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cd7301's avatar

What the hell is in catnip that makes cats go nuts?

Asked by cd7301 (61points) May 11th, 2008 from iPhone

I’ve just really discovered catnip, and I’m confused as to why they literally lose their minds and freak out. Its amazing

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17 Answers

marinelife's avatar

From How Stuff Works: “Although no one knows exactly what happens in the cat’s brain, it is known that the chemical nepetalactone in catnip is the thing that triggers the response. Apparently, it somehow kicks off a stereotypical pattern in cats that are sensitive to the chemical. The catnip reaction is inherited, and some cats are totally unaffected by it. Large cats like tigers can be sensitive to it as well.” BTW, the weed catnip is a member of the mint family.

Cats are chemically very different from people and tend to be chemically sensitive, which is why vets are very careful with drugs for cats and why one has to be careful about using harsh chemical cleaners where a cat may walk, etc.

whatthefluther's avatar

Its a chemical called nepetalactone. Here’s more info:

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ezraglenn's avatar

I heard that humans can get high by consuming large quantities of catnip, but it also makes you throw up. The same is true of nutmeg. Go spice crazy!

El_Cadejo's avatar

From what ive read catnip only really causes a headache.

Dont eat nutmeg. Please. Its not worth it, your going to have a horrible time and be really sick.

TheHaight's avatar

haha, I take it you’ve tried nutmeg before Uber??

El_Cadejo's avatar

FUCK THAT. lol i like to read everything i possibly can before taking something. After reading countless horror stories i decided thats one ill be passing on.

ezraglenn's avatar

good to know you’re responsible, at least. Ever tried large quantities of catnip?

El_Cadejo's avatar

why am i going to waste my time smoking that when i can just smoke weed :P

to me smoking catnip always seemed like something little kids would do that couldnt get their hands on marijuana.

gailcalled's avatar

Back to the thread, gents: my new cat guest ignores both the dried catnip and the nepeta plants I have growing in the garden. So discerning felines prefer grass grass.

My youngest step-son was caught selling dried green herbs in school (he was in 5th grade.) Because it turned out to be catnip rather than pot, he was suspended for 3 days rather than the traditional week for grammar school dealers.

gailcalled's avatar

PS. His father was the Headmaster and the school was Quaker. So he was in serious trouble at home. Sadly, in his teens he turned to cocaine and had a really bad time for ten years. Clean and sober now – using weight-training for the rush these days.

TheHaight's avatar

Uber, that’s really great that you research something before putting it in your body.. Only time I’ve had nutmeg was in coffee! I didnt even know you could feel anything if you ate it.

kevbo's avatar

@uberbatman, you should read Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. It’s an encyclopedia of drug research.

gailcalled's avatar

Freshly grated nutmeg delish on fresh spinach sauted in olive oil and garlic.

ezraglenn's avatar

I put nutmeg in basically everything I bake.

TheHaight's avatar

.mmm Gail that sounds delicious.

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