Many cats go wild over catnip to the extent that it looks like they’re drugged. Since cats going crazy over catnip is such a common occurrence, Masao Miyazaki, an animal behavior researcher at Iwate University, decided to isolate the chemical in catnip that affects cats.
Catnip leaves contain the compounds nepetalactol and nepetalactone, which actually act as an insect repellant. When Masao put these compounds in front of cats, they reacted the same way they reacted to catnip. Now the next question is what gene in cats makes cats love catnip so much?
To learn more about the chemical composition of catnip, click here.