Categories: catnip

FYI – the volatile metabolites in catnip that affects cats are insect repellents

It is universally known that catnip induces playful actions such as rolling on their backs and rubbing. Catnip affects both domestic and wild cats such as lions, tigers and ocelots. Approximately 2/3rds of cats are affected. The effective substances ‘agents’ that cause this behaviour are nepetalactones. These are ‘volatile metabolites’. It is believed that they mimic cat pheromones. It is also believed that the purpose of nepetalactones in these plants is to protect them against insects and pathogens (and not to stimulate cats!). Nepetalactones repel insects as efficiently as a synthetic repellant such as DEET – N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide. “Nepetalactones are iridoids, a class of atypical monoterpenes that act as defensive compounds in some flowering plants”. – The evolutionary origins of the cat attractant nepetalactone in catnip. This naturally occurring insect repellant has been studied as a substitute for human-made repellants which are arguably more dangerous to the environment. I’m not going to write anymore because it is a snippet of trivia which might interest some cat owners.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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