Monday, December 21, 2009

Mrs. Murphy and the Catnip High
One of my favorite shelter cats is a sweet little brown tabby named Mrs. Murphy. She's a total warm fuzzy cat that just wants a lap of her very own. Even when I don't have a lot of time I always make it a point to stop by and talk to Mrs. Murphy for a bit.

She's a MIss Marple cat. I can picture her sitting next to a sweet old lady, batting at a ball of yarn, sleeping in a sunbeam.

She's gentle, affectionate, calm, and all around a wonderful little companion.

Until you give her catnip. And then she turns into Psycho Kitty.

I give out two kinds of catnip. The first are socks. I take infant socks (yes, new) put in a few tablespoons of catnip, tie a knot, and voila...instant toy! The kitties love batting them around, licking them, rubbing their face against them, and generally blissing out.

I also have loose catnip. I'll put a pinch on a towel and they'll eat it up like it's a hot fudge sundae. For a while I was out of loose catnip, so all I had to give out were the little socks. To my knowledge, Mrs. Murphy has never had a pile of fresh catnip until today.

She became Sybil. Instant personality change. From a lazy, purring little bundle she became an active, squirmy, hyper, trouble-seeking, trouble-finding, trouble-making junkie. All this happened in her cage or on my lap as all the socialization rooms were full, but as soon as she inhaled a few pinches of kitty pot she just went crazy. She grabbed my arm and did that little rabbit-kick thing with her back legs that cats do. She began to lick my fingers. She made a noise that was a cross between a purr, a growl, and someone singing along to Wake Me Up Before You Go Go. She tried to swallow her towel. She shredded the newspaper at the bottom of her cage. She curled into her shoebox, tummy upwards, and squirmed as if some invisible hand was stroking her tummy.

I have never seen such an instant, or such a dramatic reaction to catnip. And from Mrs. Murphy, of all cats. My go-to mellow cat. The kitty I visit when I'm tired and stressed and my back aches and I just want something warm and purring to love.

Who knew?


heather said...

It's the quiet ones that you have to watch out for....

FinnyKnits said...

Sounds like she was having a bad trip. Where'd you get that catnip? Was it from some shirtless hippie on Telegraph hill? ;)