For some cats, catnip means nothing to them but for other cats, catnip immediately affects them like crack cocaine. Catnip is technically called catmint, or Nepeta cataria, which is a plant in the mint family.

Catnip emits a pungent odor to repel insects that want to eat it. This odor comes from a chemical called nepetalactone. The strongly scented chemicals target receptors in cats’ tissue, near their nose, and activate the same neural pathways as sexual pheromones. 

So if you think your cat is crazy while it’s high on catnip, you’re right, but it’s probably not any crazier than you might be under the effect of a similar sexual pheromone.

To learn more about why catnip affects cats so much, click here.