This Is Why Cats Adore Catnip

There is an oil found in the catnip plant (nepeta cataria) called nepetalactone. Researchers believe that when this oil enters a cat’s nasal tissue, it binds to protein receptors that stimulate sensory neurons. This leads to a response in neurons in a certain part of the brain known as the olfactory bulb which projects to other brain regions; regions that mediate emotional responses to stimuli (causing a behavioural response), and regulate neuroendocrine responses, making the cat react to an artificial cat pheromone. It doesn’t affect all cats, but many roll around, flip over, get hyperactive and sometimes act aggressively, before experiencing a come down ten minutes later.