Why Are Cats Crazy For Catnip
Nepetalactone the essential oil in catnip can turn even the laziest couch potato into a crazy furball if said furball happens to have inherited the sensitivity to its effects.
Why are cats crazy for catnip. Cats under the influence of catnip certainly give signs they are under the influence of a drug. Catnip is one of the approximate 250 species in the mint family and has a leafy green appearance. This response lasts for about ten minutes after which the cat becomes quickly immune to catnip s effects for a rough half hour. So why do the majority of cats respond famously to catnip.
A study by the american chemical society found that the nepetalactone in the plant binds to the olfactory receptors in a cat s nose and triggers a euphoric neurological response. That s because only some cats are actually sensitive to it. Catnip has a chemical compound in its leaves and stems called nepetalactone. The compound sticks to the olfactory receptors in the olfactory epithelium.
They ll rub their heads and body on the herb or jump roll around vocalize and salivate. The trait doesn t emerge until a cat is between three and six months old. Amy pike of the animal behavior login join log in. The scent of catnip has the strongest effect on cats.
A sensitivity to catnip is inherited and experts estimate that about 50 to 70 percent of cats will respond to the herb. Learn about this natural feline recreational substance and its safety. When cats smell catnip they exhibit many behaviors common to queens in a season females in heat. When cats get a whiff of catnip they behave similarly to female cats in heat erratic movements strange howls and all.
Found in catnip s leaves stems and seeds it only takes one or two sniffs of that wondrous oil before susceptible felines are licking chewing and rolling head over tail in kitty bliss. The nepetalactone is a volatile oil that binds to your cat s nasal tissue when they sniff it. Experts aren t sure however exactly why the herb triggers such an emotional response. They can be fun to watch but you may also be concerned about the effects.
Until then a kitten will not have a response. This out of fur experience is due to the active ingredient in the oil. Why your cat goes crazy for catnip. It s actually in their feline genetics according to veterinary behaviorist dr.
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