Animal IQ

Catnip's Active Ingredient Is Actually Its Defense Mechanism

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.

What Is Catnip, Really?

How Catnip Gets Cats High

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

Written by Curiosity Staff February 26, 2017

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