Catnip, it seems, kindles a little bit of everything, exciting cats and allowing them to let go of their inhibitions. Harvesting catnip is quick and satisfying, especially for your cat. The IHC Group. Cats are receptive to a volatile oil (an oil that evaporates in the air) found in the stems and leaves of the catnip herb. 7 strange things that fell from the sky, Stunning telescope image of Jupiter and Saturn's Great Conjunction will amaze you. Other compounds in catnip affect neurotransmitters, "resulting in inhibition of central nervous system activity," said Dr. Bruce Kornreich, an associate director for education and outreach with the Feline Health Center at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in Ithaca, New York. Nepetalactone is not attractive to all cats; only about 30 to 70 percent of cats are actually attracted to it. Catnip can be administered in toys, in spare socks, sprinkled on cat posts, sprinkled near … There are other compounds in catnip that are similar to nepetalactone in their molecular structure, and some can even stimulate a response on their own, but nepetalactone is the strongest of the group, Simon said. Also, the analgesic properties of catnip may be helpful for cats in pain. Response to catnip is hereditary; about 70 to 80 percent of cats exhibit this behavior in the plant's presence. The term ‘catnip’ is thought to originate from the response cats show towards the plant. NY 10036. Catnip (Nepeta cataria) is a relatively hardy herb, thriving in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 to 9. For example, tea made from the leaves and flowers of Nepeta cataria is said to relieve coug… Related: In Photos: Animals That Get High. Catnip-sensitive, feuding cats have been made to perceive each other in a new light following the application of catnip to one or both cats. No one really knows why catnip is such a big attraction for cats. Nepeta cataria, commonly known as catnip, catswort, catwort, and catmint, is a species of the genus Nepeta in the family Lamiaceae, native to southern and eastern Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia, and parts of China.It is widely naturalized in northern Europe, New Zealand, and North America. Catnip is a perennial herb that is native to Europe and Asia but also grows throughout North America and Africa. As may know, cats who like their catnip, REALLY like their catnip. Cats that come from areas where catnip is common are more likely to react. Why does your feline look like she is high as soon as she sniffs catnip? Tandem hind leg kicking behavior may indicate predatory behavior. Catnip grows to a height of three or four feet and has featherlike, light green foliage and small clusters of lavender flowers that grow on spikes. In humans, consumption of alcohol, marijuana, heroin or cocaine stimulates brain cells to release mood-altering dopamine. catecholamines), as amphetamine does. The answer may be to attract insects that will subsequently assist in cross-pollination or help plants in other ways (e.g. The compound that plays the biggest role in the so-called catnip effect in domestic cats is produced in specialized glands in catnip's leaves and flowers and is called nepetalactone, said Jim Simon, a professor of plant biology and co-director of the Center for Sensory Sciences and Innovation at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Cats like the smell of catnip because it gives them a sense of security and balance. This implies a general excitatory effect on areas of the brain, particularly those centered in and around the hypothalamus, the region that controls appetitive, predatory and sexual behavior. 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