mystery: solved?

Something has been, periodically, nibbling at some catnip (aka catmint) that I am growing in a flowerpot on the front porch.

This has been going on for a few weeks now, this nibbling. Wild cats (not feral cats, wild cats - bobcats I suppose) crossed my mind; possibly neighbor cats, but we all live pretty far apart in these parts and I've never seen a domestic cat roaming around.

The plant(s) are a couple of years old, and are in quite a small container; I call them my "bonsai catmint" as the confinement of their roots seems to have forced a dwarf trait. Seeds from the same batch came up with big leaves and grew a couple of feet tall; these in the flowerpot have miniature leaves and have only grown to 6" to 8". (I know, right? Getcher mind outta the gutter! The numbers are what they are.)

I've noticed Rocko snuffling around in the catmint after each browsing event, as if he could smell a strange critter. I always asked him about it but, looking back, I suppose he never gave me a straight answer.

And then I remembered.

Some time ago I pulled up the big catmint plant that was growing in the ground because it looked like a weed and was right at the corner of the house. The plant was a couple of feet tall; I broke off one end and offered it to Rocko. "It's minty," I said, "It's a minty stick."

He took it and loved it. Chewed it all to pieces while I ran into the house and googled "is catnip safe for dogs." (Turns out, it is.)

That was a month or so ago, and the catnip nibbling started shortly after that. It grows out for a while, gets a few inches tall, then it gets nibbled off. But that's OK, especially if it's Rocko. It is good for his digestion and his breath. He eats enough grass. He ought to be getting some healthier veggies if he likes that kind of thing.

But I'm not entirely surprised. Last Christmas season, my brother and his wife gave us (me and Rocko) a lot of food and snacks. Included was a package of minty dog treats, called "MintyBone," I think. I was skeptical but Rocko really liked them. And catnip is a mint, and it really does smell like those minty bones.

A year and a half ago, I had a cat - George - who wanted my wintergreen Copenhagen snuff.

Now I have a dog who eats catnip.

And right now, by which I mean right now as I type, both hummingbirds and songbirds are outside my windows complaining that their feeders are almost empty and it's starting to rain.

"I'm coming, birds. Hang on a minute. Just let me post this."

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