How catnip is tied to aphid sex hormones and bug repellents.

Catnip Evolved in Nature as a Murderous Insect Sex Hormone (Video)

Catnip Evolved in Nature as a Murderous Insect Sex Hormone (Video)

Slate in motion.
June 28 2017 9:06 AM

The Chemistry of Catnip

Including nature's more sinister uses for your feline's favorite drug.

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American Chemical Society

Cat people know what this is all about—frisky, tripped-out felines entranced in drug-induced euphoria. Catnip, in other words.

But did you know catnip didn’t evolve just to give your furbaby a buzz? In this video from Reactions, the YouTube channel of the American Chemical Society, you can learn about why catnip's origin is less about tripping kitties than it is insect sex. Really. Watch the explanation above.

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And sadly, don’t plan on joining in on the fun with your tabby: Humans appear to lack the receptors and perceptual organs necessary to respond to catnip, and consuming too much in an effort to get high may just leave you dizzy and nauseated.

Jon Kelvey is a writer and journalist based in central Maryland. Follow him on Twitter.