Our Pet Column

Published weekly and read widely in The Watch, Telluride Daily Planet and Telluride Inside…and Out as well as this website the Pet Column offers insights from the Second Chance’s pet of the week on a variety of topics.

Got Catnip

Does your cat like catnip (aka catmint, catwort, field balm)? Whether it is a wild or domestic feline, even lion, tigers and panthers just can't seem to get enough of this fragrant herb. But why is that? Is it safe? Does it mean your cat is not really a cat if he doesn’t like it?

Originally from Europe and Asia, minty, lemony, potent catnip -- Nepeta cataria -- has long been associated with cats. Even its Latin-derived cataria means "of a cat." And research shows that cats big and small adore this weedy, invasive member of the mint family.

So after careful research I discovered that a cat's genetics determines whether your feline friend falls for this cousin to basil and oregano. About one cat in two inherits a sensitivity to the herb. But you won't know if your kitten is one of them until sometime between ages 3 and 6 months.

Catnip's allure is in its volatile oil, specifically one chemical in that oil -- nepetalactone. Found in catnip's leaves, stems, and seeds, it only takes one or two sniffs of that wonder oil before susceptible felines are licking, chewing, and rolling head-over-tail in kitty bliss.

Though intense, that bliss is usually short-lived, lasting about 10 minutes for most cats. For some, the euphoria translates into aggressive playfulness. At the same time, it makes others mellow and calm. But no matter what reaction your cat has, once the pleasure passes it'll be about two hours before kitty responds to catnip again.

The fact that cats do respond to catnip again and again, makes this a truly “special herb” to be used to both enrich its life as well as assist with training your cat (rub on scratching posts or kitty cushions to make them more appealing than furniture). For simple enrichment toys sprinkle a bit of the herb into an old sock, then knot the top. Or put a big pinch of catnip in a small paper bag and crush the bag into a tight ball.

The intensity of kitty's response to toys and training will be affected by the type of catnip you use. While most cats enjoy the herb dried or fresh, they're usually less interested in catnip sprays, which generally don't contain enough nepetalactone to appeal to most felines. Catnip's potency doesn't last forever; the essential oils quickly dissipate. So if you buy dried catnip store what you don't use in the freezer.

Catnip is non-addictive and safe to eat and this wonder plant is easy to grow in a sunny window (and will distract your cat from your other plants!). So catnip away to give your cat happy cat naps! My name is Spirit. I am a lovely female orange tabby of about 1 ½ years young. I am very energetic and love to run around inside the Second Chance Cat Castle. I enjoy treats, tuna, and yes - catnip. Although I am very sweet and loving to humans I tend to play a bit too rough with other cats – so I would suggest you just adopt me and me alone – I am all the furry purry loving you will need.

Hot Diggity Dog

Sizzling, burning, feverish, fiery, sweltering, torrid, blazing, scorching, blistering, sultry, sweltering, roasting, cooking. Am I describing the shades of gray or the shades of summer? I am actually talking about what it feels like inside of a hot car. As dogs can’t talk – I will do the talking for them. Do not leave them in your car in the summertime. Period. Here is why:

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Announcing the Bow Wow Film Festival

Hi my name is Zephyr and I am an aspiring canine movie star (at least in my mind). So it is a true honor to announce the Third Annual Bow Wow Film Fest, the 2017-18 Tour, is coming to Telluride this Sunday July 23rd! Why a dog film festival you ask? Well I am here to tell you why…

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Shelter pets coming your way

My name is Freckles and I’m a year and a half Red Heeler mix seeking a new family to be mine. The good folks here at Second Chance have learned that sometimes the best way to find homeless pets like me a new family is to get us out meeting potential candidates. They also offer some great opportunities for folks to come here to learn new things at the shelter – which is another way for me to find my soulmates.

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Dogs – the Anti-Asthma Solution

I am sure you have heard of the growing concern that, in the growing germ-phobic anxiety to banish bacteria from our indoor world, people have become too clean for their own good. All the scrubbing, disinfecting, vacuuming and filtering are eliminating the fortifying mix of microscopic creatures that immune system’s need to develop properly. But, no worries – if you are a pet owner…

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Second Chance Humane Society Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops service San Miguel, Ouray and Montrose counties. Call the SCHS Helpline at 970-626-2273 to report a lost pet or to learn about adopting a homeless pet and the SCHS spay/neuter, volunteer, feral cat or other programs. View our shelter pets and services at adoptmountainpets.org.

Second Chance Humane Society


(970) 626-2273 | phone
(970) 626-3233 | Ridgway thrift
(970) 728-1100 | Telluride thrift


PO Box 2096 [mailing]
177 County Road 10
Ridgway, CO 81432

Shelter Hours

Animal Resource Center 11 am - 6 pm
Cat Castle 11 am - 6 pm
Dog Den 11 am - 5:45 pm