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April 20, 2009

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» Friday Ark #240 from Modulator
We'll post links to sites that have Friday (plus or minus a few days) photos of their chosen animals (photoshops at our discretion and humans only in supporting roles). Watch the Exception category for rocks, beer, coffee cups, and....? Visit all the b... [Read More]

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My guess is it's just one of those things like alcohol and humans. Maybe in the unknown past there was a necessity for the relationship of cats and catnip and that of humans and alcohol.

Scientific American ran a brief article in 2007 on the pharmacokinetics of catnip in cats. Here is an excerpt:

"So, how does catnip work? Nepetalactone, one of catnip's volatile oils, enters the cat's nasal tissue, where it is believed to bind to protein receptors that stimulate sensory neurons. These cells, in turn, provoke a response in neurons in the olfactory bulb, which project to several brain regions including the amygdala (two neuronal clusters in the midbrain that mediate emotional responses to stimuli) and the hypothalamus, the brain's 'master gland' that plays a role in regulating everything from hunger to emotions.

The amygdala integrates the information flow from the olfactory bulb cells and projects to areas governing behavior responses. The hypothalamus regulates neuroendocrine responses through the pituitary gland, creating a 'sexual' response. That is, the cat essentially reacts to an artificial cat pheromone."

Full article online.

So yes, it is "just one of those crazy things" for our precious kitties. But the fact that kittens have to be sexually mature (about 6 months old or so) before they respond to the divine weed does suggest that it contributes in its own way to the drive to continue the bloodline.

Animal, vegetable, all beauty! From the size of her paws, she may be part Maine Coon cat - all ready to go snowshoing! Has your part of the world entered into Springtime yet? My lilac bush is in bloom and life is good!

Lovely pictures. My little drug addicts are equally enthralled with the catnip plants I am presently growing out of reach in a cage hanging from the deck until they reach big enough size that they can't be eaten down to the ground in one orgy...We usually have thre or four plants in the garden each summer in different spots surrounded by leeks and marigolds and other strong smelling stuff to try and deter the other neighborhood cats. One of ours is old and feeble and gets bullied by the cat across the pond. If we leave the dog out with them, she acts as bodyguard against marauders. But it's so funny the way the normally feeble old half Siamese keeps miaowing every hour or so to go out. It is simply to go get another fix of catnip as she is too old to stalk birds any more (and a good thing too).

Most of the cats I have known generally ignore catnip as it's growing. It's not until I pluck the leaves and they wilt just a tiny bit that the cats react in the typical fashion. There are a couple of clumps of catnip that come back every year in the fence between our yard and the neighbors, and when our cats are outside, they leave those plants alone. But let me pick a stalk, and watch them go bananas!

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