Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day, にゃ〜

Happy Earth Day to you and your family. Most of all, happy Earth Day to the Earth. Please don't smite us, Earth. *invoke Barry White* We know we've been bad, we've treated you wrong... but we're sorry. It's gonna be different from now on, baby. Yeah. I promise.

And now, something completely different:

How to Make a Catnip Toy From Any Softie Pattern

...or, an alternative title...

For The Love of God, I Have To Find Something To Do With All This Catnip; Why Did I Ever Grow The Stuff In The First Place, And More Importantly How The Hell Did It Get Outside?

the enemy

This is nepeta cataria, or as it's commonly known, catnip. It's street name is nip, as in: "You got any nip, brother? Yeah, gimme a dime bag. The good stuff, man."

This fact established, my house (and a considerable portion of the back yard) have become to cats and catnip what Colombia is to the cocaine trade. (Sorry, Colombia.)

Nip grows quickly, roots deep, and will, hydra-like, replace any buds you remove with two new shoots. It will also (apparently) root itself from tiny clippings thrown carelessly into the yard and from there launch a blitzkrieg on your hapless lawn. In summary, if you do choose to grow catnip, you are going to need a lot of cats to keep it under control. Or at least one serious stoner cat.

what a stoner cat might look like

I do not have any cats, and this has been my downfall. My first plan to deal with the overgrowth was to visit cats in the local animal shelter with approximately a quarter-pound of catnip concealed in each pocket. This, while entertaining in the course of procedure, ended with the impromptu reupholstering of my coat with cat hairs, and shelter volunteers highly suspicious of the green flecks all over the floor, cages, and euphoric cats therein. I don't think the SPCA is going to let me in again, at least not without checking me for contraband.

Fortunately, I have several friends with cats. And I have their mailing addresses. And some boxes. And the patterns for many stuffed toys. :3

Without further ado, making a catnip toy.

Start by finding a pattern. Any softie pattern, available from this blog or otherwise, will work. In the pictures here, I am using the lovely bird pattern from Spool.

Now make your softie. However it's done, do it, but remember to exclude buttons, beads, or any small features that a cat could easily tear off and swallow. You might want to pick a tough fabric and make the seams extra-strong, too, just for the longevity of the toy... as cat-owners will attest, cats have sharp pointy things in a variety of places on their bodies and are adept at the destruction of toys and nearly everything else.

Go as far as to stuff your softie with polyfil, but don't sew it closed yet.

Okay, now sew a little pouch out of some scraps of fabric. Almost any fabric will work, so long as it's breathable (don't use vinyl or leather or anything like that). Canvas works well. When your pocket is three-sides sewn, fill it up with as much dried catnip as you can cram into it, then sew it shut. If you can squish the pouch and still smell the catnip through the fabric, it's perfect.

You could just pour some catnip into the unfinished soft toy along with all the stuffing, but this tends to result in the eventual escape of catnip flakes from the seams, all over the cat-owner's carpets, furniture, etc. By confining the nip in it's own little pouch, you can usually avoid this.

Last step. Through the opening left for stuffing your softie, put your pouch of catnip inside. It doesn't have to go in the middle of the stuffing - we're not trying to smuggle it across the border. Just poke it in there between the fabric and the stuffing, where it's likely a cat will be able to smell it.

Now just stitch up the stuffing gap, find a cat, and let 'er rip. :3



Sarah said...

That stoner cat looks just like my Albert. We've tried him on nip toys before but it doesn't seem to affect him. It says on Wikipedia that it doesn't affect most Australian cats...

Weird, huh?

Ku said...

There are some cats in the US who just don't respond to nip, either... maybe they've moved onto harder drugs, like those cane toads. >w<

(Are there any of those around you?)

Sarah said...

No, cane toads are mainly on the other side of Australia, fortunately.
But some people actually do try to smoke them, apparently.