While mixing up the ingredients for catnip cake, I realized I was basically making pot brownies for my cats. Encouraging my pets to go on a bender in the middle of the afternoon made me feel giddy — especially since one of my cats is a senior citizen and another is definitely underage.
But my main concern wasn’t whether my three kitties — Bubba Lee Kinsey, Phoenix, and Salvador — would soon be rolling in a hysterical cuddle puddle on the living room floor. The sad truth is I’m horrible at baking and even worse at crafts.
Case in point: One time I made a cake that was somehow burnt and undercooked at the same time. Instead of eating it, my boyfriend and I used it to instigate the world’s most disgusting food fight. Then there was the time I tried to make my own Christmas ornament, gave up before I’d even started, and just stuck a hook through one end of a postcard. Crafting for the win!
Still, when I came across the recipe for catnip cake, I knew I had to try preparing the “dessert” for my furry friends.
I made a few adjustments to the original recipe:
When I mixed these ingredients in a bowl, it resembled Rotel queso dip and smelled like spoiled meatloaf. Surely this can’t be right, I thought as I poured the revoltingly chunky mixture into a 5-inch cake pan and baked it for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
When I pulled it out of the oven, the top was perfectly springy, like I’ve always heard cake should be. When I inserted a toothpick, it came out clean. Turns out this catnip cake was the most technically perfect thing I’ve ever baked. The best part: Based on appearance alone, I totally could have passed it off as banana or zucchini bread and served it to one of my enemies.
But I couldn’t definitively call the experiment a success until it had undergone extensive taste tests by the intended feline audience. Prior to baking the cake, I had given the cats an appetizer of wet food (mainly because they rushed into the kitchen when I opened the can and started losing their minds), so they were primed and ready to enjoy the main course.
I served the cake on three tiny plates — I think the makers of those Fancy Feast commercials from the 1990s would have approved. Then I plunked it down in front of the cats and waited.
Surprisingly, Salvador and Bubba Lee Kinsey were the only two who seemed interested. Phoenix, normally such a catnip junkie that she’ll lick the dried leaves from between the floorboards and hiss at anyone who tries to make her stop, was largely indifferent to this fresh-baked treat.
The other two each finished a whole slice — but they didn’t act like they normally do on catnip (a lot of random mewing and flailing — that is, similar to those kids whose parents intentionally give them bad Christmas presents for their own cruel amusement).
Instead, my home became oddly peaceful. Phoenix and Salvador, who on good days reluctantly tolerate each other’s presence, sat in the window together and watched the birds for nearly five minutes. Then Bubba Lee Kinsey and Phoenix got cozy on the couch for a long winter’s nap.
The verdict: If you’re hoping for feline shenanigans (or anything even semi-resembling the first time you personally tried a pot brownie that one time in college), give your furry friends catnip straight out of the bag, as baking seems to dull its potency. However, if you’re in the mood to bake something for your cats that kind of smells like stale meatloaf, this recipe is definitely a winner.
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About Angela: This not-crazy-at-all cat lady loves to lint-roll her favorite dress and go out dancing. She also frequents the gym, the vegan coffee joint, and the warm patch of sunlight on the living room floor. She enjoys a good cat rescue story about kindness and decency overcoming the odds, and she’s an enthusiastic recipient of headbutts and purrs from her two cats, Bubba Lee Kinsey and Phoenix.