Animals

Why does catnip make cats crazy?


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The leaves and stems of the catnip plant contain an oil called "nepetalactone." When cats smell nepetalactone, it stimulates special receptors that sense chemicals called "pheromones." The result is a kind of chemical reaction that gives the cat a sense of euphoria or overwhelming happiness.

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When a cat eats catnip, it acts as a sedative, but when smelled, it causes the cat to go crazy. It's thought to mimic feline pheremones and trigger those receptors. Cats may rub against and chew on catnip to bruise the leaves and stems, which then release more nepetalactone. Catnip is safe for cats.

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