Cats and catmint

by Pippa Greenwood

I've grown numerous nepetas in gardens with cats and not had such horrific results...

Cat in gardenWe're the proud owners of two cats, adopted from the local rescue centre. One, aged four, has been living with us for a year and a half. The other only joined us a few months ago, and is very old. We thought we were recruiting an elderly gentleman and the rescue centre called him a 'lap cat'.

So what has all this to do with gardening? Perhaps not a lot until the other weekend. This elderly 'lap cat' has suddenly developed a new lease of life, indulging in late night activities, athletics and now plant mashing.

The kids and I had spent a pleasant few hours wandering around the Petersfield Local Food Festival, which sells all sorts of local food and drink, but also a wonderful array of plants. As usual, I succumbed to temptation, buying a gorgeous peony, a penstemon, a tiarella and a catmint, Nepeta racemosa 'Walker's Low'. Sadly, the plant label is virtually all I have left of my once stunning purple-flowered plant. It met its doom on the front steps, still in its nursery bag, within an hour of arriving home, courtesy of our aged 'lap cat'.

Never before have I seen anything quite like it, and I've lived with cats almost all my life. Like a furred whirling dervish, he crushed it, shredded it and scattered it all over the place. I've grown numerous nepetas in gardens with cats and not had such horrific results. Is this down to this particular variety or this particular cat?

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Gardeners' World Web User 18/06/2009 at 23:43

I have four cats and grow cat mint for them, which sends them silly when i give them a few stems of it ,other than that they all love laying around sunbathing under a plant or two or on the garden bench

Gardeners' World Web User 19/06/2009 at 08:53

yhh this photo is beast i love it mate/

Gardeners' World Web User 19/06/2009 at 10:20

Here's a fool proof defence against cats who roll and sleep in catmint besides eating and generally worshiping it - put a wire hanging basket shell over the young plant. By the time it has grown through the wire, it can sustain cats' attacks.

Gardeners' World Web User 19/06/2009 at 11:47

We had a plant of this in our old garden. Our cat utterly ignored it, but the ginger from two doors up adored it, and squashed it.

Gardeners' World Web User 19/06/2009 at 12:26

My old cat used to lie in the middle of cat mint and roll and roll - he destroyed two clumps of it - I've never seen a cat so high!

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