This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V23", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
We never knew that it was doubted that cats had a peculiar affection at times for catmint, until we accidentally came across the following a few days ago, in Dr. Darlington's Flora Cestrica.
"De Theis, in his Glossaire de Botanique, has the following: - Le gout des Chats pour cette plante est tres-remarquable; ils la mordent, l'arrachent, et se roulent dessus avec transport. II est cependant singulier qu'ils nes' attaquent qu'a celle que l' on plante, et nullement a celle qui n'a point ele deplacie. De la le proverbe anglois -
"If you set it, The cats will eat it;
If you sow it, The cats wont know it.
"I doubt, however, whether our American cats have yet learned to make the distinction 'le gout pour cette plante.' "
It was the writer's opportunity to note this Summer the behavior of a cat just as the French writer describes it. A strong branch had been partially broken by a lawn mower and laid on the grass withered. A cat rolled over it, and seemed as one might say joyfully insane for near half an hour, and until she was diverted by observing those who were watching her. This we suppose to be the real meaning of the English couplet, for when transplanted the leaves are somewhat withered and it then gives out a greater odor, and attracts cats; when one "sown" and of course growing without any withered leaves, would be comparatively free from odorous attractions.