It’s still not 100% known why cats enjoy catnip so much, but we do know that it produces a substance called nepetalactone. This volatile oil enters the cat’s nasal passages and binds to receptors that stimulate sensory neurons. The result is a cat that is way more playful. The plant itself is a harmless member of the mint family, and was even used by humans a few hundred years ago for its alleged mild sedative properties.
Although catnip doesn’t get humans buzzed the way it does cats, size difference is not the issue here. In this video, we see how even big cats like lions, tigers, and leopards are all similarly intoxicated by catnip.
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