Animal IQ

Catnip's Active Ingredient Is Actually Its Defense Mechanism

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If your cat is sensitive to catnip, it can put on quite a show when it goes on a 'nip bender. But what exactly is it in catnip that makes cats flip out? As you'll see in the video below, it's a chemical created by the plant that has nothing to do with cats at all—and everything to do with sap-sucking aphids.

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What Is Catnip, Really?

How Catnip Gets Cats High

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. The proper name for catnip is Nepeta cataria, and it's part of the mint family. 00:32

  2. While humans are various responses to drugs, all cats have predictable and consistent reactions to catnip. 01:11

  3. Catnip can't affect humans as intensely as it affects cats because our brains and olfactory systems are structured differently. 02:14

Introducing Catnip Wine

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