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What is the deal with anise and cats? Is it like catnip?
January 7, 2005 1:51 PM   Subscribe

CatFilter-- What is the deal with anise and cats? Is it like catnip?

My close friend got some German Christmas cookies containing anise (Springerles?), from her boyfriend's mother. They put them away in a cupboard (the cookies were in a zip-lock bag) that is sealed with a latch, above a counter. The resident kitty in the house where she lives went a little crazy when they brought the cookies in, and they thought this was weird because he does not normally like people food. Anyhow, the cat ended up getting into the latched cupboard three different times. He tore the cookies out of the bag and didn't eat them, but batted them around all over. What's the deal with anise and cats?
posted by fabesfaves to Pets & Animals (17 answers total)
 
Maybe it's just that particular cat. Mine can't stand anise. When I made pizzelles she scrunched her eyes up (her way of saying something smells awful) and then hid in another room.
posted by Kellydamnit at 2:25 PM on January 7, 2005


I think this might be particular to your cat. My cat once tore the plastic off a loaf of bread, which bumfoozled me, until I realized that it was a wheat berry loaf. (Cats have a thing about wheat berries, similar to catnip. Growing little patches of wheatgrass has saved my house plants from getting nibbled.)
posted by Specklet at 2:29 PM on January 7, 2005


I once saw a cat in Paris drinking Pastis 51 at a bar, so you must be on to something...
posted by ParisParamus at 2:29 PM on January 7, 2005


My cats seem to love anything with aromatic oils: cloves, Altoids tins, coffee beans, fresh rosemary, and (oddly enough) celery. There's three of them, and they all seem intrigued by these same items.
posted by ba at 2:30 PM on January 7, 2005


I've never known a cat to have a strong reaction to licorice or anise. Dogs, yes, but never a cat.

One of mine does this with carrots. Desn't eat them, but she goes more crazy for them than she does for catnip. She's orange, of course. The other cat treats all vegetable matter with distain (unless it's in the form of a houseplant).

Wheatberries, eh? Interesting. I'll have to try sprouting some and see what happens.
posted by bonehead at 3:27 PM on January 7, 2005


bonehead: You can get wheatgrass already sprouted at many grocery stores. It's the same thing they use in juice bars for making wheatgrass juice.

A cat carrot fetish is new to me...
posted by Specklet at 3:34 PM on January 7, 2005


Google "carrot anise" - they apparently are related.
http://www.foodreference.com/html/fcarrotfamily.html
posted by Cranberry at 4:37 PM on January 7, 2005


Our cat goes bonkers over fresh fennel. Mostly because of the leafyness of it, but maybe the flavor is part of it to (fennel, of course, BEING anise).
posted by stefnet at 5:20 PM on January 7, 2005


Huh. This is news to me, but I'm going to try it out.

Does anyone know how cats react to cilantro? Apparently, it's in the fennel family, but I never let the disgusting, soapy-tasting crap into my house.
posted by interrobang at 6:22 PM on January 7, 2005


interrobang: I think you're genetics make it seem soapy; it's like the asparagus pee gene thing.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:37 PM on January 7, 2005


My cats are repelled by cilantro. They also have a similar extreme reaction to bananas, oranges, and peppermint schnapps.
posted by vorfeed at 8:43 PM on January 7, 2005


Never heard of this before, going to have to try it out as well ... just tried fresh fennel and star anise and both looked at me like I went off the deep end when I gave it to them. One of mine goes nuts over bleach its better than cat nip to her.
posted by squeak at 9:07 PM on January 7, 2005


Does anyone know how cats react to cilantro? Apparently, it's in the fennel family, but I never let the disgusting, soapy-tasting crap into my house.

I don't know about cats, but in humans, the soap taste is an indicator of an allergy to cilantro. I have the same problem - my whole family finds it delicious, but I can smell the soap from a mile away.
posted by angeline at 11:12 PM on January 7, 2005


I had a friend whose cat LOVED bananas - would roll around in the peels. One of mine enjoys wheatgrass, but as a substitute will accept spinach. The other one just likes to lick plastic bags.

I think the moral is, all cats are weird. There is no such thing as a 'normal' specimen.
posted by Gortuk at 5:43 AM on January 8, 2005


my cat loves raw potatoes. yeah, they're weird.
posted by dabitch at 6:00 AM on January 8, 2005


(thanks for the cilantro diversion... i finally have a good reason for hating that vile stuff!)
posted by five fresh fish at 10:12 AM on January 8, 2005


My mom was having a tea party at home for a bunch of friends, and went to great lengths to get snacks on the platters arranged just right. Then she left the kitchen and went to put on "proper attire." Well, when she came back, she saw our (huge) Russian Blue on the table, eating the Lorna Doone cookies (oh-so-conveniently located right in the middle of everything else). Ever since then, we knew not to bring any kind of shortbread into the house.

Shortbread! Who knew?
posted by chota at 10:14 AM on January 8, 2005


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