Love thy neighbor

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So, let’s say there’s this neighbor cat which is given free run of the neighborhood. And let’s say this cat, despite having the freedom to go all the way to the creek to hunt lizards and mallards and coots and giant egrets, chooses instead to spend most of her day sleeping on the next door neighbors’ front yard (or occasionally, under the next door neighbors’ car).

Now, for whatever reason, the cat’s human guardians (or at least, the female human guardian of the cat) seem not to like the next door neighbors whose yard the cat favors for napping and sunbathing. Indeed, given that one of those neighbors is allergic to cats, there is a possibility that the female human guardian of the cat gives the cat free run of the neighborhood as a passive-aggressive gesture towards the neighbors she seems not to like.

In these circumstances, would you read the newly established pot of catnip on the neighbors’ front stoop as a friendly gesture toward the cat? As a subtle “back atcha!” toward the cat’s female human guardian? Both?

Also, is there any good literature on the neuro-physiological activity of ‘nip on cats? And what kind of music should be filtering through the screen door to alert kitties that a ‘nip party’s going down?

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6 Responses to “Love thy neighbor”

  1. Abel Pharmboy Says:

    The active components of Nepata cataria are two isomers of nepatalactone as well as several other related compounds (I dislike when writers refer to these things as “ingredients” as they are not added by anyone but the plant’s own enzymes and precursors in the soil). Like many CNS-active agents, they have paradoxical effects in felines vs. humans. So while nepatalactone is stimulatory in cats, some humans report that it gives a mellowing high similar to cannabis. For that reason, it is difficult to find catnip spray in pet stores.

    Surprisingly little work has been done on the neurochemical receptors and/or transporters upon which these compounds act in mammals as they have been studied primarily as insect repellents for cockroaches, aphids, mosquitoes, and termites (this is probably the reason the plant expends the energy to make such secondary metabolites). One entymology group at the University of Iowa reported in 2002 that catnip oil is equal or superior to DEET as a mosquito repellent. No word on whether the subjected were rubbed to death by neighborhood cats.

    Nepatalactone resembles some of the aromatic valepotriates in Valerian that remind me, at least, of dirty running socks. Valerian officinalis is sold in health food stores as an herbal sedative and work with extracts of this stinky little feller has revealed GABAA potentiation and activation of adenosine A1 receptors. The GABAA potentiation would be consistent with sedative effects but I don’t know much about adenosine receptors. Of course, interaction with each target is concentration-dependent so I can’t quite tell the primary target of valepotriates or formulate a good hypothesis as to where nepatalactone may act.

    There are labs supported by one or two NIH ICs that are supported to screen compounds against a plethora of receptors and transporters. Perhaps I should submit Nepata extract and pure, racemic nepatalactone to such a lab – shall I include you as co-author for stimulating my thoughts on this?

  2. Hip Cat Says:

    w000t! Nepata hash!!!!!

    A crude extract of nepetalactone is easily obtained by boiling or steam-treating catnip, collecting the steam, and extracting the oily component with hexanes.

  3. Cat Says:

    I don’t know about the neighborhood cats rubbing you to death – King Murphy would eat you if you smelt remotely of cat nip.

    I read somewhere, New Scientist probably, that cat nip caused a sexual response in felines.

  4. Dr. Jekyll & Mrs. Hyde Says:

    Yeah, but what’s the chemical component that causes the drooling?

    And is the nip like the mj–you may need a couple of exposures for it to take?

    God, if only I had control over the NIH budget.

  5. Dr. Jekyll & Mrs. Hyde Says:

    wordpress ate my comment. but.

    What I’d like to know is, what component causes the drooling? And is the ‘nip like the mj, in that a kitty would need a couple of exposures for it to take? If only I had control of the NIH budget.

  6. Emeline, Queen of Skenectefark Says:

    Dirty cats! all a buncha drug addicted hippy freaks! Get a job, furball.

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