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Don't like the "mess" made by catnip leaves? Try buying a small place-mat-size rug and only sprinkle the catnip leaves on the rug. Your cat will enjoy his catnip in style and will eventually associate "play time" with the rug (which incidentally should be taken up after an hour of play and put away until next time.)
If you roll the rug up with catnip inside, the rug will begin to smell like catnip and your cat will enjoy the rug without the mess of loose leaves.