Catnip is an herb. When crushed cats will smell the oils that are released and flock to it. Humans have also used it as a remedy for the common cold. More info below.
Catnip’s scientific name is Nepeta cataria. It is a plant belonging to the mint family. Catnip produces a certain chemical that cats have an olfactory receptor for. The scent from the plant mimics a pheromone that produces the behavioral effects we see catnip has on cats.
Catnip, or Nepeta cataria, is a perennial herb belonging to the mint family Labiatae. It’s weed-like mint that is now native in North America and Canada after being introduced from its native Mediterranean soil. The active ingredient in catnip is called Nepetalactone. Cats have a special receptor for this chemical, and when cats come in contact with catnip behaviors that may include sniffing, licking and chewing the plant, head shaking, chin and cheek rubbing, head rolling, and body rubbing, usually lasting for 5-15 minutes and cannot be evoked again for an hour or more after exposure. My cats love this stuff by the way.
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