- A woman planted a few pots of catnip in her backyard and started attracting stray cats.
- The cats started coming to her home to play with the catnips.
- A local cat organization helped the woman with more treats and toys in exchange for neutering the cats.
Nikki Byrne was a little late in growing her backyard garden last year. She went to the nursery, intending to fill her terra-cotta pots with herbs, but the only plant that seemed healthy was the catnip.
She planted a few pots of it with no expectations of anything happening. Then the cats appeared.
Nikki told The Dodo that she didn’t grow up with cats and had never spent much time around them, so she didn’t understand why certain cats find catnip so appealing.
“Shortly after planting it, I heard a little commotion outside one morning. I looked out the window, and there was a big old tabby cat up on the fence. He’d managed to knock one of the pots of catnip down when he was going after it.”
Mister, the old tabby, visited the patio every day, according to Nikki. She observed he had no collar and appeared to be in poor health, so she began providing him with food and water.
The old tabby must’ve thought Byrne’s yard was safe because every generation of Mister’s children began showing up to play under their father’s watchful eye.
Nikki turned her yard into a cat playground, complete with toys, scratching posts, tunnels, and a heated cat home.
While the younger cats were eager to play with Nikki, Mister remained indifferent.
“We’ve had to work really hard to show him we’re not dangerous, whereas the little ones will swarm all over you,” Nikki said. “They’re really friendly.”
With patience, Nikki earned Mister’s trust over time. Humans can now approach him. She can pet him and he’ll even eat food from her hand.
Even though the kittens were adorable, Nikki recognized they needed more than treats and toys, so she contacted a community cat organization in San Luis Obispo County to assist her with trap-neuter-return.
She has saved generations of cats in her neighborhood in just a year, and it’s all because of a few pots of catnip.
Source: The Dodo