gum and I usually have some around to cleanse the palate and avoid grinding my teeth. I always have to be very careful to store packs in a cabinet where she can't get to it. Even leaving it in the pocket of a jacket in insufficient. She invariably gets it. My other cats also respond to it, especially my youngest, Shadow, who will chew up any errant wrappers. The middle cat, Ada, usually climbs onto my keyboard and stretches out when I'm trying to work and is difficult to remove. Most cats also are at least curious about other mint flavors. This makes sense since catnip is a type of mint.

Listerine Mouthwash (original flavor)

My youngest and oldest cats both respond to this. I also have to keep it locked up, or they will lick around the top of the container, and then flop onto their side and thrash around attacking their own tails. When Zelda was younger, she often would watch carefully as I used the mouthwash and then lap up any splatters that I didn't rinse down the sink immediately. The she would settle into the sink and go in circles for several minutes clawing and biting the tip of her tail. This resulted in me constantly having to clean cat hairs out of my bathroom vanity.

Icy Hot (or similar)
I have a squeeze tube of generic cream that contains menthol and methyl salicylate. It smells like wintergreen, and I think the methyl salicylate is a key ingredient in wintergreen oil. Here is an example of the behavior Zelda shows when I apply this to my legs after a long bike ride. She climbs all over me and then goes to the floor for antics, acting like she's eaten catnip. I didn't take video but basically she flops around on the ground and attacks her own appendages, including her tail.

This is what I call "pathological scratching," a frantic scratching when nothing is there. It makes me think of meth addicts.

Now attacking her own foot.

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