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March 14, 2013
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Paisley's perspective: Cats on catnip

Dear Paisley:

When I got to AnimalSave this morning, there was catnip all over the room, the phone lines were flashing, the blinds askew and cats in the closet. What is catnip and how does it work?

— An AnimalSlave

Dear Cat Slave:

“Catnip” is the common name for a perennial herb of the mint family. It is native to Europe and is an import to the United States and other countries. The catnip plant is now a widespread weed in North America.

The chemical nepetalsactone in catnip is the thing that triggers the response. It kicks off a stereotypical pattern in cats that are sensitive to the chemical.

The cat will rub it, roll over it, kick at it and generally go nuts for several minutes. Then the cat will lose interest and walk away. The catnip reaction is inherited, and some cats are totally unaffected by it. Large cats like tigers can be sensitive to it as well. (Source:

— Paisley

Paisley lives at AnimalSave Thrift & Treasures, 520 E. Main St., Grass Valley.

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The Union Updated Mar 14, 2013 06:49PM Published Mar 14, 2013 02:14PM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.