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Archive for Saturday, January 2, 1999

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January 2, 1999

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Why do cats like catnip?

The active substance of catnip, nepetalactone, sets off in the cat's brain behavioral patterns usually connected with pleasurable or exciting things.

"The Book of Science Questions and Answers," published by The New York Times, reports that cats under the influence of catnip may engage in activities related to sexual response, such as rubbing and rolling; the playlike response, such as leaf chasing, batting or tossing; and hunting or feeding behavior.

About half of adult domestic cats are affected by catnip, and the sensitivity is hereditary.

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