Biochemists figured out why the smell of Catnip excites
cats, and smell normal mint there. Next of kin Catnip has lost
the enzyme needed for the synthesis of relevant secondary metabolites in the
as this plant enzyme evolved to re-explain the researchers in
the article in Science Advances.
Catnip cat, aka cat mint (Nepeta
cataria), belongs to the
the subfamily korovnikova (Nepetoídeae)
of the family Lamiaceae, along with other fragrant herbs such as mint and
lavender. The plant is interesting because of its smell stimulant effect on cats, not only domestic, but also wild, that under the influence of Catnip starting
rolling on the floor, rubbing against the surface, and so on. This effect is due to the high
the content in essential oils of plants nepetalactone that the structure
resemble a cat’s pheromones.