Feline Debauchery May 14, 2006Posted by Administrator in Family, Personal.
In addition to having seven kids, (as if that isn’t enough to work with) we also have the dog and two cats.
The dog is an idiot. Enough said on that.
The cats are well-trained and behaved. They do sometimes have to endure a furious scolding from the younger kids when they follow their baser instincts and haul a mangled bird to the doorstep. Other than that, they’re fine animals to have around.
Until last night. I inadvertantly left the catnip out on the counter. And the cats went berserk. Woke up the morning to find the herb strewn all over the floor and dining room table, various small items knocked over, and a puddle of cat urine on the floor. If the cats had been frat brothers, the house would have been trashed, and the perpetrators passed out in puddles of their own urine/vomit.
The culprit? The chemical nepetalactone found in catnip.
Nepetalactone is a terpene composed of two isoprene units, with a total of ten carbons. Its chemical structure is similar to that of the valepotriates derived from the herb valerian, which is a mild central nervous system sedative (or stimulant to some persons).
When cats smell catnip they exhibit a range of behaviors that may include sniffing, licking and chewing the plant, head shaking, chin and cheek rubbing, head rolling, and body rubbing. This psychosexual reaction lasts for 5-15 minutes and cannot be evoked again for an hour or more after exposure. Cats that react to nepetalactone differ in their individual responses. (link)
Humans have alcohol, and cats have nepetalactone.