Anyone who has ever had a cat — or anyone who has seen a cat flick — knows that the creatures can get pretty wild on catnip or catnip. Researchers now understand better why.
They lick it, roll and chew it, then sit and stare a little at the stones. Most cats find catnip irresistible. but why? What function do you play in a cat’s life? Where does this attraction come from?
Japanese scientists think they know: If the catnip is slightly crushed — as when catnip is rolled into it, or if you chew it — more insect repellents are released from the plant. This indicates that a cat who has a catnip party may be better protected from disease-causing parasites.
So the instinctive and brutal reaction of the plant is not surprising. Although contact with the grass can induce euphoria in cats, it does not appear to be addictive or unhealthy for them. Of course it wouldn’t hurt to check with your vet to see if this applies to all quantities.