One day, while doing dishes, I found out that my little Miles likes bubbles. I discovered this because I also like bubbles and have a habit of squeezing the soap bottle. While I watched his tiny face light up as the first sud gracefully fell to the ground, I started to wonder... are there cat-safe options available? I ran across a bunch of catnip bubbles and found some conflicting opinions.Today, we'll look into what I found and whether or not these choices are safe. Finally, we'll cap it off with a fun little DIY project!
What Are Catnip Bubbles
Catnip bubbles are essentially just like the bubbles you might find in the toy section of any store. The only difference is that the soaps used to create the bubbles – generally glycerin – are infused with a catnip substance. The catnip used is occasionally an extract, but may also be a diluted essential oil.
What People Are Saying About Cat Bubbles
As I mentioned earlier, there are a lot of conflicting opinions. On the positive side, a lot of people love them. In a few cases, people have said that the catnip itself is fairly effective; however, the majority of users like them simply because their felines just love bubbles. On the negative end of the spectrum, people have called the catnip ineffective, while others state that the bubbles are too thick or heavy, or don't actually bubble up at all. Thus far, I haven't encountered any complaints regarding safety, but I do have one personal qualm with many of the available catnip bubbles – the essential oils.
The Problem With Essential Oils
Essential oils can be a bit of a sticky wicket. For a very long time, people thought that essential oils were every bit as good for cats as they were for people. Eventually, though, they discovered that some oils – mints, tea tree, eucalyptus, etc. - contain compounds that can be toxic for cats.
The problem is that some are safer than others and proper dilution can be tricky. It's hard to say with any certainty if the oil you're using is both appropriate in and of itself, and if it's been carefully handled. Although fresh and dried catnips are generally safe, the oil is so concentrated, it can present problems. When you're buying pre-made catnip bubbles, you don't actually know the level of concentration. If the concentration is too low, it will have little to no effect. On the other hand, if it's too high, it can potentially harm your fuzzy little friend.
Although I have no doubt that most companies create their products with the health and safety of the animal in mind, when it comes to things like essential oils, I do genuinely believe that it's best to err on the side of caution.
So Are Catnip Bubbles a Bad Idea?
Well, yes and no. There are a few things to bear in mind. Whatever floats into the air may end up in your kitty's eyes, on his fur, and in his mouth. As with food, medicine, or soap, it's important to know the ingredients and weigh the pros and cons of each. If you want to try cat bubbles, they can definitely be a lot of fun; however, if you can't find the ingredients list – be it on the bottle, the company's website, etc. – then it's a good idea to just pass on that particular brand. Failing anything else, you can also try calling or E-mailing the manufacturer directly. Again, if you can't get all of the details, then move on to someone else.
What's the Alternative to Pre-Made Catnip Bubbles?
If you're really itching to try kitty bubbles, but you're feeling a little iffy about the available options, you needn't worry! You can make them all on your own. When it comes to making DIY catnip bubbles, you have two choices.
What You'll Need
- Boil up about a cup or so of water. While it's boiling, take a pinch of dried herb, and place it in an infuser or a coffee filter. Once the water has boiled, pour it over your dried herb, and let it steep until the tea cools. Alternatively, you could use pre-made catnip tea bags.
- Fill a bottle about halfway with the pre-made, non-toxic bubble solution.
- Pour in about a teaspoon of your catnip tea, then give it a stir with the wand.
- Try the combination out on your kitties. If there is no effect, then add another teaspoon. Keep trying it out until you get your ratios right.
- Go ahead and drink up the rest of the tea, or stick it in a spray bottle for use around the cat toy box.
What You'll Need
- Infuser or Coffee Filter
- A Glass or Plastic Bottle
- Bubble Wand
- Loose Leaf Catnip Tea
- Non-Toxic Dish Washing Soap
- Follow the instructions for brewing the catnip tea in option one.
- Mix water and dish washing soap until the solution is thin.
- Mix in about a teaspoon of your catnip tea, then test the solution on your cat. If it's strong enough, play away. If not, add more – a teaspoon at a time – until you get a reaction.
- Drink or save your remaining tea.
Whether you use option one or two, be sure to give your solution a good shake before use to ensure that the soap and tea are well integrated.
Should I Use Option One or Two?
The benefit of option one is ease. You put together your brew the same way you would any soft, loose leaf tea, then go ahead and start testing it out. The downside of this is that you don't really know for sure if the bubbles will irritate your kitty.
The benefit of option number two is that you control how it's made and can make some choices based on important things, like whether the soap is scented or unscented (I would recommend unscented, but some kitties can't get enough of certain odors, so that is up to the pair of you!), if it's tear-free, and if it contains cat-safe, natural ingredients. On the downside, it does require some extra steps and may not be as effective as a proper bubble solution.
Catnip bubbles can be a ton of fun – in fact, me and Miles can confirm that – but not all bubbles are created equal. If you're willing to do the research, you will likely find a few really serviceable options on the market. However, if you want to be certain of the safety of the end product, I would definitely recommend simply making your own. Not only will you know for sure what goes into your funky new toy, but you'll also have the joy of making something really cool at home.
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