Why Do Cats Like Catnip?

Cat owners know the crazy antics of their catnip-loving felines all too well... once Fluffy catches a whiff of those magical leaves, the rubbing, drooling, and meowing commences. But what makes your cat so obsessed with catnip? This plant (Nepeta Cataria) is actually in the mint family, but cats are reacting to a specific organic molecule released by the plant that's similar to a cat's natural pheromones. Watch the following video to learn more.

Here's Why Catnip Makes Cats Act Funny

Some plants have chemicals that act like cat pheromones.

Key Facts In This Video

  1. When cats react to catnip, they're really reacting to an organic molecule known as nepetalactone that the plant uses to repel insects. 00:21

  2. Researchers think nepetalactone is similar to a cat's natural pheromones. 01:05

  3. Only about 50-70% of cats respond to catnip. 01:47

Cats Don't Have A Sweet Tooth

Humans, monkeys, dogs, etc. like sweets, but cats' sweet receptors are broken.

Written by Curiosity Staff December 21, 2016

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