Available now from Havenessence — catnip essential oil (Nepeta cataria). Guaranteed to drive eighty percent of cats ape as they respond to the active ingredient Nepetalactone which, interestingly, repels cockroaches and mosquitoes.
According to Scientific American:
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.
So catnip is a type of Viagra for cats. Almost all cats are effected, including the big felines.
Wikipedia reports that a cat may respond to catnip by:
… rolling on the ground, pawing at it, licking it, and chewing it. Consuming much of the plant is followed by drooling, sleepiness, anxiety, leaping about and purring. Some growl, meow, scratch, or bite the hand holding it. Some cats eat dried catnip; often eating too much can cause cats to be aggressive, typically making them hiss. The main response period after exposure is generally between five and fifteen minutes, after which olfactory fatigue usually sets in. Approximately two hours after an exposure, the feline will be sensitive to another dose.
We have enough for only a few orders and sell it in 1ml batches (10-15 drops). Click here to order online or visit us in central London.